LAHAINA - Hawaiian Canoe Club claimed its 30th straight Maui County Hawaiian Canoe Association season title on Saturday at Hanakao'o Beach Park.
It was a season to remember.
It began with more than 40 paddlers from Wailea Canoe Club joining Kihei Canoe Club to form a legitimate contender to HCC's dominance. HCC won its 11th state championship in 15 years last season and has not lost a MCHCA regatta dating back to 2003.
Lae‘ula O Kai Canoe Club’s sophomore women’s crew (from left) Kelly Leon, Kamalani Kanekoa, Jocelyn Hrkach, Rosela Balinbin, Kristina Dougherty and Kelly Olson (not pictured) captured a state berth after winning a race-off against Napili on Saturday during the MCHCA?championship regatta at Hanakao‘o Beach Park.
The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo
Crews in the mixed open race head toward the finish line during the MCHCA championship regatta.
The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo
Hawaiian’s Kahili Novikoff and Kaulu Luuwai celebrate after their crew won the women’s open four race.
The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo
While Kihei challenged the reigning champion and came within two points of beating it last month, HCC retained its undefeated mark and ended the season Saturday with a 154-141 win over Kihei. Lae'ula O Kai took third with 88.
"Thirty years, that's a huge accomplishment for us," Hawaiian head coach Diane Ho said after the club's 84th straight MCHCA triumph. "And it's not just for the paddlers here. It's the club, the volunteers, everything."
Hawaiian's success is accompanied with another milestone of 37 qualified crews in next month's state championship on Oahu - an all-time high for the club. MCHCA clubs are allowed to send the three top crews of each event to this years' state championship due to having more paddlers than the Big Island for the first time in several seasons. Last season, MCHCA had only two lanes at the 14-lane state championship regatta.
MCHCA CHAMPIONSHIP REGATTA
|At Hanakao’o Beach Park|
|Lae’ula O Kai||88|
|Na Kai Ewalu||29|
|(Through seven of seven regattas)|
|Lae‘ula O Kai||537|
|Na Kai Ewalu||206|
The number of official qualifications are pending a meeting among coaches and officials set for Monday, MCHCA officials said.
"We're totally happy, 37 seeds is awesome," HCC keiki coach Paul Luuwai said. "We've raced 37 crews but we've had to purchase lanes to get to that number, so that's phenomenal for us. It's a very good accomplishment for our coaching staff and paddlers."
Kihei had 34 unofficial seeds entering Saturday, but lost one to Lae'ula o Kai during a race-off for a state berth in the women's novice B race.
Lae'ula's team was ranked fourth in the overall standings of the event, but won the race Saturday, thus bumping Kihei for the third seed.
"We had a great season," Kihei coach Kawika Williams said. "It was fun and today we really just wanted to protect all our seeds. We lost one but that's all right, that's the way it goes. Hopefully we can buy some coming up."
Lae'ula paddler Susan Rhee said her crew of Tara Owens, Kerry Glenn, Tricia Calhoon, Jenna Peterson and Erin Sunahara had no expectations entering the novice B race, but when they won it they were "over the moon."
"We didn't put the pressure on ourselves like we normally do," she said. "We just said let's go out there and paddle hard - and we won."
Lae'ula O Kai qualified 27 crews for state competition, including the sophomore wo-men's crew. That group also claimed the final seed in a half-mile, winner-take-all race against Napili Canoe Club.
"We had to go out there and prove ourselves deserving of that last seed," said Lae'ula's Rosela Balinbin. "The camaraderie was positive, the energy was positive. We knew we had to get the job done but most of all have fun."
The winning crew comprised of Balinbin, Kelly Leon, Kamalani Kanekoa, Jocelyn Hrkach, Kristina Dougherty and Kelly Olson.
HCC's youth paddlers finished the season strong, capturing 12 of the 16 keiki events Saturday. The club also found help from a pair of young paddlers on its winning women open four crew.
Seventeen-year-old Kahili Novikoff and Kaulu Luuwai, 19, filled in for the crew that also included Noelani Vorhies and Cat Deboni.
