Hawaii High School Athletic Association state wrestling champion Kamehameha’s Megan Aina claimed second place medal in the 98 pound weight class at the Maui Wrestling Tournament held at War Memorial Gym in Wailuku on Dec. 21 and 22.
Aina, the defending Big Island Interscholastic Federation Queen lost during the finals on points to Kailua’s Allene Somera, 4 to 1.
“I’m not happy with the results,” Aina said. “I know I need to work on my take downs and practice more with the boys in order to improve.”
Aina had a first round bye then easily won her next two matches before facing Somera in finals.
“I took a shot and she got around me to score two points,” Aina said of her final match. “I have to practice harder and work harder this year in order to repeat for the state title. Everybody knows I’m the state champion and they’re gunning for me.”
Aina often works out with the Warrior boys and one of her partners is Nalu Kekona-Souza.
“Nalu helps me get better as he is bigger and stronger than I am,” Aina said. “I need to train more with him if I hope to get better.”
“If she was going to lose I’m glad she lost now,” Warrior girls coach Marlon Miller said. “Every state champion faces the same feeling that everyone is after them.”
Miller believes that the Maui experience was beneficial to Aina’s development as a wrestler.
“She (Aina) came to practice this week more focused, Miller said. “There isn’t that much competition for her in the BIIF, so getting the exposure on Oahu and Maui will only help her chances for repeating as a state champion.”
For her win over Aina in the finals Somera was voted the most outstanding girls wrestler in the Maui tournament.
Kekona-Souza, the defending BIIF champion, took second place in the 120 weight division dropping a nail bitter to Kaiser’s Ryan Nakagawa by a score of 4-3 in the championship final.
“I had two matches prior to the finals and I won both by pin,” Kekona-Souza said.
“I probably got to see the best wrestler in the state in my weight division,” he said of his finals match against Nakagawa.
Kekona-Souza believes that he made a critical mistake during the finals by not sprawling out during the closing minutes of the match.
“I should off flattened out and not used my hips,” he said. “Everyone one loses once in awhile and this loss was a very humbling experience.”
Warrior teammate Justin Hirae claimed fourth place in the 125 division while Konawaena’s Sage Aoki took third in the 120 division.
Waiakea’s Tyler Yonemori was the lone wrestler that the public school Warriors brought over to Maui. Yonemori is the defending BIIF champion at 140 was bumped up to the 145 division in Wailuku, won four of his five matches to claim third place.
“I lost to Chanse Uyeda in the third round on points, 3-1,” Yonemori said.
Uyeda from Lahainaluna is the same wrestler to beat Yonemori the week before at the Officials Tournament on Oahu.
“He’s a really good wrestler,” Yonemori said. “We were tied 1 to 1 with less than a minute to go in the match when he took me down for two points.”
Yonemori was appreciative of the opportunity to wrestle on Maui stating that it provided him with more experience against talented wrestlers.
“I’m learning better how to defend certain moves and I’ve been facing some strong opponents,” he said.
Keaau’s Cheyden Quiocho was the lone Cougar to participate on Maui as the junior wanted to gain more mat experience.
“I wanted to get in more matches against good competition,” Quiocho said. “It was pretty tough on Maui and I learned that I need to work a lot more on my technique.”
Quiocho, the BIIF runner up at 125 pounds, won his first two matches during
day one of competition before dropping his next two matches on the following day.
“I ended up wrestling for fifth place and won my final match,” he said. “I think I do well under pressure and I’m glad I was able to gain more experience.”
Lahainaluna won the boys team title with Kahuku winning the girls. Kamehameha-Hawaii was the top BIIF scoring team placing 13th overall for the boys and the girls.
The BIIF wrestling season officially gets underway with an all-schools meet at Kealakehe on January 8.
BIIF wrestling results from the Maui Tournament were provided by Kamehameha boys coach Brendan Courtot.
“This was a good experience for all our BIIF kids as they were all able to win at least one match,” Courtot said. “We were able to compete with everyone there which will benefit the quality of wrestling in our league.”
Boys 120lb Sage Aoki 3rd, Kona Nalu Souza, 2nd, Kamehameha
125lb Justin Hirae, 4th, Kamehameha Charlie Aina, DNP, Kamehameha
130lb Shannon Samura, DNP, HPA
135lb Cheyden Quiocho, 5th, Kea’au
145lb Tyler Yonemori, 3rd, Waiakea
189lb Kema Chin, DNP, Kamehameha
Girls 98lb Megan Aina, 2nd, Kamehameha
125lb Melissa Dumaguin, 3rd, Kona
DNP – Did Not Place