By Barry Villamil
MyPearlCity.com would like to recognize the success of Pearl City High School (PCHS) Charger athletics by honoring their coaches and their commitment and legacies in a series of spotlight features. We Begin with CHARGER GIRLS AND BOYS AIR RIFLERY:
The Charger Girls and Boys Air Riflery Program is one the most decorated, championship winning sports programs in the history of Pearl City High School (PCHS) athletics. Current longtime award winning coaches Lester Aranaydo, Lelan Aranaydo, and Gordon Aihara have led the program for many years with Lester Aranaydo serving as a head coach for 40+ years and is also a retired PCHS teacher. All three coaches currently share head coach responsibilities “as one” and in 2023 coached the Charger girls to the Oahu Interscholastic Association and Hawaii High School Athletics Association Girls Team Championship Titles. In the past, the Aranaydo ohana including Shareen Arayando have combined for multiple OIA and HHSAA Team and Individual Championships.
The current coaching trio of Lester, Lelan, and Gordon has captured multiple OIA and HHSAA team and individual championships through the years. Pearl City Charger alumni shooters, Lelan Aranaydo (PCHS ’08) won the 2008 HHSAA Individual Air Riflery Championship, while Gordon Aihara (PCHS ’83) was a part of the Charger Runner-up finish at the HHSAA Team Championships
Coach Lester Aranaydo
“We all work together because one coach may see something that the other may not see and vice versa among us three. The whole emphasis in the program, other than what I do, is the athlete. Because when we all work together as one, or as a whole, it brings success to the team. Lelan takes care of all the dual matches and calls out the range on the shoot process and takes care of the safety. Gordon also does the same thing with more emphasis on the skill technique and focuses on the individual where they need to improve. He also does the equipment repair and servicing. That’s a really big key because a lot of our rifles are getting old and need parts and replacement. He sacrifices a lot of his time for the program.”
Coach Lelan Aranaydo (PCHS ‘08, HHSAA Boys Air Riflery Individual Champion)
“Normally I like to just not look at the results, but this year I was more invested by seeing the scores update and see how we are stacking up against the other teams in the schools. It was definitely a different feeling because I felt like last year when we won it was kind of a surprise because I didn’t expect them to do as well as they did. This year, a lot a pressure was on, but I thought we should do well. The four girls were able to hold and not get the nervous “State” jitters. This year it was a relief to see the scores posted after each round and see that they were leading each way and to see the final scores. It was a weight off their shoulders.”
Coach Gordon Aihara (PCHS ’83, PCHS Air Riflery Team, State Team Runner-up)
“My role is pretty much I try to coach and support the athletes as much as possible. I have some challenges keeping the equipment running so they can finish the season strong. Sometimes we have small adjustment issues during the check-ins and that’s the most stressful time making sure trigger weights are there, weights of the rifle, and even during the tournament to make sure that the rifle doesn’t break down. Just keep the equipment running. I would like to say thank you to the coaches in the other schools, I get a lot of support from them. We bounce ideas off each other if we run into technical issues, especially equipment. Moanalua, St. Louis, Leilehua, those are the coaches that I mostly reach out to if we have issues or need questions answered. They’re always willing to help, that makes the job easier.”
Congratulations to Coaches Lester Aranaydo, Lelan Aranaydo, and Gordon Aihara for guiding their student athletes to reaching the pinnacle of CHARGER PRIDE, EXCELLENCE WITH HONOR year after year. Also, mahalo to the Pearl City Chargers Air Riflery ohana for their never ending support of the student athletes.
Pictured (L-R): Coach Gordon Aihara, Coach Lelan Aranaydo, Coach Lester Aranaydo
Video and Photo by Barry Villamil | MyPearlCity.com
I have included links below to coverage posted on MyPearlCity.com featuring the Pearl City Charge Girls winning both the 2023 OIA and 2023 HHSAA Team Air Riflery Team Championships: