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.