Seabury, Baldwin clinch crowns

KAHULUI – The Seabury Hall mixed crew continued its dominance in Maui Interscholastic League outrigger canoe paddling on Saturday, and the history-making girls team put itself back in the driver’s seat.

Mogul Luuwai, Mikaela McDaniel, Kamaile Lee, Adam Ferrier, Andrew Gibbons and Ashley Tanga sewed up a fifth consecutive MIL mixed title for the Spartans at Kahului Harbor, winning for the third time in three regattas this season in 4 minutes, 0.18 seconds.

“It feels great,” said Luuwai, a steersman and co-captain of the mixed team. “We beat (Kamehameha Maui) a boat length into the turn, so that was kind of nice and we sustained our glide all the way up and finished harder.”

The girls crew of McDaniel, Lee, Tanga, Alexis Smith, Mikela Wesson and Mapuana Andrade earned its second win of the season in 4:17.72, after placing third in the last regatta. The Spartans won last season’s girls state title.

“It was a necessary wake-up call,” McDaniel, also a co-captain, said of the girls crew’s finish in regatta No. 2 last month. “We came out stronger and we worked harder over (winter) break. I’m really proud of my girls because they persevered and came out on top.”

Baldwin clinched the boys championship with its third victory of the year. Kyle Knutson, Matthew Vanni, Kellen Bean, Palekana Pomat-Hett, Tyson Felicilda and Noah Katz won in 3:44.03.

“It was pretty nice for the harbor today, it’s usually pretty windy,” Knutson said. “We’re kind of just racing for the time and getting prepared for states now that we’re locked in. The next couple races we’re probably just going to be working on blending technique and doing whatever we can to get the extra couple seconds off our time.”

The entire Baldwin boys crew consisted of Hawaiian Canoe Club paddlers.

“After working on what we were lacking in the past two races, we were pretty confident coming in,” Vanni said. “I mean, we’ve still got more to work on. We didn’t perfect it in two weeks, but we have another four more weeks to get that down.”

The mixed final was the closest of the day – the Warriors were second in 4:03.13.

“We weren’t worried because we knew that all of our work paid off and we’ve been practicing for this for so long,” McDaniel said. “We just put everything we had into it.”

McDaniel’s confidence, how-ever, could not stop her nerves and fatigue after the girls race from reaching her stomach.

“Even after all the years I’ve paddled I still get nervous before races,” the senior said. “Going into the girls race I just put everything I had into it and I couldn’t even grip my paddle after. And then I was like, ‘Oh,’ and my breakfast came back up.”

The Molokai girls crew, which won regatta No. 2, placed second on Saturday. Seabury can claim a third consecutive league title next week.

“Molokai is a tough team, they’ve got big girls and they’re well-coached so hopefully we can beat them next week and win the championship,” said Spartans coach Paul Luuwai.

The state regatta is scheduled for Feb. 1 at Keehi Lagoon on Oahu.

“Everything we do from now on is for states,” Mogul Luuwai said.

* Leslie Santiago contributed to this story. Chris Sugidono is at