"We just tried to do it and not think about it," said Luuwai, who did not sit in the steersman position for the first time in her competitive career. "We were just trying to finish the race actually."
Novikoff and Luuwai won their girls 18 race earlier in the day, but had to wait three hours for the adult race. Novikoff said their coach wanted to challenge them, but said she wasn't too tired for the second race.
"It felt good," she said. "The finish was really strong."
Paul Luuwai said the key for Hawaiian at the state regatta is to "race smart and error free." He said a disqualification in one of the youth races Saturday cost the club a first seed, but he remains confident in his paddlers.
"I think we have a good chance at doing well," he said.
Ho said she enjoyed the competition and pressure Kihei put on her club.
"I'm really proud of this club," Ho added. "We had a challenge this year and you know the old saying: competition breeds success."
Williams hopes the two clubs can finish 1-2 at Keehi Lagoon during the state championships on Aug. 2.
"I would be stoked just to be in the same game as those guys," he said. "Hopefully we can hang in there and at least beat the Oahu teams. That would be something for us."
* Chris Sugidono is at email@example.com
MCHCA CHAMPIONSHIP REGATTA
At Hanakao'o Beach Park
12B-1. Hawaiian (Jonah Elizares, Landon Kahalehau-Tonga, Makia Lorenzo, Shaston Fucal-Kanuha, Mathew Hoonan, Tehoni Naeole) 2:11.92, 2. Lae'ula O Kai 2:21.19, 3. Napili 2:27.68, 4. Kahana 2:32.47, 5. Kihei 2:34.24, 6. Na Kai Ewalu 2:45.17. 12A-1. Hawaiian 1:58.90 (Noa Helm, Makaio Lorenzo, Makia Lorenzo, Landon Kahalehau-Tonga, Ty Tau-a, Laakea Garcia), 2. Hana 2:08.88, 3. Napili 2:13.15, 4. Kihei 2:15.34, 5. Na Kai Ewalu 2:47.74. 13-1. Lae'ula O Kai (Maiau Robinson, Julian Ball, Ho'okele Santos, Drake Chin, James MacKenzie, Pono Kahanu) 1:52.80, 2. Hawaiian 1:54.44, 3. Napili 2:02.60, 4. Hana 2:19.56, 5. Kihei 2:33.84. 14-1. Hawaiian (Makoa da Silva, Haena Balinbin, David Hoonan-Amby, Tristram Durkan, Wyatt Meyer, Dylan Koga Truong) 1:52.25, 2. Kihei 1:53.98, 3. Lae'ula O Kai 1:59.35, 4. Napili 2:00.70.
15-1. Hawaiian (Kekoa Medeiros, Maika'i Cadman, Zachary Ferrier, Kanui Haupu, Cody Wendt, Kawai Luuwai) 4:04.50, 2. Kihei 4:06.44, 3. Lae'ula O Kai 4:35.67. 16-1. Hawaiian (Kanui Haupu, Palekana Pamat-Hett, Maika'i Cadman, Thomas Peterson, Makoa da Silva, Kawai Luuwai) 4:00.52 , 2. Lae'ula O Kai 4:15.23, 3. Kihei 4:16.83 Novice B-1. Na Kai Ewalu (Jamil Folio, Jonas Arcikausakas, Joshua Landry, Brandon Segal, Derek Brown, Avery Ridolfo) 3:51.34, 2. Kahana 3:52.88, 3. Hawaiian 4:05.95, 4. Lae'ula O Kai 4:09.77, 5. Kihei 4:14.97. 50-1. Kihei (Roy Sabado, Robert Brede, Gary Saldana, Tim Rucynski, Michael Cordi, Kawika Williams) 3:52.60, 2. Lae'ula O Kai 3:56.25, 3. Hawaiian 3:57.95, 4. Kahana 4:22.17. 55-1. Kihei (Bill Cunningham, Mark Kasbergen, Frank Zajac, Sam Cavitt, Stan Lanias, Casey Logsdon) 3:57.19 , 2. Hawaiian 4:09.79, 3. Kahana 4:44.03. 60-1. Kihei (Louis Jr. Dionese, John Salse, Tom Guerin, Gary Heath, Doug Caldwell, Biggie Lara) 3:56.79, 2. Lae'ula O Kai 4:06.40, 3. Hawaiian 4:17.97, 4. Na Kai Ewalu 4:39.25. 65-1. Lae'ula O Kai (Pia Aluli, Bob March, Ben Martin, Jimmy Takayesu, Cliff Libed, Brian McCafferty) 4:10.34, 2. Kihei 4:18.60, 3. Kahana 4:24.30, 4. Hawaiian 4:26.00, 5. Na Kai Ewalu 4:33.17. Open Four-1. Kihei (Maleko Lorenzo, Ryan Smith, Michael Lauer, Greg Frederick) 4:03.15, 2. Hawaiian 4:05.31, 3. Na Kai Ewalu 4:15.89, 4. Kahana 4:24.36, 5. Napili 4:32.52, 6. Lae'ula O Kai 4:34.67, 7. Lahaina 4:50.49.
