Friday, May 27, 2022 |
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WAILUA — When the plane leaves for Honolulu Friday, 32 Kapa‘a High School paddlers — 17 boys and 15 girls — will be on board, heading to the First Hawaiian Bank Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association 2013 state championships.
The Warrior paddlers earned the right to advance to the state championships after winning the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation titles in the varsity boys, girls and mixed divisions.
“We were there last year,” said Micah Mokuahi, who along with Sueo Higa, coach the Warrior teams. “The kids were younger, but after burying the flag in the first race, they were determined to return.”
Mokuahi said the team heading to the state competition at Ke‘ehi Lagoon on O‘ahu is pretty much the same as the squad that went last year — just older, stronger and improved.
“The kids started focusing from after that first race,” he said. “They really wanted it, and now, they’re going back to hopefully do better.”
Throughout the KIF paddling season, the Kapa‘a paddlers dominated the varsity boys and varsity mixed divisions, hitting the KIF championship with an undefeated record. The Kapa‘a junior varsity boys and JV mixed teams also finished with unblemished records.
The Kaua‘i High School girls, both its varsity and JV squads, dominated the season heading into the championships.
The Kapa‘a girls faced a daunting task to the gold — they not only had to beat the controlling Red Raiders, they had to get past Kawaikini.
“I couldn’t watch that race,” Mokuahi said. “I really didn’t think they could do it.”
But the Warrior wahine did what they needed to do, hitting the turn hard and edging past Kawaikini in the turn, second to the Kaua‘i girls, who held a less than boat lead.
“We figured we had nothing to lose so we were going to just charge,” said one of the wahine paddlers while waiting on practice. “We didn’t even know about the ruling until about 15 minutes after the race.”
The Kaua‘i girls were later disqualified and Kapa‘a took the title by just one point — 29 points overall to Kaua‘i’s 28 points following the disqualification. Kawaikini finished tied with Kaua‘i at 28 points.
Kapa‘a boys and girls teams’ best showing at the state regatta included the runner-up spots in 2008, the boys being bested by Kalaheo High School and the girls getting edged by Punahou.
The Warrior boys open its 2013 bid in the second heat against Kalaheo, Seabury Hall, Punahou, Konawaena, Honoka‘a, Waianae and Nanakuli.
The Kapa‘a girls open in the first heat against Kamehameha-Kapalama, Seabury Hall, Anuenue, Parker, Kealakehe, Kaiser and Kalani.
The Mixed team opens in the first heat against Moanalua, Seabury Hall, Kea‘au, LeJardin, Punahou, Kalani and Leilehua.
Making up the Kapa‘a boys team are Brandon Kelekoma, Vance Kamibayashi, Holden Prem, Aaron Salvador, Dustin Ikehara, Dustyn DeSilva, Tyler Bunao, Josh Palmeira, Drew Lopez, Nick Hantz, Mason Mendoza, Tristin Edmunds, Clarence Sembrano, Riley Dabin, Justin Fujito-Pascua, Walletta Harper and Geordan Gray.
The Warrior girls include Lasha Logan, Ceasarline Manini Gaines, Saowalak Khaechewat, Pi‘ilani Allaibilla, Burgandi Williams, Angelina Llego, Mindy Oyama, Malani Lum, Alexis Vicenti, Nicky Ramos, Reina Jiminez, Kulia Blalock, Mahina Rodero-Workman, Autumn Begley and Tiffany Jarquio.
Visit www.sportshigh.com for more information.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.
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