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Kaneohe takes Hui Wa'a

The organization wraps up its schedule with four boats going through the season undefeated

By Kyle Sakamoto

LAST UPDATED: 10:29 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011

No matter the site, ocean currents and combination of paddlers, four crews rose to the top in every regatta this season.

Kamehameha's girls 16, Lokahi's men's 50, and Waikiki Beach Boys' men's novice A and women's freshman crews capped 9-0 seasons on Saturday at the Na ‘Ohana O Na Hui Wa‘a Championship at Keehi Lagoon.

In the team standings, Kaneohe won the AAA division (25-39 crews) for the third time this season; Waikiki Beach Boys won the AA division (13-24) to complete a 9-0 season; and Ka Mamalahoe claimed the A division (6-12) for the first time since the first regatta May 29.

There were 39 events with points awarded on a 5-3-2-1 basis.

Five regattas were held at Keehi Lagoon this season, and the four other host sites were Kailua Beach Park, Haleiwa Beach Park, Maili Beach and Waikiki Beach.

» Kamehameha's girls 16 crew won its half-mile race in 4:30.67. Alapa Hoe finished second in 4:41.91 and Koa Kai came in third in 4:44.96.

Members of Kamehameha's winning crew were: Raven Howser, Kahala Schneider, Clara Schlieman, Iolani Kahapea-Aquino, Megan Kono and Jessica Shon.

Nine of the 10 paddlers Kamehameha rotated into the girls 16 canoe this season also paddle for Pac-Five, a combination of small schools that compete together in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu. Four are from La Pietra, three from Hawaii Baptist and two from Lutheran. There also is a paddler from Kalani High.

Howser paddled in all nine race victories for Kamehameha this season.

"We're like sisters here. These are my sisters and I love coming to practice," said Schneider, the captain and a student at La Pietra.

Schneider, Howser and Maryna Feldburg also have been a part of successful Pac-Five crews. They won the state title in the varsity girls division (half-mile race) in 2010 and finished runner-up this past school year.

» Lokahi's men's 50 crew won its half-mile race in 3:59.93. Olelo O Keola was second in 4:04.08 and Ka Mamalahoe placed third in 4:13.51.

"It was hard work. We knew each crew was getting better and better each race," said Lance Ponce, Lokahi's steersman. "We spent more time just trying to blend and work together, and our goal was to stay undefeated."

Members of Lokahi's winning crew were Michael Cushnie, Marshall Giddens, Eddie Davis, Rodney Ouchi, Walter Oshiro and Ponce.

The Lokahi men's 50 had this same crew in eight of nine races this season.

"We can help each other as far as what's working, what's not working," Ponce said. "The benefit for us staying together is being able to do that."

» Waikiki Beach Boys' men's novice A crew won its 1-mile race in 7:34.19. Lokahi placed second in 7:51.05 and Olelo O Keola crossed third in 8:11.20.

Members of Waikiki Beach Boys' winning crew were Juzar Merchant, Fred DeWitt, Sean Koegel, Curtis Tipton, Lale Turcan and Jesse Boyd.

The novice A division is for second- and third-year paddlers.

Rather than have the same crew every week, Waikiki Beach Boys goes with the survival of the fittest theory. Ten paddlers rotated into the Waikiki Beach Boys' men's novice A canoe this season, Koegel said.

"The crew itself, we have a lot of depth with our guys," he said. "We have multiple guys who can jump in the crew at any time, so that kind of helps us stay competitive with each other. Each week is kind of a do-or-die week for us."

» Waikiki Beach Boys' women's freshman crew dominated its 1-mile race, finishing in 8:25.27. Na Keiki O Ka Moi crossed second in 9:24.09 and Manu O Ke Kai placed third in 9:39.60.

When asked if it was difficult to paddle way out in front of everyone else, Eko Lapp said: "Oh no, not at all. We have six girls in that boat pushing each other the whole time, talking it up, telling each other to go harder, go faster and power it up."

Members of Waikiki Beach Boys' winning crew were Rachel Orange, Alexia Lopez, Shien-Lu Stokesbary, Lapp, Lindsey Shank and Andrea Messer.

There were 12 paddlers that rotated into Waikiki Beach Boys' women's freshman canoe this season, said Lapp, a former University of Hawaii water polo player.

"We have a lot of strong, dedicated women," she said.

Manu O Ke Kai won the 1½-mile men's senior race for the seventh time this season, while Waikiki Beach Boys won the 1½-mile women's senior race for the eighth consecutive time. In the season-opening regatta at Kailua Beach Park, Waikiki Beach Boys' women's senior crew crossed the finish line first by a wide margin, but was disqualified for a running start. This time, the crew finished in 12:32.35. Lokahi was second in 13:39.85 and Waikiki Yacht Club placed third in 14:09.60.

Members of Waikiki Beach Boys' winning crew were Jen Polcer, Messer, Dana Gorecki, Frances Lichowski, Kaui Pelekane and Raye Powell.

The top three Na ‘Ohana O Na Hui Wa‘a crews in each of the 39 events qualify for the Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association State Championship on Aug. 6 at Hanakaoo Beach on Maui. The placings are based on finishes from seven of the nine regattas.

Complete results of Saturday's regatta were not reported.

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