PAHOA – Experience does matter and the Warriors of Kamehameha took full advantage of their senior power during the Big Island Interscholastic Federation regular wrestling season finale on Saturday at Pahoa Gym.
“We have 12 seniors with 5 boys and 7 girls,” Warrior coach Brendan Courtot said. “Those seniors provide us with a pretty good nucleus, not just in wrestling but in leadership.”
Kamehameha put their senior power to the test, taking advantage of their opponents in a variety of weight classes.
On the girl’s side of the mat Kanoe Padaken (108), Alexia Osburn (140) and Chantel Pohina (130) were priming their skills prior to the BIIF championships which will be held on Feb 18.
Kamehameha girls, the two time defending team champions, left little doubt that they are on a quest for their three peat.
Padaken used a hand and arm to take her opponent down then went for a head squeeze followed by a double chicken wing to win her match by pin in the first round.
Placing third in the BIIF championships last year Padaken uses her experience to boost her confidence.
“This year I am putting everything I have into every match,” Padaken said. “I now have more focus as I try to improve my game plan.”
Padaken, undefeated this season at 108, started the season at 114 but has dropped the weight to help the Warrior weight class balance for another team title.
Pohina won her opening match against a Keaau opponent by a score of 15-7.
“I snapped her down and went for the gator roll, but accidentally put myself on my back,” Pohina said. “
Pohina managed to reverse the mistake by escaping from the bottom position, placing herself back on top, extending a sprawl and kept her opponent down as time ran out.
Pohina’s only BIIF losses this season came at the hands of Waiakea’s Tanalei Louis and Hilo’s Lahi Kanakanui.
“I won all my other matches this season, but lost two to Tanalei and one time to Lahi,” she said. “I think my overall BIIF record is 11-3.”
Last season Pohina wrestled at 155 and placed second in the BIIF. At her current 130 Pohina has an unblemished league record, as her three loses came outside her 130 division.
“I still need to work harder and have a stronger mentality,” she said. “Experience matters as I am the only senior in the 130 division.”
At 140 is Alexia Osburn who won both her Saturday matches on points against Waiakea and Hilo opponents.
“I felt sluggish and wasn’t feeling all that great, but I got the opportunity to get the Waiakea girl for a sprawl and the take down,” Osburn said.
In her second match Osburn used pressure to do wrist rolls on the Viking to claim her second victory of the day.
For the Warrior boys it was seniors Jason Rowland (145) and Ryan Chin (189) fine tuning their skills.
Chin won his first match by pin against a Pahoa opponent, coming in high to get a single leg take down, followed by a half nelson to gain the first round pin.
“I think I can do better,” Chin said. “There is lots of room for improvement as I am not consistent and have my on and off days.”
Chin extended his overall BIIF record to 10-2 and attributes much of his success to having a good attitude and strong work ethic.
“I’m always trying to get better by having better mental imaging and focusing on winning,” Chin said.
Last season Chin placed second in the BIIF in the 215 division and has dropped the weight to make himself more competitive.
Rowland also claimed a first round pin against a Hilo opponent, making the first take down by sprawling out after the Viking took a shot.
“I flipped him over and placed him in a half nelson,” Rowland said. “I have good shots and like to work the double leg while I set up my game plan.”
Warrior teammate CJ Matsuyama (171) needed to sit the day out with a high ankle sprain, but plays an important role in the Kamehameha’s boy’s quest for a team title, according to Coach Courtot.
State heavyweight champion Kamehameha’s Akoakoa Paleka-Kennedy continued his domination while keeping his two year unblemished mark intact by winning his only match of the day at Pahoa.
“Our girl’s team is solid, with our boy’s team needing to give up three weight classes,” Coach Courtot said.
While the Daggers were hosting the Eastside schools Honokaa played host to the Westside as the BIIF season concluded with dual island wide meets.
Two Dragons boys that have been going through the season with mat experience and skill are Christian Silva, 215, and James Marlin at 171.
Silva, who had never won a match last season is an even 8-8 this year.
On Saturday Silva, a junior, went 1-2 getting his lone win by pin in the second round.
“I used a cross grab and flipped him onto his back, then held and pressed,” Silva said. “I lost one at 215 and my other loss came at 285 as my coach (Dan Whetstone) wanted me to bump up to gain more experience.”
