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Maui Prep athletes make strides in swimming, paddling

By Staff | Mar 17, 2016

Nine Maui Prep swimmers qualified for the state tournament this season.

NAPILI – The growth of Maui Preparatory Academy as a quality independent educational choice continues here on the West Side, as the athletic programs contribute to the overall experience of its student body.

Athletic Director and College Counselor Keenan Reader reported that the Maui Prep canoe paddling and swimming teams made significant strides up the ladder in the Maui Interscholastic League standings during the 2016 season.

He had strong praise for Pueo swim coach Mike “Tex” Ritter and paddling mentor Paul Sakas.

“All of our coaches helped raise the level of training of our student athletes to make Maui Prep one of the most competitive programs in the MIL,” said Reader.

According to Reader, Coach Tex, who was assisted this year by Jennifer Gode, has led the Maui Prep swim team for going on ten years, and he has managed to instill his passion for the sport into his charges.

Kahana Canoe Club helped train the Pueo paddlers.

“Coach Tex’s dedication to the sport for the team and the community is greatly appreciated. He has been instrumental in making Maui Prep one of the most competitive programs in the MIL,” Reader said.

The Pueo swim team was led by team captains senior Samantha Shoemaker and juniors Nolan Lehman and Coleman Kingwell. Sophomore Kysha Altura led the way for Maui Prep at the MIL Championships with gold medals in the 200-meter individual medley and the 100 backstroke, and Sammi Shoemaker took a bronze in the 200 freestyle event.

In the relays, Rebecca Geng, Jessica Kingwell, Altura, and Shoemaker took silver in the 200 free and 400 free races; and a lineup of Kingwell, Geng, Shoemaker and Danielle Bergson qualified for states in the 200 medley event. The boys relay team of Kingwell, Lehman, Zachariah Giles and Jonah Bluh qualified for states in both the 200 and 400 free relays.

At the state championships, Altura was the standout Pueo, as she won a silver medal in the 100 backstroke and a bronze in the 100 fly competitions against Hawaii’s top interscholastic student athletes.

Coach Reader noted that all of the Maui Prep state qualifiers are honor roll students and hard workers both in the classroom and in the pool. “They are examples of the core values of the school and are role models in our community,” he added.

The Pueo swim team roster was made up of Kysha Altura, Danielle Bergson, Jonah Bluh, Rebecca Geng, Zachariah Giles, Malik Hurdman, Elizabeth James, Coleman Kingwell, Jessica Kingwell, Nolan Lehman and Ariane Petit.

Coach Ritter added, “This team developed into a strong, cohesive group of talented and determined athletes. Nine of the 14 on the roster qualified for states – three in individual events – as the team exceeded its goals. I look forward to continued success with these swimmers and with Maui Prep.”

Guided by third-year head coach Sakas and assistants Cynthia Conrad and Jerrid Hunt, the Pueo paddling team climbed out of the Division II MIL cellar to move up into the middle of the standings with several second place finishes throughout the season.

The record number of student athletes on the team reflected the growing effort of the program at the school. Senior team captain and steerswoman Chantal Charbonnier, and fellow captains Lucas Mackin and Johanna Lubbers, led the way for the Maui Prep team that was hosted for the first time by Kahana Canoe Club.

Led by volunteer assistant Nalu Sampson, KCC supplied coaching assistance and also provided equipment and support that pushed the Pueo to step up their training. “We are paddlers. Why do we paddle? We paddle for the challenge, for the tradition, for the beauty, for ourselves. But more than that, we paddle for our crew. We go beyond what we thought we were capable of because we are paddling for each other,” said Coach Conrad. “Imua, Pueo, imua!”

That record roster at Maui Prep included Jamie Advincula, Akiva Bluh, Chanel Charbonnier, Chatal Charbonnier, Kieran Clark, Sherry Domingo, Tristen Ellen, Nikki Falk, Evan Frederiksen, Sarah Golestani, JJ Jerome, Lexie Leon, Johanna Lubbers, Lucas Mackin, Josiah Miller, Aniel Morey, Layla Navavi, Cole Nielson, Cassidy Otto, Griffin Sagar, Emily Twig, Te’a Vannatta, Mich Wakasa, Sarah Wilhelm, Sarah Dils and Linus Ziegler.