HIGH SCHOOL PADDLING
Kamehameha boys earn repeat paddling championship
The Warriors get a boost when Maryknoll's steersman suffers a broken paddle at the turn
The top honors were spread around yesterday at the fifth edition of the First Hawaiian Bank/Hawaii High School Athletic Association Canoe Paddling State Championships.
Kamehameha Schools, Punahou and Kamehameha-Maui won titles in the boys, girls and mixed-gender races yesterday afternoon at Keehi Lagoon.
The Kamehameha boys won their second consecutive championship, finishing the half-mile course in a time of 3:45.36. The Warriors were followed by fellow Interscholastic League of Honolulu members Punahou (3:49.66) and Maryknoll (3:50.71).
"It's a great way to finish off my canoe paddling career," said Kenui Vivieros, the crew's senior stroker after competing in his fourth state-championship race. "We did a lot more running and cross-training this time to get in shape."
Fellow senior Jonathan Pestana added that the crew felt motivated when he looked over and saw Maryknoll's steersman break his paddle while making the turn at the quarter-mile flag.
"I heard (the paddle) bust at the turn, and I thought, 'Oh, that's it!' and we pushed it all the way back," he said.
The other crew members were: Nainoa Quinn, Kamaka Pili, Justyn Ah Chong and Lono Kealoha.
"All season long, these kids from my senior crew trained hard and they turned that hard work and determination into the championship," said Warrior head coach Kalama Heine. "It was our goal from the beginning. We finished (the regular season) with the ILH championship, and we just kept rolling. There wasn't much else to do because the kids were already in tip-top shape, ready to go, and they just came out here and performed."
In possibly the biggest upset of the day, Punahou came out of the fourth seed to claim the girls title over the favored crew from Kamehameha, the winner in each of the previous four state races.
"We came here with the goal of beating (Kamehameha), it was our incentive," Punahou steersman Amy Wessberg said. "But we wanted to come here and race our own race and do our own thing. Beating them was the icing on the cake."
Wessberg was accompanied in the canoe by Claire Dewey, Ariel Orodenker, Melissa Jasper, Alyson Ayers and Kelly Aldinger.
The Buffanblu crossed the finish line in 4:21.36, ahead of ILH foes Kamehameha (4:24.22) and Mid-Pacific (4:26.74). The finish was a surprise, considering that the Warriors and Owls finished the ILH regular season ahead of Punahou, which took third.
"This has kind of been a weird season all the way around, finishing third in the ILH and first in states," said Buffanblu head coach Marian Lyman-Mersereau. "I think coming in as underdogs was helpful because there wasn't much pressure.
"(Warrior) coach Rose Lum and I have been coaching opposite each other for years and years, and I just respect her as a very competitive coach. This means a lot knowing what I'm up against."
Kamehameha-Maui came up golden in the mixed-gender championship race, and made school history in the process by claiming its first state title in any sport in just the third year of varsity competition.
The Warriors also set a state record after finishing the race in 4:02.87; the previous mark of 4:04.38 was established by Lahainaluna in 2002. King Kekaulike (4:05.60) finished second, followed by Konawaena (4:11.61).
"Words can't explain it, I'm speechless," said Warrior head coach Robert Brede after the historic victory. "I played my cards right by subbing out a couple of paddlers at the right time (during the preliminary races) to keep them fresh."
Brede added that his crew was motivated by the memory of their late principal Mitchell Kalauli, who passed away in 2004.
"He was their first principal when they entered the school, and he passed away by the end of their sophomore year," Brede said. "We brought it home for him."
The Kamehameha-Maui crew included Michael Nance, Robert-John Kukahiko, Matthew Pires, Rachel Lum Ho, Amanda Green and Pualei Kaaa.
At Keehi Lagoon
1. Kamehameha (Francis Lono Kealoha, John Nishimura, Jonathan Pestana, James Kamaka Pili, Joshua Nainoa Quinn, William Kenui Viveiros, Justyn Ah Chong, Kaihe Chong), 3:45.36; 2. Punahou, 3:49.66; 3. Maryknoll, 3:50.71; 4. Anuenue, 3:51.01; 5. Kula, 4:00.58; 6. Kamehameha-Maui, 4:03.12; 7. McKinley, 4:04.70; 8. Kapaa, 4:09.90.
1. Punahou (Alyson Ayers, Jessie Cleghorn, Claire Dewey, Katie Fletcher, Amy Wessberg, Kelly Aldinger, Melissa Jasper, Ariel Orodenker), 4:21.36; 2. Kamehameha, 4:24.22; 3. Mid-Pacific, 4:26.74; 4. Mililani, 4:30.33; 5. Anuenue, 4:34.26; 6. Lahainaluna, 4:38.59; 7. Kapaa, 4.41.30; 8. Kauai, 4:42.59.
1. Kamehameha-Maui (Michael Nance, Robert-John Kukahiko, Matthew Pires, Rachel Lum Ho, Amanda Green, Pualei Kaua, Rhianne Spenser, Tiffany Yee, Chanley Malia Purdy, Jason Botelho, Logan Green), 4:02.87*; 2. King Kekaulike, 4:05.60; 3. Konawaena, 4:11.61; 4. Maryknoll, 4:13.68; 5. Seabury Hall, 4:18.29; 6. Kealakehe, 4:20.51; 7. Castle, 4:20.86; 8. Kamehameha, 4:32.51.
* Record time