Marlin went 2-1 on Saturday, winning both matches by pin, while extending his overall BIIF record to 22-5.
“I won both on second round pins using the cradle in one match and the head and arm in the other,” Marlin said. “My loss was by a score of 11-9 and part of that was because I lost points when the ref called me for stalling.”
Marlin expects to be a contender for the BIIF individual crown, but knows that he stills needs some work with his cardio and speed.
The BIIF individual and team championships will be held on Saturday at Kamehameha with action getting under way at 10 am.
BIIF Judo Individual Championships Held Saturday at Konawaena
108 pounds: 1. Justin Raymond, Konawaena; 2. William Spain, Waiakea
114 pounds: 1. Joseph Gaspar, Konawaena; 2. Jove Asagra, Keaau; 3. Dylan Raiano, Konawaena; 4. Kai Leblance, Honokaa; 5. Darrell Alonzo, Keaau; 6. Bradley Pira, Honokaa
121 pounds: 1. Jesse Kihe-Fukuyama, Konawaena; 2. Sheldon Graham, Hilo; 3. Neon Nishimura, Keaau
132 pounds: 1. Ikaika Villanueva, Kamehameha-Hawaii; 2. Kenneth Pang, Waiakea; 3. Charles Aina, Kamehameha-Hawaii; 4. Shon Inouye, Konawaena; 5. Ryan Cominella, Keaau; 6. Conrad Hildebrand, Konawaena
145 pounds: 1. Tyler Yonemori, Waiakea; 2. Jens Beets, Hilo; 3. Jordan Enos, Hilo; 4. Nainoa Akiona, Waiakea; 5. Makana Lee, Kamehameha-Hawaii; 6. Justin Naehu, Keaau
161 pounds: 1. Isaiah Kanakanui, Hilo; 2. Pat Enos, Waiakea; 3. Thomas Soares, Keaau; 4. Elvis Cardoza, Honokaa; 5. Cullen Mento, Hilo; 6. Jaycob Barros, Kamehameha-Hawaii
178 pounds: 1. Sean Arakaki, Hilo; 2. Gunner Nagata, Konawaena; 3. Kayed Rodrigues, Waiakea; 4. Jordan Maglinti, Waiakea; 5. Jade Barraga, Keaau
198 pounds: 1. Brandon Pettefer, Konawaena; 2. Joshua Takiguchi, Hilo; 3. Russell Pacheco, Waiakea; 4. Esaiah Bajo, Kealakehe; 5. Christopher Enojarda, Honokaa
220 pounds: 1. Edward Bedsaul, Kealakehe
275 pounds: 1. Zephaniah Pavao, Waiakea; 2. Hunter Henderson, Kamehameha-Hawaii
98 pounds: 1. Megan Aina, Kamehameha-Hawaii; 2. Tatyana Ducosin, Kamehameha-Hawaii
103 pounds: 1. Journey Udac, Konawaena; 2. Anissa Pira, Honokaa
109 pounds: 1. Seysha-Ann Bondaug, Hilo; 2. Kandy Mento, Kealakehe; 3. Serena Offenbaker, Honokaa
115 pounds: 1. Kanoe Padaken, Kamehameha-Hawaii; 2. Puulena Luuwai-Augustine, Kamehameha-Hawaii; 3. Danajane Jennings, Kealakehe
122 pounds: 1. Phoebe Oda, Kamehameha-Hawaii; 2. Victoria Magana-Lesema, Konawaena; 3. Savannah Brinkmann, St. Joseph
129 pounds: 1. Hillary Luna, Hilo; 2. Chantel Pohina, Kamehameha-Hawaii; 3. Charisse Isabello, Kealakehe; 4. Alison Seo, Honokaa
139 pounds: 1. Lahi Kanakanui, Hilo; 2. Kanani Silva, Waiakea; 3. Chelsi Kualii, Kamehameha-Hawaii; 4. Sharrylei Fernandez, Hilo; 5. Pauline Gampon, Kealakehe
154 pounds: 1. Nissi Flores-Jumalon, Kamehameha-Hawaii; 2. Allison Felix, Kealakehe; 3. Kiley Lapenia, Kamehameha-Hawaii; 4. Tia Kihe-Fukuyama, Konawaena
172 pounds: 1. Aimee Shiraki, Konawaena; 2. Jasmine Iuta, Kamehameha-Hawaii; 3. Sharon Manarpaac, Hilo
220 pounds: 1. Kalika Yamada, Kamehameha-Hawaii; 2. Ariana Matthews, Kealakehe
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
It will be a season of rebuilding and mystery, according to several Big Island Interscholastic Federation wrestling coaches.
