KEAAU – Sometimes moving up a weight class can pay high dividends as it did when Keaau’s Treyven Ah Quin-Fely was called upon to wrestle in the heavyweight, 215 pound class.
Ah Quin-Fely was asked by his coach, Charles Manning, to move up from his normal 189 division in order to compete with the big boys.
“I weighed in at 183.6, but my coach asked me to wrestle in the next higher weight division,” Ah Quin-Fely said.
During first round action of Big Island Interscholastic Federation wrestling matches held at Cougar Gymnasium on Saturday Ah Quin-Fely took on Konawaena’s Keanu Malina-Serion in a clash of heavyweights.
Ah Quin-Fely wasted little time in the match getting a first round take down by shooting low and grabbing Malina-Serion’s upper thigh for a takedown.
“I got him on a high crotch move and used my strength to hold him down for the pin,” he said.
The Cougar, who has 8 wins and 2 losses on the season is in his second year of wrestling and list amongst other things his likeness for full contact sports as an attraction that brings him on the mat.
“I think my success has come because of my never give up attitude and my willingness to always learn something new,” he said.
Ah Quin-Fely’s size and strength played an important role in his victory on Saturday, and his desire to continue to improve showed on the mat.
“I like the idea that we go into full combat on the mat, but once we step off we become instant friends,” he said. “I’ve made so many friends during the season.”
Cougar teammate, Jove Asagra, was also on the mat, but without the success of some of his teammates.
The sophomore in his first year of wrestling admitted he still has a lot to learn in order to be on top.
“I still need to work my way up from the bottom,” Asagra said. “I have to work on escaping once I’ve been taken down which means I need to work harder.”
In his opening match Asagra was pinned in the 114 weight class by Kona’s Warren Buena Vista, but the Cougar put on a valiant effort in his attempt to get out of the Wildcat grasp.
“I was trying to face up and bridge, but his hold only made it tighter,” Asagra said of his loss. “I know that I have to work harder.”
Another Cougar, Jesse Huihui, wrestling at 140 pinned his opponent, Kona’s Fidel Meza, during the second period by using a combination of moves.
“I used the high crotch to get him on the mat, then got him in a half nelson to flip him over for the pin,” Huihui said.
The junior noted his desire to improve on his conditioning in order to last the entire three rounds during a close match.
“My conditioning could be better,” he said. “Everything in wrestling comes down to conditioning and if I want to be a BIIF champion I know that is the key.”
For the girls it was a pair of Hawaii Prep cross country harriers making a name for themselves on the mat.
Seniors Sam Neal and Kela Vargas are experienced runners who helped HPA to a BIIF title and a second place finish at the state championships, but both come to the mat lacking wrestling technique.
“Sam has been our most successful wrestler this season,” HPA coach Gary Jarvill said. “We have 11 girls on the roster, but only two of them are returnees.”
Despite her lack of experience Neal has only two losses on the season and both to the same girl, Kamehameha’s Megan Aina.
In her first match of the day Neal was again facing Aina in the 103 weight class and both girls were tied after the first round 3-3.
“I think I need to learn more skills and techniques,” Neal said after being pinned by Aina in the second round.
Neal has tried a variety of sports, including boxing, and adds an aggressive style of wrestling to her repertoire.
“I can be aggressive, but at times I don’t know what to do with it,” Neal said. “I think I need to work on things in advance in order to be better prepared.”
Ka Makani teammate Kela Vargas was also on the mat late in the day at 98 pounds and taking on the same opponent in defending BIIF and state champion, Megan Aina of Kamehameha with the same result as Neal.
“I’ve lost to Megan two times now as she’s good,” Vargas said. “I like wrestling the best as I know that it will only make me better.”
Vargas credits her years of running cross country as a benefit in wrestling.
“I have strong legs and I know I can use that to my advantage during drives and take downs,” she said.
The road to success for any girl wrestling in the lightweight division this season is through Megan Aina as the tough and seasoned Warrior has challenged all comers and has come out on top.
The BIIF season comes to a conclusion on Saturday when Konawaena plays host to the island championships.