Kanu’s Girls' Varsity Paddling Team is going to the State Championships
A Bay of surprises
by Kevin Jakahi Tribune-Herald Sports Writer
Published: Sunday, January 24, 2010 7:54 AM HST
Kanu O Ka Aina literally means "plants of the land" and figuratively refers to natives of the land from generations ago.
The school, which started in 2000, doesn't have a nickname nor a mascot but it does have its first proud sports achievement: the first state berth in the school's first sport and, so far only team sport, in the first year of competition.
There are 220 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, including 54 in high school at the school located in back of Kuhio Village, but nearly half -- 25 -- are on the paddling teams.
"We're definitely excited," said coach Kanoa Castro, a teacher at the school. "We've got a lot of first-time paddlers. We've had a good showing in every race, finishing first or second.
"The key is the girls are dedicated and are all friends. They work together and like being together. They have a different connection with the sport being we're a Hawaiian-focused school. We preach a lot of values that paddling is not just a sport but a lifestyle and a paddle is not just a piece of equipment."
"I think we can do a lot better," Castro said of his crew's time. "The team is dedicated and every single practice they're pushing hard."
One of his paddlers, Reiko Ah Quin, nodded in agreement. Then she joined the rest of her history-making crew -- Kawailele Benedicto, Ashley Santos Colburn, Katherine Lindsey, Tiaina Taala, Healohamele Genovia and Lindsey Levenson -- in celebration.