“I spoke with several of the coaches at our coaches meeting and it sounds like many teams, like us, graduated a lot of wrestlers last year and are in the rebuilding stages,” Honokaa coach Dan Whetstone said.
Whetstone believes that there are no clear favorites to win the boys BIIF team title and that Kamehameha has the inside track at winning the girls title.
“The only wrestlers I have returning that have a track record are Jessica Muskat and Geo Chavez-Pardini,” Whetstone said. “The only girl that Jessica lost to on the island last year has graduated, so she should be the girl to beat in her weight class and she should improve on her sixth place finish from last year’s state tournament.”
Chavez-Pardini suffered a knee injury while working out with a state all star team on Oahu over the summer and Whetstone says that it will be hard to predict what his recovery time table will be.
“We’re hopeful that Geo can regain his previous form by the time league championships roll around, if not sooner,” Whetstone said.
Kamehameha girls return as the BIIF team champions and are lead by senior Rustee Johansen.
Johansen is the BIIF champ at 130 pounds and is a Warrior team captain.
“I stayed in shape by working out during the summer and lifting weights,” Johansen said. “My goals are to have another successful year and to do better than my fifth place finish at states last year.”
Coach Marlon Miller returns as the Kamehameha girls coach and is looking at several returnees along with a host of new, young talent.
“I’ve been blessed with a great returning squad of young ladies,” Miller said.
Starting at the 98 pound class Kamehameha returns state champion and two time BIIF champ, Megan Aina. Aina, along with 11 other Warrior girls began the preseason by competing in the Punahou Girls Invitation on Nov 27 and was very impressive on the mat.
Aina, with teammate Jasmine Iuta, 175, won their weight classes with six other Warriors placing in the Punahou tournament which had over 230 girls competing.
“I still need to practice harder and work harder if I hope to defend for the state title,” a humble Aina said.
Iuta, just a sophomore, won both her matches at Punahou by pin and considered the tournament to be a good momentum builder going into the BIIF season.
“It was great experience for me to come and wrestle on Oahu,” Iuta said. “We did great as a team and we all benefited from the experience.”
“We did very well at Punahou as we had medalist in eight of the 11 weight classes,” Coach Miller said. “Punahou looks like the team to beat in the state and Molokai will be the sleeper this year.”
The Warriors have Kanoe Padaken, second in BIIF last season, and the Pohina sisters, Noelle and Pomai returning to the mat.
“Jasmine Iuta, Liana Soares and Sable Marie Young are three more of my returning sophomores that should secure the future of this girls program when I’m long gone,” Miller said.
Miller is also high on Alexia Osburn, saying that she will add to the Warriors strength on the mat.
“I have a total of seventeen girls this year and although that is a great number to have I do have a few weight classes that I am unable to fill,” he said.
Miller believes that this is the best girls recruiting class he has ever had and that they will make a strong bid to repeat as team champions.
On the boys side the Warriors are led by second year coach Brendon Coutot and feature three time BIIF champion, Justin Hirae.
Nalu Kekona-Souza and Akoakoa Paleka-Kennedy will anchor a talent squad along with Charlie Aina, Gavriel DeRego and Kema Chin.
“I expect a solid performance from our two other juniors, Jason Roland-Fernandez and CJ Matsuyama,” Miller said. “We have numerous first year wrestlers that have excelled beyond our expectations as coaches. The recruitment numbers aren’t quite what we would like them to be, but what we lack in quantity, we more than make up in enthusiasm and determination.”
Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s Gary Jarvill returns three boys and three girls from last year’s squad.
“Shannon Samura, Troy Choi and Leila Wong all went to state last year and should do well again this season,” Jarvill said. “We will be rebuilding and starting from scratch this season with all of the other new wrestlers.”
Keaau Coach Charles Manning chose not to speculate on the Cougar chances this season, saying that it was too early to tell.
