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West Maui crews earn berths at State Championship Regatta

By Staff | Aug 5, 2010

Nine Napili Canoe Club keiki crews qualified for the state regatta.

LAHAINA — Although the long distance season awaits on the horizon, most of the state’s canoe paddling enthusiasts — especially the keiki — look to this weekend’s Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association State Championship Regatta as the climax to the 2010 season.

For the West Side clubs, which include Lahaina, Kahana, and Napili, the inshore races at Keehi Lagoon in Honolulu culminate the excitement of another summer paddling season, as some 300 club members, coaches, parents and supporters will gather there for the event.

Napili Canoe Club, led by President Jeannie Gonzalez and Head Coach Joey Tihada, will take ten crews to the state regatta this year to defend the “A” Division (eight crews or less) championship they won last season.

“We’ll be in the AA Division this year, with nine kids’ crews and one adult crew,” said Coach Joey last week.

“All of age 12 crews — 12 Boys, 12 Girls and 12 Mixed, as well as the 18 Girls — are number one seeds (Maui County Canoe Association champions). The 13 Boys, 13 Girls, 14 Boys, 14 Girls, 15 Girls and Mixed Novice B crews will go as number two seeds. We’ll also try to buy another lane or two and maybe more crews will go, but for now, that’s it.”

The 12 Girls lineup is made up of Courtney Ruidas, Christy Ruidas, Lina Lynn Criste, Ana Lukela Kobatake, Andilyn Alavazo, Diamond Freitas and Moana Astronomo; and the 12 Boys crew includes Cyrus Kama, Ansen Cabanilla, Connor “Steeler” Mowat, Jared Rocha Islas, Kila Vierra and Christian Balagso.

The 12 Mixed paddlers are Kama, Cabanilla, Mowat, Courtney Ruidas, Lukela Kobatake, Alavazo and Astronomo, while the 18 Girls will go with Moana Tuipulotu, Alena Tihada, Hali‘i Vierra, Aloha Kaaihue Ah Puck, Tricia Kama and Precious Jaramillo.

“We’ve been doing fund-raising before and during the season — mostly with lau lau sales — and all of the kids and their families have been helping out. Things are looking really good right now for the club, and I think we’ll do well and have some fun over there this weekend,” Tihada concluded.

Lahaina Canoe Club will compete in the “A” Division this year with two top seeds — the Men Novice A and Men Masters — and one second seed, the Men Junior, going to the state regatta.

The Men Novice A crew consists of Mone Mamao, Michael Raines, Seth McCarter, Jordan Johnson, Eric Bruner, Kenny Moore and Louis Caldera; while the Men Masters lineup is Adam Quinn, Richard Olson, J.P. Mihlbauer, Spud Lenhardt, Bear Keahi, Mark Shimer and Geoff Bogar.

Kahana Canoe Club will send nine crews to the event and compete in the AA Division.

Their entries — all second seeds — include the 12 Girls, Novice B Women, Novice B Men, Girls 16, Boys 16, Women Sophomore, Men 50, and Men 40 crews.