In the span of roughly eight hours, the state prep canoe paddling picture became much clearer.
The Interscholastic League of Honolulu held its sixth and final event of the campaign at Ala Moana Beach Park Saturday morning, while later in the day, the Oahu Interscholastic Association ran its season-ending championship regatta at Keehi Lagoon. The top three teams from the ILH’s boys and mixed (three boys and three girls) divisions earned berths into the Feb. 1 First Hawaiian Bank state paddling championships, while the top two girls squads (and possibly a third depending on outer-island tie breakers) also qualified for states. The OIA’s top six finishers in all three divisions will advance to the state regatta as well.
Punahou and Kamehameha occupied the top two spots in all three ILH races, and also garnered state berths in all three events as well. Kalaheo and Kaiser won the OIA boys and mixed division races, respectively, and also notched state placement in all three events as did fellow OIA East member Moanalua.
While a handful of races throughout the day featured down-to-the-wire finishes, the ILH Varsity I mixed division competition offered up some tense moments after the winner was crowned. Punahou paddler Alyssa Basdavanos appeared to suffer from a heat-related ailment as she and fellow crewmates rounded the channel marker buoy adjacent to Magic Island near the finish line of Saturday’s nearly six-mile race–a trek made even more difficult under a cloudless sky and amid a thick swath of humidity. Quick-thinking steerswoman Victoria Rooks had her teammate lie down in the boat as the remaining crewmembers paddled feverishly toward the finish line.
Punahou not only notched the victory with all six paddlers still in the canoe per race rules, but the team delivered Basdavanos safely to shore where she was treated by City & County lifeguards, firefighters and Emergency Medical Services personnel.
“When we came around the turn (a few minutes away from the finish line), her timing was off. I told her to lie down in the boat,” said Rooks, who was lauded by a firefighter and Punahou athletic director Jeaney Garcia for her quick decision. Rooks and Basdavanos were joined in the winning boat by Amy Bolan, Geoffrey Lewis, Griffin Saunders and Ethan Lewis.
Punahou and Kamehameha finished in a tie atop the cumulative mixed division standings, with each team notching three wins and three runner-up finishes, and will participate in a “race-off” Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. along the same course to determine the ILH champion.