“I do not like to speculate this early in the season as to who will be the tops in weight classes as I feel that it is counterproductive,” Manning said. “As for team expectations we expect to work hard and improve all season long. I’m sure we will be represented well in the BIIF when championships are on the line.”
The Konawaena Wildcats graduated several key grapplers, but still managed to return some BIIF champions.
“Melissa Dumaguin, a senior, and Tanalei Louis, a sophomore, both return for us, including my son Sage Aoki,” Wildcat coach Mark Aoki said.
Dumaguin won the BIIF crown at 130, while Louis took the 125 division and Aoki battled to victory at 108.
“Some of our BIIF champions may be moving up in weight this season, but we’ll just have to wait to see where they’ll be at,” Aoki said. “Kona is in a rebuilding year as most of our team is made up of new kids. I think Kealakehe is in the same situation as us, but Kamehameha seems to have the edge for the girls.”
Kau has a returning sophomore, Keani Mello-Waiaiaole who won the heavyweight, 220 bracket, as a freshman last year.
“Keani will return for us along with two of her sisters and all three should do well,” Trojan coach Kevin Rence said.
Kealakehe, the defending boy’s team champion, is going through their own rebuilding year as the mighty ‘Riders have won seven league championships over a nine year period.
The secret to Kealakehe’s success has come in their ability to be competitive in most or all of the 14 weight classes.
“We have 25 boys out for wrestling this year and I’m hoping we can once again fill all the different weight divisions,” ‘Rider coach Mike Ciotti said.
Leading the way for Kealakehe is defending BIIF champion Tim Eckert in the 215 weight class.
“Tim’s returning for us along with sever boys that placed at the BIIF championships last year,” Ciotti said. “We’ve won four consecutive boys team titles and we should be competitive in going for our fifth in a row.”
Some coaches failed to return phone calls regarding the upcoming wrestling season which begins on Saturday, Dec. 11, at Waiakea.
Results of the BIIF Individual Tournament
Boys Division Girls Division
|Wt. Class||Place||Wt. Class||Place|
|108||1st-Justin Raymond (Konawaena)||98||1st-Megan Aina (Kamehameha)|
|2nd-Dyllan Raiano (Konawaena)|
|103||1st-Kiana Machado (Waiakea)|
|114||1st-Teagan Nakamoto (Konawaena)|
|2nd-Gared Taira (Hilo)||109||1st-Kanoe Padaken (Kamehameha)|
|3rd-Talmage Nakamoto (Konawaena)||2nd-Mindy Lorance (Kealakehe)|
|3rd-Kaylyn Otsubo (Waiakea)|
|121||1st-Sky Souza (Kamehameha)|
|2nd-Charles Aina (Kamehameha)||115||1st-Jenna Aina (Kamehameha)|
|3rd-Sheldon Graham (Hilo)||2nd-Haley Delos Santos (Konawaena)|
|3rd-Micah Ramos (Keaau)|
|132||1st-Steven Ogi (Waiakea)|
|2nd-Jordan Enos (Hilo)||122||1st-Puulena Luuwai-Augustin (Kamehameha)|
|3rd-Ikaika Villanueva (Kamehameha)|
|129||1st-Tanalei Louis (Konawaena)|
|145||1st-Tyler Yonemori (Waiakea)||2nd-Lisa Ann Nakagawa (Waiakea)|
|2nd-Jens Beets (Hilo)|
|3rd-Pat Enos (Waiakea)||139||1st-Kalena Shiroma|
|161||1st-Isaiah Kanakanui (Hilo)||154||1st-Nissi Flores-Jumalon (Waiakea)|
|2nd-Tyler Vaughn (Hilo)||2nd-Kailey Lapenia (Kamehameha)|
|3rd-Quinn Kunitomo (Konawaena)||3rd-Marina Dally (Keaau)|
|178||1st-Eric Young (Kamehameha)||172||1st-Sharon Manarpaac (Hilo)|
|2nd-Sean Arakaki (Hilo)|
|3rd-Kacy Jennings (Kealakehe)||220||1st-Lia Nakamura (Hilo)|
|2nd-Paulina John (Kealakehe)|
|198||1st-Kawika Scott (Konawaena)|
|220||1st-Mark Dumaguin (Konawaena)|
|2nd-Kekai Obrey (Kealakehe)|