ILH Triple Crown is Captured after 55 Years

Malakai Holland, Athletics Editor

After 55 years, Saint Louis has captured the ILH Triple Crown, celebrating state championships in football, basketball and baseball, which is not an easy task.  Despite the many sports competing in the ILH now; Basketball, Baseball, and Football were the original sporting events offered in private schools athletics. “These three primary sports, the reason that it is football, basketball, and baseball are because, when the ILH started and when the state started in sports, [those were] the main sports that the schools had,” explains Russell Valente, an SLS alum and Director of Admissions.   “Slowly they would add soccer and wrestling. Though football, basketball, and baseball were the three sports the private schools had.”

Throughout Saint Louis Schools’ illustrious history, they have won three ILH triple crowns, in the 1944 – 1945 season, the 1966 – 1967 season, and the current 2021 – 2022 season. Although it’s not official, Valente has reason to believe that the Crusaders are the only ILH school to have an ILH Triple Crown. “We were under the impression that only Saint Louis had done this in the history of the league. Someone indicated that Iolani in the 50s did it with football, basketball, and baseball, so we’re kind [of] researching to see if we can find that info,” notes Valente.

The Crusader football team beat Kamehameha in dominating fashion (35-21) to claim this year’s ILH Football Championship. During the season, the Saint Louis Crusaders lost to Kamehameha twice, but the seniors pushed the younger players to work harder in practice and increase performance. “Oh yeah definitely, we got better as the season went along. Got a lot of stuff done, we were in our prime during the ILH Championship game. Even if the Championship was on a different day we would be alright,” says Coach Gerald Welch, the slot backs coach for the Varsity Crusaders. This upcoming year for the Crusaders is definitely going to be different, shooting for more than just the ILH Championship. It’s always our goal to win the ILH Championship and the state championship,” says Coach Welch.

This year, the Saint Louis School Basketball team faced insurmountable odds and snatched the ILH championship from Iolani. “[We] definitely felt this was a promising team, [these] were the guys that have been with me for a couple of years in the past and have committed and a good group of young guys that came in and with Hayden coming in, it really kind of completed it,” explains Head Varsity Basketball Coach, Dan Hale.  “We knew we had something special even before the season started.” 

Coach Hale has been with the Saint Louis Basketball program since 2019. The 2022 seniors have been playing with Coach Hale since their sophomore season. With the years and the commitment of the whole team, they were able to assemble a team that the Crusaders haven’t seen in a long time. The senior Crusaders had the motivation and the drive to win the ILH Championships.

“We had some very high-level practices, you know, very intense, very competitive,” explains Hale.  “And when you have that, it makes your team better and this group of seniors was a very special group. They pushed everybody with their play and we all benefited.” 

However, there can’t be an ILH triple crown without good old-fashioned American baseball. This year, the Crusaders won the ILH Championship, defeating Iolani with a close game-winning 4-3. “It felt great to win ILH, as a team we all knew that we were on the last leg to win the Triple Crown. We were excited and anxious to bring it to the Lou,” explains Chyler Desilva, who plays centerfield, second base, and third base for the Crusaders.  Saint Louis also traveled to Maui to compete in the state championship. The team played well, despite striking out in the semi-finals.

Looking into the future, the 2023 season for the Crusader baseball team will be one for the books as long as they work hard.  “Next year’s team will be hard-working and we all want to go back and give it another shot at the Koa head,” adds Desilva.

Despite all of the challenges that these athletes faced, this year is especially unique because, not only did the Crusaders win the ILH Triple Crown, but they also won the ILH Championship in Volleyball Division II, ILH Bowling, and the World and State Championships for VEX Robotics. This is definitely a year to remember; and hopefully, the next senior class of 2023 can fill the shoes of this year’s memorable seasons.