Wally Nakashima and his Konawaena Wildcats played hosted to a long day of competitive prep wrestling in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation season opener this past Saturday.
“Wally (Nakashima) did a great job in hosting the tournament,” HPA coach, Gary Jarvill said. “Everything ran smoothly and most of the kids got in three matches.”
Ka Makani wrestlers Jonny Chute, 140, Bronson Kobaysashi, 145, Keoni Colson, 152, and Onipa’a Stevens, 215, all went a perfect 3-0 on the mat.
HPA’s Max Verbrugge, fresh off the football team, went 2-1 on the day and Jarvill had high praise. “Max didn’t get in much practice and I believe he’ll be one of the top three BIIF wrestlers at 171 by the end of the season,” Jarvill said.
Jarvill was also impressed with two of his girls, senior Marie Donohue, 120, who went 2-1 and freshman Leila Wong, 130, finished that day at 1-1.
“We have a lot of kids who are off island and still on winter break,” Jarvill said. “Next week we should have everyone back at practice.”
Honokaa was missing their top wrestler during the season opener in Geo Chavez-Pardini, but it didn’t stop the Dragons from getting stellar performances from a number of their youngsters.
“We had five boys going undefeated,” Dragon coach, Dan Whetstone said. Honokaa saw perfection at the 171 weight class with Noa Eads, Preston Cawagas and Chris Camero all going a perfect 3-0. Teammates Chris Reed went 2-0 in the heavyweight division and Kalai Niau went 3-0 at 189.
Whetstone was most impressed with Niau’s win over Kealakehe’s Kimo Louis. “Kalai outpointed Kimo Louis to avenge the loss he suffered in the semifinals at last year’s BIIF championships,” Whetstone said.
For the girls Honokaa saw all six of their seniors going 2-1 while having junior Jessica Muskat going a perfect 2-0.
“Jessica is very athletic and has a great work ethic. I think she is the girl to beat in the 175 weight class,” Whetstone said.
Coach Whetstone believes that the girl’s match of the day was between Dragon Heather Sugimoto and HPA’s Marie Donahue in the 120 class. Sugimoto was behind on points when she reversed the situation and pinned Donahue.
“It was a great way for us to start the season,” Whetstone said of the season opener.
Kealakehe had perfect records from Jodi Ozaki (2-0) at 120 pounds, with boys Robin Arellano (3-0) and Ralph Ortega (3-0) both in the 108 weight class and Dillon Cortes (2-0) at 130. “Our kids wrestled hard this weekend and I’m really proud of their performance,” ‘Rider coach, Michael Ciotti said.
“It still early in the season and we still have a lot of things we need to work on. We don’t have a lot of depth, but we’ll be able to move kids around to fill all or most of the weight classes by the end of the season,” Ciotti said.
The Kamehameha girls, who are considered by many to be the team to beat this season, had great performances from Tehani Jones (2-0 and only a freshman) at 98, Megan Aina (2-1) at 103, Rustee-Ann Johansson (3-0) at 140 and Chantel Pohina (3-0) at 155.
Warrior boys also notched season opening perfect records with Nalu Souza (2-0) at 120, Jason Fowler-Fernandez (3-0) at 152 and C.J. Matsuyama (2-0) at 160.
“This past weekend was one of mixed emotions, as a coach we like to see the hard work pay off in our younger wrestlers and the sense of achievement in their faces,” Kamehameha coach, Marlon Miller said.
Megan Aina suffered her first loss of the season after winning both her matches at 103 Aina was moved into the higher weight class to meet Kona’s Alexandra Aoki.
“I had mentioned to Megan (Aina) that if she wants to be the best she needs to wrestle the best. Aoki is definitely one of the best in the state and she was able to pin Megan in the second round,” Miller said.
Kamehameha’s Justin Hirae, the two time BIIF champion, also suffered his first loss of the young season, dropping a match to Alex Aoki’s brother, Sage, by a close 9-7 score.
Miller also had high praise for sophomores Fowler-Fernandez and Matsuyama. “Both Jason and C.J. has a rough freshmen year, paying their dues as we like to say. C.J. went his entire freshman year without a victory. Both young men persevered and trained diligently and this weekend it all paid off,” Miller said.
Other BIIF wrestlers having perfect opening day records were:
Konawaena’s Alexandra Aoki and Danielle Hubbard (114) each going 3-0 with 2 pins along with teammates Melissa Dumaguin, 125, Tanalei Louis, 130, both perfect at 2-0.
For the Wildcat boys Sage Aoki (3-0) and Justin Raymond (2-0) were flawless in the 114 classes and Kawika Scott (3-0) at 215.
Waiakea’s Tracy Poch, (2-0) at 175, with boys Ryan Tampon, (1-0) at 135, and Micah Kekela (3-0) at 215.
Keaau boys Cheyden Quiocho (3-0) at 130 and Cougar teammate Jeremiah Santana (2-0) at 160 were perfect.
Hilo boys Kelton Castagnetti (3-0) at 130, Draven Torres (3-0) at 140, Jens Beets (3-0) at 145, and Justin Branco (3-0) at 152 stayed unblemished.
Kau had Keani Mello go 2-0 as she won both by pin at the 220 class.
Kona Coach, Wally Nakashima, provided the names and weight classes of those wrestlers with perfect records.