Junior lifeguards take third at state competition
WEST MAUI – The standout sand and sea athletes from this summer’s Junior Lifeguard Program here on the West Side helped the Maui team to a third place finish at the 2018 Junior Lifeguard State Championships on Aug. 8 at Kalapaki Beach on Kauai.
Yuna Lee, Hailey Bogar, Ryli Cherry, Maison Alexander, Mathew Iverson and Pierce Armstrong represented the West Side on the Maui team that piled up 116 points to finish just ten points behind runner-up Kauai. The Oahu team took the overall title.
Top performances from the Lahaina contingent were turned in by Lee with silver medal finishes in the age 12-14 girls 250-meter swim and in the 3 x 100 run-swim-run, and by Alexander and Iverson in the Boys 12-14 250-meter swim and in the 3 x 100 event.
In the Iron Guard competition that tests the athletes in a run, swim, paddle race, Alexander came in fourth and Iverson finished sixth. Lee also moved up into the Girls 15-17 category and finished fourth in this event.
According to Lahaina Ocean Safety Officer Ryan Cabrera, the coach and mentor for the West Side Junior Lifeguard Program and of the state competition team, the event really opened the eyes of the team members.
“The kids really learned the level of training that it takes to win these events. They saw first-hand what the intense preparation of the competitors from Oahu and Kauai put in will bring,” he said. “We also learned that next year, Hawaii will form a team to compete in the national competition at Virginia Beach, Virginia. This really caught the attention of our kids, and I think they can compete with the Mainland teams.”
Cabrera had high praise for Junior Lifeguard training program Capt. Kekai Brown. “Without her leadership and guidance, this program would not be nearly the success that it is. She helps out so much with all of the logistics during the summer.”
Cabrera’s work this summer also garnered compliments from participants’ families. Mathew Iverson’s mom, Gina, commented, “Ryan, thank you so much for taking the kids over to Kauai for states. Mathew really had a good time with you all. He was challenged on many levels and took a great deal of lessons away from the two days over there. He really looks up to you, so thanks for being a great role model.”