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Punahou tennis programs among nation’s winningest

Punahou_Tennis 

In the Aloha State of Hawaii is a high school where winning state titles has become nearly a habit.

That high school - Punahou School in Honolulu - has won Hawaii High School Athletic Association state titles with such regularity that Sports Illustrated named it the nation’s top athletic program two consecutive years (2007-08 and 2008-09).

During the four-year period from 2005-06 to 2008-09, this school of 1,732 students claimed an amazing 61 state titles. During 2008-09 alone, it won 19. To place that in perspective, the No. 2 team in the nation on that same 2008-09 list won seven state titles.

The 2008-09 state titles won by Punahou were in the sports of baseball, football, tennis (both boys and girls), air riflery (boys and girls), girls cross country, canoe paddling (mixed), girls soccer, swimming (boys and girls), wrestling (boys and girls), judo (boys and girls), girls track, boys volleyball, girls water polo and girls golf.

And while that across-the-board excellence is very impressive, perhaps the most consistently successful sport at Punahou is its tennis program.

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations’ National High School Sports Record Book, both the boys and girls programs lead the nation in state titles.

The Punahou boys program has won 40 state titles from 1959 to 2011. The second-place team has 34 state titles. Perhaps making that more impressive is the fact that it took Punahou 53 years to amass those 40 titles, while it took the runner-up team 78 years to claim its 34.

Over on the girls side, Punahou has amassed 35 state titles from 1959 to 2011, which ranks seven titles ahead of the team that is second on that particular list.

Along the way, both programs have compiled many impressive streaks.

Among those, the boys program once won 260 consecutive Interscholastic League of Honolulu matches. It is currently in the midst of a national-record 21 consecutive state title winning streak (1991 to 2011).

The girls program won 14 consecutive state titles from 1959 and 1972, just one state title off the national record.

Leading the boys programs since 1994 has been coach Rusty Komori. During that time, he has led the Buff ‘n Blue to 17 state titles.

Originally founded in 1841, along with academics and athletics, Punahou also offers visual arts and performing arts programs. In 2006, it was ranked the “greenest” school in America.

On the athletics side, Punahou has produced seven National Football League linemen and three running backs, including Mark Tuinei, who played a team-record 15 years for the Dallas Cowboys and was on three Super Bowl-winning teams.

In addition, Punahou has a strong tradition of sending athletes to the Summer Olympic Games, with alumni contributing seven gold, seven silver and three bronze medals, and competing in many of the modern games (1920, 1924, 1928, 1932, 1952, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008). It has had an alum on every team since 1968, and the Moscow 1980 games would have been the second of four Summer Olympics for Henry Marsh were it not for the U.S boycott.

However, perhaps its most famous graduate is President Barack Obama, who was a 6-foot-1 basketball forward and graduated in 1979.

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