Spartans, Na Alii battle it out as MIL paddling season starts
KAHULUI — Canoe paddlers flooded Kahului Harbor in uniform with excitement for Maui Interscholastic League meet No. 1, the first high school regatta since the COVID-19 pandemic hit nearly two years ago.
As if no time had passed, both Seabury Hall and King Kekaulike High School were back battling in each of the girls, boys and mixed events to open the season on Saturday, leaving with a few wins and a few smiles.
“Today was just a fun thing for all of us — we’ve all been training really hard — and just being able to show it out this year, in my last year of being in high school, it’s just really special to me,” said Spartans steersman Caleb Proctor.
Proctor joined Sig Konohia, Maka Carey, Kaesha Purdy, Layne Millen, and Finn McAfee in the meet-closing varsity mixed race, during which Seabury was tied with King Kekaulike coming out of the flag turn. But the Spartans gutted out the last few strokes to reach the finish line first with a time of 4 minutes, 20.86 seconds.
Not long before, Proctor steered teammates Jack Devane, Konohia, Joshua O’Connor, Bear Bernard, and McAfee — all of who are seniors with the exception of freshman Konohia — to a win in the boys varsity race in 3:55.20, beating out Na Alii’s Dustin Metzler, Elias Hamp, Alex Guerrero, Austin Guerrero, Richie Barcus and Ryan Murphy.
“It’s just fun to watch how much we’ve grown over the years since our first season of paddling together,” Proctor said. “We’re just hoping to keep it up, and we’re just praying that the season will continue and that we’ll still be able to race.”
Though there is much to work on and to look forward to this season for Seabury, who swept the three MIL championship titles in 2020, head coach Paul Lu’uwai was just “grateful that we can do our sport.”
“I’m just so grateful that the other teams are healthy and we had a successful first race,” Lu’uwai said. “Of course we love to do good and represent our school Upcountry and we did do good– we swept the JV division and won the boys (varsity) and the mixed. We lost the girls race, but all we can do is get better.”
The King Kekaulike girls team of Magie McGurn, Raleigh Dungo, Ashley Mooney, Natalie Dzuiban, Aurora Morales-Middleton and Julianna Romero took home the win in a time of 4:51.07. Seabury (4:57.46) was second.
Kamehameha Maui placed third behind the Spartans and Na Alii in all three races.
McGurn said after the meet that “it’s refreshing” to compete again.
“We were definitely a little rusty at the beginning of the season, but we’ve changed and grown a lot. Since the beginning, we’ve really improved a lot,” the junior said. “I can tell that the memory came back when we were out there.”
The harbor’s choppy conditions did not make the first day back too easy for paddlers, though. One Kamehameha crew overcame a huli early in the meet, and throughout the day some heats were delayed to allow set waves to pass.
“The wind screwed with all of our turns,” McGurn said. “The waves, if you were in the wrong lane, you were just not hitting it, but we made do.”
Becoming MIL champions and getting to the state championship is still on the King Kekaulike girls’ mind, she added, but in the meantime, the team is just happy with the league’s return.
“It feels really good to be back, obviously. I haven’t raced in two years, none of us have,” she said. “Paddling is just really, really good. I don’t know how to describe it. It just brings us all together.”
Lahainaluna did not roster a team Saturday due to a COVID-19 exposure, and teams from Molokai and Lanai high schools will join the league later in the season.
The next regatta will be held on Saturday at Hanakao’o (Canoe) Beach Park in Lahaina.
* Dakota Grossman is at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MIL Regatta No. 1
Saturday’s Results • At Kahului Harbor
Girls–1. King Kekaulike (Julianna Romero, Aurora Morales-Middleton, Natalie Dziuban, Ashley Mooney, Raleigh Dungo, Magdalena McGurn) 4:51.07 2. Seabury Hall 4:57.46 3. Kamehameha Maui 5:11.74 4. Baldwin 5:21.19 5. Maui High 5:36.60.
Boys–1. Seabury Hall (Caleb Proctor, Jake Devane, Sig Konohia, Joshua O’Connor, Bear Banard, Finn McAfee) 3:55.20 2. King Kekaulike 4:18.75 3. Kamehameha Maui 4:22.86 4. Kihei Charter 4:35.67.
Mixed–1. Seabury Hall (Caleb Proctor, Sig Konohia, Maka Carey, Kaesha Purdy, Layne Millen, Finn McAfee ) 4:20.86 2. King Kekaulike 4:24.04 3. Kamehameha Maui 4:38.10 4. Baldwin 4:52.54 5. Maui High 5:04.96 6. Kihei Charter 5:20.90.
Girls–1. Seabury Hall (Layne Milen, Malia Cosare, Isabelle Brown, Zella Kofron, Harmony Powers, Lei’ohu Turley) 2:09.89, 2. King Kekaulike 2:22.15, 3. Kamehameha Maui 2:24.48, 4. Kihei Charter 2:38.44.
Boys–1. Seabury Hall (Cody Frampton, Rhys Maler, Sig Konohia, Jake Brocklehurst, John Ka’ahui, Max Moquin) 1:52.54 2. Kihei Charter 1:55.83 3. Kamehameha Maui 2:22.93.
Mixed–1. Seabury Hall (Cody Frampton, Rhys Maier, Maka Carey, Kaesha Purdy, Layne Millen, Max Moquin) 2:04.94 2. Kihei Charter 2:14.35 3. King Kekaulike 2:21.03 4. Baldwin 2:22.41 5. Maui Prep 2:30.94 6. Kamehameha Maui 2:31.53.