18-1. Hawaiian (Kellen Bean, Tyson Felicilda, Matthew Meyer, Adam Ferrier, Mogul Luuwai, Palekana Pamat-Hett) 8:12.98, 2. Lae'ula O Kai 9:27.14. Novice A-1. Kahana (Kadilak Woolbright, Justin Collier, Boe Greene, Scott Chisholm, James Nichols, Ryan OMara) 8:13.57, 2. Kihei 8:14.66, 3. Hawaiian 8:16.35, 4. Lae'ula O Kai 8:39.10. Freshmen-1. Kihei (Jimbo Eitel, Nathan Loyola, Mael Carey, Keona Dang, J.R. Rios, Felipe Gomes) 7:53.63, 2. Hawaiian 8:31.69, 3. Na Kai Ewalu 8:52.06, 4. Lae'ula O Kai 12:06.25. Sophomore-1. Kihei (Jacob Abeytia, Ryan Murphy, Joshua Kekupa'a Nae'ole, Austin Talley, Quinn Whitford, Kekoa Cramer) 7:49.14, 2. Hawaiian 8:22.04, 3. Napili 8:22.40. Junior-1. Kihei (Greg Frederick, Keona Dang, Grant Haitsuka, Ryan Smith, Jason Gomes, Michael Lauer) 7:52.59, 2. Lae'ula O Kai 8:44.23, 3. Hawaiian 8:50.53, 4. Na Kai Ewalu 8:54.36, 5. Kahana 9:28.47. 40-1. Kihei (Robert Brede, Ani Alfaro-Castro, Charles Fleck, James Knutson, Keith Zielinski, Kawika Williams) 7:55.31, 2. Hawaiian 8:02.47, 3. Lae'ula O Kai 8:19.30, 4. Napili 9:26.61
1 1/2 miles
Open-1. Kihei (Jacob Abeytia, Nathan Loyola, Felipe Gomes, Tyson Kubo, Mael Carey, Kekoa Cramer) 11:30.04 , 2. Lae'ula O Kai 12:03.96, 3. Hawaiian 12:30.88, 4. Na Kai Ewalu 12:44.73, 5. Kahana 13:06.75.
