Punahou Tennis Coach on Verge of Making Hawaii History

Alex Ching
Alex Ching
Kevin Caulfield
Kevin Caulfield
Coach Rusty Komori
Coach Rusty Komori

PUNAHOU (KHNL) -- Punahou School serves up one of the strongest high school sports programs in Hawaii. Its boys varsity tennis team hopes to add another state championship this week, and their coach could make history with a win.

Monster serves like this have made Punahou the most feared high school tennis team in Hawaii. The state champions are defending their title this week.

"I don't know," said Alex Ching, one of the varsity tennis team's co-captain. "I'm excited. This is our last year."

They know they're standing on the shoulders of past Punahou greats.

"It's such an honor to be a part of this huge legacy and to represent people from the past, and to represent our school," said Ching.

They say they're ready.

"We run hills, we run around the track, and I just think we need to feel that we deserve it and go out there and take care of business," said Kevin Caulfield, the varsity tennis team's other co-captain.

Punahou goes for its 17th consecutive state championship. At the center of the success is head coach Rusty Komori who is on the verge of making history.

He's brought home the state championship every single year he's been at the school. A victory this week would make Komori the winningest high school coach in Hawaii history.

"Being able to make history is a rare thing, so I think any time we have a chance to do something like that, it's monumental," said Komori.

He credits his players' work ethic and talent.

"And I just feel like there's two things we have to do: one is a constant strive for excellence, and the second is trying to get our players to peak at the right times," said Komori.

And that philosophy has worked for 15 years.

"We need to uphold the tradition that's been set out for us and we're representing everyone who's come before us," said Caulfield. "So we just always got to know that we're representing more than just ourselves."

Representing history and hoping to continue a tennis dynasty.

The team leaves Wednesday morning for Kona. Preliminary rounds start Wednesday noon at Holua Resort Tennis Center, and finals are on Saturday morning.