NAWILIWILI — The Kauai Junior Lifeguards started its efforts to claim its 13th consecutive state title Wednesday at the Kalapaki Beach.
Following the completion of the Island Finals which wrapped up Junior and Keiki Lifeguard programs, David Duncan, one of the coaches and instructors, said the field was culled to form the state team.
“The state competition is coming up real soon,” Duncan said. “That competition will be held on Maui on Aug. 6 where we hope to come home with our 13th consecutive title. Right after that, the kids leave for the national competition in California. School will be back in session so the students need to make arrangement because they leave Monday for the competition which starts Tuesday and runs through Friday.”
Team members include Abigail Stearns, Kai Norman, Bing Pellin, Abishai Christensen, James Pratt, Mercedes Stearns, Jack Machorek, Keanu Brown, Dutch Fairbanks, Julia Safford, Jacob Herr, Honey Chandler, Malia Splittstoesser, Coleman Langstaff, Henry Scherer, Kaira Ka‘aihue, Victoria Hennessy, Zachary Safford Kelta O’Rourke, Juliana Tampus, Asha McGinnis, Ava Wagner, Lani Alo, Kahiau Nihue, Roland Palmer, Kawai Beeby, Kellen O’Rourke, Kilikai Ahuna, Keon Orlando, Xaveria Rodriguez, Wailea Edwards, and Eric Poter. Coaches are Randy Ortiz, Eugene Ancheta and David Dunan.
Ancheta, a veteran lifeguard instructor and competitor, said the group will be practicing on Friday, and next week in preparation for the state competition.
“We have 30 students scheduled to leave with us for the state competition,” Ancheta said. “We are also working on the national team which will be about 18 students.”
Duncan said last year, the group left Oahu dejected because they were announced as runner-up.
The figures were re-calculated and a mathematical error had caused the wrong announcement, giving Kauai the title while they were flying home.
“I was already in a restaurant,” Duncan said. “When I got the phone call, I started yelling and screaming.”