* * *
12B-1. Hawaiian Canoe Club (Kawena Draper, Samantha Martinez, Amber Murphy, Olivia Almeida, Melina Perez, Makena Ferdolage) 2:19.84, 2. Kihei Canoe Club 2:20.60, 3. Napili 2:21.91, 4. Lae'ula O Kai 2:45.25, 5. Kahana Canoe Club 2:47.19. 12A-1. Hawaiian (Kalena Vaivai, Kaila Medeiros, Liana Vasconcellos, Nanea Andrade, Shannon Purdy, Taylor Cho) 2:06.57, 2. Kihei 2:09.84, 3. Napili 2:13.40, 4. Na Kai Ewalu 2:50.65. 13-1. Napili (Alexia Plaza, Kaohulani Palakiko, Kealahooipoleimaile Cabanilla, Shayne Keo, Victoria DeCoite-Wilsey, Noe Keahi) 2:11.03, 2. Hawaiian 2:11.95, 3. Kihei 2:19.93, 4. Lae'ula O Kai 2:32.75, 5. Hana 2:35.48, 6. Lahaina 2:42.46. 14-1. Hawaiian (Kaysha Terry-AhKui, Taysia Pimentel, Kaya Givensel, Victoria Naluai, Makena Dougherty, Hiilei Luuwai) 2:03.11, 2. Lae'ula O Kai 2:11.83, 3. Kahana 2:12.52, 4. Napili 2:15.56, 5. Hana 2:47.44. Novice B-1. Lae'ula O Kai (Tricia Calhoon, Kerry Glen, Tara Owens, susan Rhee, Jena Peterson, Erin Sunahara) 2:06.73, 2. Kihei 2:07.50, 3. Na Kai Ewalu 2:09.49, 4. Napili 2:10.45, 5. Kahana 2:14.14, 6. Hawaiian 2:15.41
15-1. Napili (Lina Nolan-Criste, Ana Lukela Kobatake, Tavi Viela, Kelsi Badua, Andilyn Alavazo, Amber Shim) 4:39.67, 2. Lae'ula O Kai 4:54.32, 3. Kahana 4:55.29, 4. Kihei 5:06.89. 16-1. Hawaiian (Ashley Tanga, Lihau Collier, Brenna Hoonan-Amby, Aspen Cruz-Wallace, Alexis Smith, Mapuana Andrade) 4:40.45, 2. Kihei 5:05.20, 3. Lae'ula O Kai 5:06.72. 18-1. Hawaiian (Ashley Tanga, Hi'ilei Casco, Kahili Novikoff, Lihau Collier, Brenna Hoonan-Amby, Kaulu Luuwai) 4:33.15, 2. Napili 4:47.66, 3. Kihei 4:53.36, 4. Lae'ula O Kai 5:16.66. 50-1. Kihei (Ryn Hughes, Flori Leon, Angel Anast, Susan Ramos, Ellen Federoff, Cheryl Jennings-Logsdon) 4:40.72, 2. Lae'ula O Kai 4:42.80, 3. Hawaiian 5:03.64. 55-1. Kihei (Linda Lopez, Judy Epstein, Katy Smith, Bonney Esbensen, Robyn Cavitt, Denise Guerin) 4:49.57, 2. Lae'ula O Kai 4:52.85, 3. Hawaiian 4:58.41. 60-1. Hawaiian (Gracia Neuhart, Debra Hedani, Kathy Piller, Kathy Schlagel, Michele Adair, Lea Giddens) 4:45.60, 2. Kihei 4:48.17, 3. Lae'ula O Kai 4:54.21, 4. Kahana 5:32.64. 65-1. Hawaiian (Sally Ann Flinn, Mary Akiona, Donna Neuhart, Virginia Hall, Carol Aulani Takatsuka, Doreen Dagan) 5:07.96, 2. Kihei 5:15.26, 3. Kahana 5:41.06. Open Four-1. Hawaiian (Kaulu Luuwai, Kahili Novikoff, Noelani Vorhies, Catherine Deboni) 4:56.09, 2. Na Kai Ewalu 5:04.41, 3. Lae'ula O Kai 5:16.33, 4. Kahana 5:40.55, 6. Kihei 5:47.87. Novice A-1. Kahana (Jamie Kranberg, Allyson Johnson, Cynthia Conrad, Mindi Hawman, Melissa Kikkert, Suzi Tucker) 4:22.19, 2. Hawaiian 4:24.24, 3. Na Kai Ewalu 4:29.25, 4. Kihei 4:33.06, 5. Napili 4:46.41, 6. Hana 5:02.65, 7. Lae'ula O Kai 5:09.84
