Every seed gets to third round of MIL tournament

LAHAINA – Kamehameha Schools Maui tennis teammates Kylee Kato and Sarah Ikioka are once again combining their talents for a run at a girls doubles state championship.

They create a formidable duo – both went undefeated in singles during the Maui Interscholastic League regular season.

Kato and Ikioka, the No. 1 seeds, received a first-round bye, then beat Maui Prep’s Emily Colbaugh and Elizabeth James 6-0, 6-0 during the MIL tennis individual championships Thursday at the Royal Lahaina Tennis Ranch.

“Like with most of the coaches we just look forward to what would be the best pairings – where they’d do well at states,” said Warriors coach Kathy Kanemitsu. “Together, they are the best.”

Kato and Ikioka, both sophomores, each played in one doubles match during the league season, and they weren’t paired together.

Last year, they went undefeated in the MIL, won the league tournament in doubles and finished fourth at the state tournament.

“I think we do better at doubles for states,” Kato said.

All four seeded individuals and teams in each division advanced to today’s quarterfinals. The seeds all received first-round byes Thursday.

Joey Baldwin of Maui High, the No. 1 seed in boys singles, beat St. Anthony’s Jack Merriet 6-0, 6-0.

“I played him during the season,” said Baldwin, a sophomore. “It was fun playing him again. He played well, but I played really well, too. If I play well, I can do well in this tournament.”

Lahainaluna’s Joanna Aceret, the No. 1 seed in girls singles, defeated Molokai’s Ke’aa Davis 6-0, 6-0.

“It was really nerve-racking being the first day,” said Aceret, a sophomore. “I think I was able to push through and finally get my rhythm for this tournament.”

Baldwin’s Bud Kaiwi and Ethan Gazmen, the top-seeded boys doubles team, beat King Kekaulike’s Nicholas Gudzi-kowski and Joshua Lundberg 6-2, 6-0.

“We are playing pretty good, so I’m feeling pretty good about our tennis. Not too worried,” said Kaiwi, a senior.

The quarterfinals and semifinals will be played today and the finals on Saturday. The MIL will send five representatives in each division to the state tournament, scheduled for May 1-3 at the Wailea Tennis Club and Makena Tennis Club – all semifinalists will qualify, and additional berths will go to the winners of today’s round-robin tournaments involving the quarterfinal losers.

* Kyle Sakamoto is at ksakamoto@mauinews.com