Seabury mixed crew three-peats

Spartans boys, Warriors mixed post runner-up finishes at state regatta

Seabury Hall coach Paul Luuwai holds the championship trophy after the Spartans won the mixed race Saturday at the state regatta at Hilo Bay. -- Hawaii Tribune- Herald / MATT GERHART photo

Before Saturday, only one school had ever won three mixed state paddling titles in a row.

Add Seabury Hall to the list.

The Spartans, relegated to runner-up status in the Maui Interscholastic League by Kamehameha Maui, won their third straight state crown on Saturday afternoon in the Hawaiian Airlines Canoe Paddling Championships at Hilo Bay. The Warriors finished second.

“We talked about it because I just discovered it about two weeks ago,” Seabury Hall coach Paul Luuwai said via phone. “I didn’t think it would ever happen, but we talked about it after I saw the record book.”

The MIL 1-2 finish came after Punahou crossed the finish line first but was disqualified for burying their turn flag in the half-mile race.

The Seabury Hall and Kamehameha Maui mixed crews pose for photos after they finished 1-2 at the state championship regatta Saturday. -- Hawaii Tribune-Herald / MATT GERHART photo

“I feel bad for Punahou, but that’s why they race the race, right?” Luuwai said.

The Spartans’ crew of Taysia Pimentel, Kai Ponting, Kainalu Kubo, Dylan Newbro, Shea Stisher and Kaya Givensel were there to claim the crown. It is the third straight state mixed titles for Pimentel, Givensel and Kubo.

“It feels amazing to be able to do it and to hold our spot for three years,” Pimentel said. “It’s real special because there’s a lot of seniors in that boat, so it’s the last race of our (careers). To send us on our way with a state championship was just amazing.”

Pimentel and Givensel each won their fourth state gold medals, more than any other female paddler in state history, according to statistics provided by Jerry Campany of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Seabury Hall joins Kamehameha Kapalama as a three-peat state mixed champion — the Warriors won three straight state titles from 2011 to 2013.

The Kamehameha Maui crew finished second in their preliminary heat to Punahou and chose lane 4 for the final. The Warriors’ time was faster than what Seabury Hall had in winning its heat, but the heat winners were afforded first lane choices. The Spartans chose lane 2 after Punahou chose lane 1 — both MIL coaches said the inside lanes were running significantly faster on Saturday.

Kamehameha Maui coach Robert Brede said he took his top three boys — Triston-Hookele Santos, Rafael Adolpho and Joshua Kailiehu — out of the boys race to join Healani Tolentino, Liana Vasconcellos and Hoala Alapai for the mixed final.

“It’s been a roller coaster,” Brede said.

The Spartans boys finished second and the King Kekaulike girls took third, one spot in front of Kamehameha Maui.

The Kamehameha Maui boys placed seventh and the Molokai girls finished eighth.

“These kids all know each other, we’re practicing day-in, day-out,” Brede said. “We’re not scouting each other, but we know we’re tough and we train hard. We see them train hard, they see us train hard. Everything about it helps.”

* Robert Collias is at



Saturday’s Results

At Hilo Bay

Girls–1. Punahou (Dillyn Lietzke, Olivia Klem, Kaya Lee, Mehana Leafchild, Pomai Ogata, Grace Blanchette) 4:16.64, 2. Kamehameha Kapalama 4:23.09, 3. King Kekaulike 4:32.54, 4. Kamehameha Maui 4:34.40, 5. Pac-Five 4:34.89, 6. Kalaheo 4:36.69, 7. Kea’au 4:39.14, 8. Molokai 4:39.88.

Boys–1. Punahou 3:45.10 (Riley Lathrop, Gabriel El Hajji, Trevor Hemmings, Isaac Miller, Aukina Hunt, James Morris), 2. Seabury Hall 3:48.59, 3. Kalaheo 3:50.76, 4. Kamehameha Kapalama 3:55.57, 5. Anuenue 4:05.09, 6. Mid-Pacific 4:09.69, 7. Kamehameha Maui 4:27.94. DQ: Hawaii Prep.

Mixed–1. Seabury Hall (Taysia Pimentel, Kai Ponting, Kainalu Kubo, Kaya Givensel, Shea Stisher, Dylan Newbro) 3:57.76, 2. Kamehameha Maui 4:02.61, 3. Kea’au 4:06.50, 4. Kalaheo 4:09.16, 5. Iolani 4:10.04, 6. Waialua 4:10.49, 7. Kaiser 4:15.27. DQ: Punahou.