Freshmen-1. Lae'ula O Kai (Marjie Kahookele-Pea, Emili Janchevis, Kelly Cua, Mari Toro-Ford, Fiona Van Ammers, Sharon Balidoy) 9:35.29, 2. Na Kai Ewalu 9:45.51, 3. Hawaiian 10:17.17, 4. Kihei 10:44.70. Sophomore-1. Kihei (Michele Willmering, Tiffany Lambert, Keri Mehling, Heather Reck, Jen Lauer, Angie Wideman-Powell) 9:24.62, 2. Hawaiian 9:50.05, 3. Lae'ula O Kai 10:37.79, 4. Napili 10:46.64, 5. Na Kai Ewalu 11:08.94. Junior-1. Kihei (Amity Mason, Sandy Reyno, Jen Edwards, Ingrid Thronson, Teresa Blackwell, Julie Niemi) 9:19.82, 2. Hawaiian 9:24.47, 3. Kahana 10:25.97, 4. Lae'ula O Kai 11:17.04. 40-1. Kihei (Amity Mason, Polly Arnold-Lorge, Lani Espinoza, Ingrid Thronson, Kathy Adams, Keri Mehling) 9:12.62, 2. Hawaiian 9:23.15, 3. Lae'ula O Kai 10:40.77
1 1/2 miles
Open-1. Kihei (Michele Willmering, Sandy Reyno, Tiffany Lambert, Heather Bell, Tia Brainard, Angie Wideman-Powell) 13:29.18, 2. Hawaiian 13:52.47, 3. Lae'ula O Kai 14:16.21, 4. Na Kai Ewalu 15:06.76, 5. Napili 15:26.84
* * *
12-1. Hawaiian (Kaila Medeiros, Nanea Andrade, Kalena Vaivai, Laakea Garcia, Makaio Lorenzo, Ty Tau-a) 2:05.54 , 2. Kihei 2:11.16, 3. Napili 2:12.95, 4. Kahana 2:36.93, 5. Lae'ula O Kai 2:40.01, 6. Na Kai Ewalu 2:42.81. Novice B-1. Na Kai Ewalu (Jonas Arcikausakas, Joshua Landry, Jeremy Attri, Heather Hearon, Alissa Collins, Ellie Marshman Castillo) 1:48.57 , 2. Lae'ula O Kai 1:53.14, 3. Kihei 1:55.19, 4. Hawaiian 1:56.62, 5. Kahana 2:04.27
18 -1. Hawaiian (Kyle Knutson, Thomas Peterson, Matthew Vanni, Hi'ilei Casco, Alexis Smith, Aspen Cruz-Wallace) 4:22.45 , 2. Kihei 4:27.80, 3. Napili 4:42.17, 4. Lae'ula O Kai 4:47.15, 5. Lahaina 5:12.71. 40-1. Hawaiian (J.B. Guard IV, Bruce Uu, George Dagan, Theresa Gerry, Margie Kawaiaea, Karen Mooiweer) 3:59.95, 2. Kihei 4:09.34, 3. Lae'ula O Kai 4:30.82, 4. Kahana 4:50.46, 5. Na Kai Ewalu 4:55.07, 6. Napili 4:59.91. 55-1. Kihei (Frank Zajac, Biggie Lara, Louis Jr. Dionese, Katy Smith, Joyce Roark, Vanessa Weiss) 4:23.36 , 2. Hawaiian 4:27.04, 3. Lae'ula O Kai 4:51.41, 4. Kahana 5:08.50. 60-1. Hawaiian (Richard Camacho, Doug Miller, Kawika Gomes, Susan McAtee, Gracia Neuhart, Michele Adair) 4:45.64. 65-1. Kihei (Ken Pearsall, Joy Nelson, Sandy Bell, Mark Stanfield, Bob Brooks, Diane Wetzel) 4:55.33, 2. Kahana 5:22.59, 3. Hawaiian 5:52.08 . Open-1. Kihei (Austin Talley, Joshua Kekupa'a Nae'ole, Ryan Murphy, Teresa Blackwell, Heather Pietras, Julie Niemi) 4:00.04, 2. Hawaiian 4:01.02, 3. Lae'ula O Kai 4:01.76, 4. Kahana 4:05.49, 5. Napili 4:34.78, 6. Na Kai Ewalu 4:41.30, 7. Lahaina 5:09.51, 8. Hana 5:20.15.