Kamehameha girls continued their dominance on the mat with the Pohina sisters, Noelle and Pomai, leading the way.
Noelle, a sophomore, took the 125 weight division by defeating Kealakehe’s Dayjha Rodriguez in the finals, while sibling Pomai, a junior, beat out teammate Alexia Osburn for top honors in the 140 weight class.
“The Pomai’s are a wrestling ohana as their older brother, Mike, was a two time BIIF champion in 2008 and ’09 for Kamehameha and is now serving our county in the military,” Warrior coach Marlon Miller said.
The Pohina sister’s come to the mat with lots of experience as Pomai won the Big Island Interscholastic Federation Championship during her freshman year in the 130 division then finished second last season at 140.
“I’m hoping to win the BIIF title this year at 140,” Pomai said. “I know I still have lots of areas to work on to improve, especially with my conditioning.”
Pomai’s younger sister didn’t place during last season’s BIIF championship, but came into this season more focused and with high hopes.
“I wasn’t very confident wrestling last year and this year I feel way more confident of myself,” Noelle said. “A big part of wrestling is mental and that is something that I needed to work on coming into this season.”
During the finals Noelle used that confidence to pin her opponent during the third round to win the Waverider Tournament.
“She (Rodriguez) took a shot and I drove and pushed her over and tried my very best to put pressure on her,” Noelle said of her pin.
“My strength in wrestling is my defense and my coaches say that I need to use more offense and to take more shots. All I can do is try my very best and I look forward each week to wrestling the best as this helps me to get better.”
Noelle noted that she comes into every match nervous, but once she hits the mat that nervousness disappears as she becomes focused on what she needs to do.
“Our girls performed well at the tournament and I am very pleased with the effort the entire team gave,” the defending BIIF team champion coach said. “As coaches we ask for and hope to see that every wrestler gives it their all and fights to the very end whether they are on the winning or learning end of the outcome.”
On the boys side of the mat there were some new faces coming up big at Kealakehe as Konawaena swept three weight classes with Justin Raymond, 114, Sage Aoki, 125, and John Postrano, 215.
Postrano, a senior in his third year of wrestling, missed weight and was bumped into the higher division.
“I weighed in at 189.2 pounds and was bumped up,” Postrano said. “I normally wrestle at 189 so this was a new weight division for me.”
As fortune turned out Postrano won three of his four matches by pin in the higher weight division and claimed his first title during his prep wrestling career.
During the finals Postrano beat HPA’s Troy Choi by second period pin using a reverse half nelson.
“I came into this season with better technique and an improved mental attitude,” Postrano said. “I use mental imagery and picture in my mind how I’m going to win, but I know I still have things to work on to get better such as increasing my speed and take downs.”
Host Kealakehe, the BIIF defending boys team champions, didn’t win any weight class individual honors, but had several of their young wrestlers finish in the top three.
Waverider sophomore, Dan Gampon, took on Kamehameha’s defending BIIF champ, Nalu Souza, at 120 pounds and proved himself worthy.
“I knew he was the best in that weight division, but I didn’t underestimate myself and was fearless during the match,” Gampon said.
Gampon was able to keep the match close during the first two periods and was proud of his efforts.
“Nalu led 2-1 at the end of the second round,” Gampon said. “But during the third round he caught me in a banana split and was able to pin me.”
Despite the loss Gampon felt good about his performance.
“I feel really good about the match because I showed a lot about myself and by wrestling the best it will only make me stronger,” he said. “I need to train harder to be better and I need to have more intensity while knowing what to do. I look forward to wrestling Nalu again as I plan on making it closer next time.”
BIIF action returns to the mat on Saturday with West Side schools headed to Honokaa and the East Side meeting at Kamehameha.
Kealakehe Wrestling Tournament Results Girls
103 1. Megan Aina- Kamehameha
2. Cara Nakayama- Waiakea 3. Sam Neal- HPA
114 1. Kanoe Padaken- Kamehameha 2. Destiny Masters- Kealakehe
3. Phoebe Oda- Kamehameha
120 1. Elena Mello- Ka’u 2. Raquel Fields- Ka’u
3. Cathryn Cantyne- HPA
125 1. Noelle Pohince- Kamehameha 2. Dayjha Engle-Rodrigues- Kealakehe 3. Leah Smith- HPA
130 1. Tanalei Louis- Konawaena 2. Rustee Johansen- Kamehameha 3. Melisa Dunaguin- Konawaena
1401. Chantel Pohina- Kamehameha 2. Alexia Osburn- Kamehameha 3. Kanani Silva- Waiakea
155 1. Kainoelani Lee- Hilo 2. Samantha-Shea Miguel- Honokaa 3. Karvena LimSamura- HPA
175 1. Tracy Poch- Waiakea 2. Jasmine Iuta- Kamehameha 3. Ciara Mueller- Ka’u