HIGH SCHOOL PADDLING
Kamehameha girls, MPI boys win states
The Warriors win their fifth championship, while the Owls earn their first in paddling
HILO » If you want to know the secret of success, don't be afraid to ask Kamehameha Schools' Rose Lum.
"The secret is learning to say no," says Lum, "and to remember that coaching is not a popularity contest."
The Kamehameha girls secured their fifth canoe paddling state championship under perfect weather conditions at scenic Hilo Bay yesterday. The Mid-Pacific Institute boys saved their best for last to capture the boys state title.
As for Lum, she was overwhelmed with winning the state championship, saying, "It's beyond words, but it's not me, it's the young people who have done the job."
For the first time since they were created in 2002, the state canoe paddling championships were held outside of Oahu, as Hilo's Waiakea High School hosted the best prep paddlers from around the state.
"Weather conditions in Hilo were ideal for paddling" said Waiakea coach John Kekua, as a total of 24 heats were featured throughout the day.
In the opening girls heats it appeared that Punahou might repeat as girls champion, as the Buffanblu posted the fastest time of the day at 4 minutes, 12.68 seconds in the first heat, with Mid-Pacific posting the second-fastest time at 12.86.
But in the final it was Aunty Rose's Warriors digging deep in the closing yards of the half-mile race to pass MPI and win in 4:12.90. Mid-Pacific took second in 4:13.34 and Punahou placed third at 4:15.90.
Baldwin of the Maui Interscholastic League finished fourth at 4:18.29.
Lum's championship crew consisted of Briana Abrigo, Kikolani Martinez, Kuuipionohea Elderts, Malia Paresa, Jenna Quinn and Nahoku Keala.
"It was wonderful coming to Hilo," said an elated Lum after the race. "The people were very kind, and our host, KS-Hawaii, made us feel very comfortable."
In the boys race, it was a talented Mid-Pacific team that edged Maryknoll for the state title. Going into the final, it was Kamehameha Schools at 3:40.18 and Maryknoll at 3:41.33 posting the best times of the day. But the boys from Mid Pacific pulled out a late rally with a time of 3:37.00 to win their first state canoe paddling championship.
"We finished third in 2002 and fifth in 2005," said MPI coach Mark Hines, "but this was most incredible. It took a full effort, all season long, and it took nine boys with a strong work ethic to do it."
Although only six can paddle at one time, Hines credits all nine of his boys for their success.
"Sammy Agsen, Jon-Michael Grindle, Ryan Harrison, David Markle, Travis Niederhauser and Woody Simpson are all seniors, and we also have Reyn Halford, Kody Riehl and Reese Haine," Hines said.
Hines, along with his wife, Sarah, emphasized, "The great sportsmanship and the wonderful spirit of the paddling clubs that came out to support and host the championships. It was a wonderful course and the people provided a wonderful experience for us all."
In the final race of the day, the mixed paddling championships, it was the crew that produced the fastest time of the day winning it all in the end.
Kamehameha posted the fastest time in its first heat of the day at 3:54.52 seconds and continued to improve on that time in the final.
The Warriors, using Lohiao Paoa, Nathan Loyoa, Kikolani Martinez, Blane Yoshimura, Kuuiponahea Elderts and Jenna Quinn, went out quickly in the final and held a solid lead throughout the race.