KEAAU – Hawaii Preparatory Academy senior Ryanne Doherty wanted to sharpen herself in the pool. She already had two valuable resources at her disposal: self-motivation and a supportive team.
She was part of a three-member swimming team at Parker during her first two years. She’s indebted to her parents, Edward and Christine Doherty, for sending her to HPA to start her junior season. Doherty embraced her teammates and took the guidance from the coaching staff to heart.
Last year, Hilo beat HPA to snap Ka Makani’s five-year hold on the BIIF championship. In response, Doherty stepped up her training, determined to bring back the title and focused on securing her first gold medal.
On Saturday at Naeole Pool, HPA reclaimed the BIIF title, edging the Vikings 110-108, despite Hilo winning the last girls race, the 400 yard freestyle relay, of the day. No second-place finish felt sweeter to Ka Makani, who piled up enough points to win their fifth crown in the last six years.
“The boys and girls swam their hearts out,” Hilo coach Jon Hayashida said. “It went down to the last event. It could have gone either way. It was fun.”
Meanwhile, the HPA boys dominated to win their sixth straight BIIF title and outpointed Hilo 152-117.
“The girls came out of the blue,” HPA coach Mark Noetzel said. “It was fun and a great day. I’m looking forward to see what all the schools can do on Maui.”
Doherty got her elusive gold in the 100 yard freestyle, beating friendly rival Hilo junior Raven Domingo. Earlier in the day, Domingo bested Doherty in the 50 free.
It was that kind of day, close competition across the board and a lot of youthful promise making its mark.
“I’m very stoked,” Doherty said about her 100 free victory. “Raven and I have been competing against each other the whole season and push each other. You’re only as good as your competition. My parents sacrificed a lot to send me to HPA.”
Doherty will choose between Chapman and San Diego State, two dream swimming destinations where she’ll major in graphic design, another achievement that would make any pair of parents proud.
Doherty was undefeated in the 50 free, but Domingo found a final push to edge her. It was one of the tightest races of the day. Domingo clocked in at 24.62 to edge Doherty’s 24.78.
“I’m really excited,” Domingo said. “I was third in the preliminaries.”
Like her rival, Domingo is powered by self-motivation. She started swimming at 6 years old and joined coach Jon Hayashida’s Hilo Aquatics club team.
“I trained a lot more and was nervous but focused on my sprints, to do everything well,” she said. “When I joined Hilo Aquatics, it keeps me in shape for the entire year.”
HPA’s Jakob Honda, Kaden Parker, Tedy Neliba, and Kaimana Stewart captured the 200 free relay, and the team of Parker, Neliba, Jack Jefferson, and Ryan Gamble took the 400 free relay, the last race of the day over Hilo’s Kai Hayashida, Hunter Okumura, Julian Nelson Langacker, and Bodhi Whitmore.
Parker won his third consecutive 100 free and the 200 free in a 1 minute, 43.95 seconds, breaking an 8-year-old BIIF record, giving him for golds in four events. Not a bad day.
“I won the 100 free. I’m glad that happened,” Parker said. “It feels really good.”
HPA junior Kyle Weyrick picked up gold in the 100 breaststroke, and right behind was Kealakehe’s Duke Becker in 1:01.52.
Gamble, a junior, captured the 50 free, beating Kamehameha junior Justin Chow and HPA senior teammate Kaimana Stewart.
Gamble transferred to HPA from Seattle in August of last year. He’s a boarding student and got a chance to compete in front of his mother, Teresa Spellman-Gamble. He’ll swim in front of his whole family at the state championships on Maui next week.
“It’s a great feeling and having that experience coming from Seattle,” Gamble said. “HPA is well-known school as a well as the swim team. The coaching staff is supportive. The best I finished in Seattle was fifth. A lot of the kids there get scholarships to Stanford or USC. The competition is different, but there are still talented swimmers out here.”
Hilo senior Sydney Patterson and HPA junior Jon Kuyper repeated as the 1-meter diving champions.
There were several freshmen who claimed gold, including Waiakea’s Grace Rynkewicz, who won the 200 yard freestyle and the 500 free. Hilo freshman Kai Hayashida pocketed the 100 butterfly, walking up to the song Love Grows, his dad and coach’s walkup song.
Kealakehe freshman SoMyong Jeong won the 100 breaststroke
“It feels great,” Hayashida said. “My dad and mom (Karen) swam in high school. They understand the level of intensity and in a way that comforts me. They know what I’m going through.”
Christian Liberty senior Cameron Wells took home the 500 free.
Waiakea junior Korrie Tengan also went four for four, repeating in the 200 individual medley. She finished in 2:06.86, off of last yer’s record setting time of 2:05.97. She also won the 100 backstroke and was on the gold 400 free and 200 medley relay teams.
“It was a lot of fun, especially competing with all my friends in age-group swimming,” Tengan said. “I hope we all do well again next year.”