PUHI — Ella Beck was the 2017 Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation cross country champion, said Jerry Jona, the Island School athletic director Thursday when Voyager senior Beck committed to Gonzaga University’s rowing team.
“This was an amazing choice by the Gonzaga coach,” Jona said. “Ella learned open-water paddling, racing in OC-1 and OC-6, and today is one of the top paddlers in the under 18 age group.”
She topped the OC-1 junior class at the Kaua‘i Outrigger Association’s Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank Race was contested in Anahola in February, with a field of 62 paddlers.
County Councilmember Luke Evslin, finishing that same race by topping the open men’s class, is Island School’s paddling coach. He said Beck is no stranger to paddling after being steersperson for the Voyager boys varsity crew during the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation season.
“This is not the same kind of paddling as outrigger canoe paddling,” Evslin said. “But with her experience, she makes a good addition to the Gonzaga rowing team.”
Beck said she’s been paddling her whole life with her family.
“There’s no OC-1, or OC-6,” she said. “I’m going to have to figure out how to fit into rowing. It’s the aspect of water that is what will keep everything consistent.”
While at Gonzaga, located in Spokane, Washington, Beck will be majoring in environmental sciences and journalism.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.