Kapa’a paddles for ‘Ama’

WAILUA — Members of the Kapa’a High School paddling team wore special body paint, some with the words “AMA” scribed over various parts of their bodies at the first Kaua’i Interscholastic Federation (KIF) paddling regatta Saturday at the Wailua River.

The tribute was in dedication to one of their fallen comrades, William “Ama” Gonsalves, who was recovering from surgery in an O’ahu hospital after an accident earlier in the week.

Perhaps it was this gesture that gave the Warriors the boost they needed to finish in a tie for the lead with Kula School, which had been dominating the morning timed trials.

Both teams finished with 10 points, Kapa’a earning their marks with a first finish in the Varsity Mixed and second finish in the Varsity Girls races.

Kula chalked up a first finish in the Varsity Boys and a second in the Varsity Mixed race, about 1 second below the Warriors’ 4:03.23 time. Kula crossed the buoys at 4:04.76. Kaua’i finished third at 4:10.60.

The Kaua’i Red Raiders followed in the overall standings with 9 points, their marks coming from a first finish in the Varsity Girls race and a third finish in the Varsity Mixed event.

Waimea filled in the third berth at 6 points, their marks coming from third-place finishes in the Varsity Boys and Varsity Girls races.

The Red Raider ladies crossed the buoys at 4:20.52, slipping from their best timed trial run of 4:19.25, but still taking the blue ribbon over Kapa’a who crossed the finish line at 4:28.93 for the half-mile course.

Waimea blue filled in the third berth at 4:31.04 in the Varsity Girls competition.

Kula’s dominance in the timed trials carried over to the final races of the Varsity Boys as the yellowshirts set the pace at 3:49.11 followed by the black-shirted Island School crew who crossed at 3:51.48. Waimea filled in the third slot at 4:02.80.

As the Warriors’ crossed the line first in the Varsity Mixed race, the crew raised their paddles in victory. On the paddle back to the staging area, they chanted “Ama … Ama … Ama.” Kapa’a set the pace for that competition with a strong 4:03.23 crossing, holding off the Kula challenge.

In the Junior Varsity competition, Kaua’i High School finished with 14 points overall based on a first finish in the girls’ race, and second finishes in the boys and mixed events.

Kapa’a followed with 11 points based on a fourth finish in the girls race, a first finish in the boys race, and a third finish in the mixed event.

Waimea came in with 10 points from a first finish in the mixed event and a second finish in the girls race. The Menehune didn’t field a boys team for this event.

The Kaua’i second crew finished with 4 points followed by Island School with 3 points, and Kula School with 2 points.

This Saturday’s races at the Wailua River will start at 2 p.m.

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