Boys paddling goes to HHSAA, JV MIL champions


Photo by courtesy of Moani Tiare Atay

The boys varsity A crew races to the finish line. They placed fourth in this race, but locked in the third MIL state championship spot after a consistent regular season.

KĪHEI- This weekend’s varsity boys A paddling crew qualified for the HHSAA state paddling championships, and all three junior varsity teams took home Maui Interscholastic League gold.

The varsity boys crew included seniors CJ Hamasaki and Brayden Kalani, juniors Naleikaʻehukai Molitau, Teancum Aiwohi and Keolapono Keahi, and sophomore Kanaʻi Fisher.

Throughout the season, they placed 3rd, 6th due to a huli, 3rd, 2nd, and on Saturday, Feb. 1, at Ka Lae Pōhaku Beach, they placed 4th in the Varsity Boys A race.

“I feel like we did pretty good this season, but there’s always room for improvement. We worked hard for every practice and regatta which helped us to where we are,” Aiwohi said.

The Warriors fought hard throughout the season holding onto the last spot for the state tournament.

“It was a tough season, but it feels amazing going to states,” Keahi said.

MIL paddling scoring takes the best 3 out of 6 races, which means that for every place, the team is given points that are added up at the end of the season.

Although the other varsity paddling crews did not qualify for states, all junior varsity crews placed 1st this weekend, with 2 race-offs between the JV girls crew of Kamehameha and King Kekaulike and also, the JV mixed crew of Kamehameha and King Kekaulike.

“We pushed ourselves a lot. We just had good vibes,” freshman Gabrielle Kalama said.

The JV boys crew was undefeated, and the JV boys, girls, and mixed crews became the MIL junior varsity champions.

Freshman Kamaehu Noa said that it felt amazing to build a connection and become best friends with his crew members.

The 2020 MIL paddling season has come to an end, but the 2020 Hawaiian Airlines Canoe Paddling Championships will be Feb. 8 at Keʻehi Lagoon on Oʻahu.

The boys crew is looking forward to competing there in the third of the three spots allotted to Maui crews.

Senior Brayden Kalani said, “The season was very fun and exciting. It was full of laughter, passion, and hard work, but we arenʻt finished yet.”

*This article has been edited to clarify varsity placement at the MIL championships and state qualifying spot.