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Future is bright for Lahainaluna paddling teams

By Staff | Feb 9, 2012

Coach Joey Tihada was pleased with the Lahainaluna High School canoe paddling teams’ effort this season. Photo by Art Fillazar.

LAHAINA – The Lahainaluna High School girls and boys canoe paddling teams completed the 2012 Maui Interscholastic League season two weeks ago with third and fourth place finishes in their respective divisions, and the mixed crew took fourth place.

Characterized as young teams by veteran coach Joey Tihada, the Luna paddlers still battled to the very last regatta to qualify for the state championships last week Friday at Hilo Bay on the Big Island.

“We finished in the middle of the pack again this year, but with such a young team and so many of them coming back next year, things look good for our future. Overall, I am happy with the way the kids worked hard all season, and I’m pleased with the turnout and the results we finished with,” he said.

Coach Joey was assisted by a well-seasoned staff of Kekoa Mowat, Courtney Asato, Bear Keahi and Manny Portabes.

Senior leadership came from Mark Ventura, Lovai Hong, Stysha Paoa and Kanoe Dodd. Juniors on the roster included Halii Vierra, Kanoe Delatori, Lakeisha Ching and Kelly Ann Kahumoku.

Sophomore paddlers were Leland Alavaso, Bronson Kaina, Levi Delos Reyes, Lenny Haleapiapi, Thayer Sigwert Clark, Kento Pinter and Kalena Shim, and freshmen Diamond Freitas, Courtney Ruidas, Christy Mae Ruidas, Kalei Steele, Kaua Williams, Jazzylyn Bonds, Aisha Rabanal, Shante Akana, Bronson Vierra, Brandon Kaina, Teva Medeiros and Nicholas Lee.

There were five MIL regattas this season, and in junior varsity competition, the Luna girls finished in second place, the boys took fifth and the mixed crew won a bronze.

“Thanks to all who helped us out – the coaches, the parents, and special thanks to Napili Canoe Club for letting us use their boats and equipment for the high school season. It’s been a fun year for us, and we’re looking forward to next season, especially in the girls divisions where we have so many young paddlers coming back,” said Coach Joey.