Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

BIIF Wrestlers Show Promise at Maui Invitational

Kamehameha's Megan Aina wins gold at 103

For four decades the Maui Invitational Wrestling Tournament has been the testing grounds for up and coming prep athletes wishing to hone their skills and this past weekend Kamehameha’s Megan Aina made her mark.

Aina, the defending Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion at 98 pounds, moved up a weight class to 103 and took on some of the states best.

 “I had three matches and I won my first two by pin,” Aina said.  “I used a head snap to get them off balance in the pins which helped me make it into the finals.”

In the finals Aina went against Pac 5 wrestler, Chloe Nagasawa, and won on points, 15-1.  “I got most of my points for attempting to pin her on three separate occasions,” Aina said.  “She avoided the pin by using bridges.”

After winning the BIIF championships last year at 98 pounds Aina is now faced with figuring out which weight class to compete in as her current weigh is 100 pounds.

“This year I need to decide whether to go with 98 or up to 103 and I’ve been debating the pros and cons,” she said.

 “Kamehameha took ten wrestlers to Maui, five boys and five girls,” Warrior coach, Marlon Miller said.  “We took some of our more experienced wrestlers to Maui as the cost of travel is expensive and we weren’t able to take everyone.”

Three of Miller’s wrestlers made it into the finals at Maui with Nalu Kekona Souza, 120 lbs., and Kaopua Sutton, 220, taking second place, and Aina, a sophomore, taking top honors.

Aina with coach, Marlon Miller….photo’s by Charles Aina

Kamehameha expected senior Kaopua Sutton to compete in the 175 weight class, but Sutton missed weight by three tenths of a pound and was forced to compete in the heavier division.

“We thought Kaopua had a good chance to win at 175, but at weigh ins she was at 175.3 and needed to be bumped up into the higher weight division,” Miller said.

“We have a very young team this year with fifty percent of our squad being first year wrestlers.  I’m excited to see how they’ll do this year and I’ve noticed that they are very eager to learn,” Miller said.

Twenty seven schools were represented at the Maui Invitational which brought in a total of 289 wrestlers.

Kamehameha-Big Island had the highest team finish of any BIIF girl’s teams, placing third overall with only five competitors.

Other BIIF girls making it into the finals were:

Kealakehe’s Jodi Ozaki won the 120 division beating out Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s Marie Donahue in the finals.

Konawaena’s Alexandra Aoki (108) and teammate Danielle Hubbard (114) both made it into the finals and took the runner-up spots in the tournament.

For the boys Honokaa’s Geo Chavez-Pardini (160) and Kona’s Jimmy Romualdo (135) captured tournament titles.

Chavez-Pardini is only a junior and is a two time BIIF champion who won the title as a freshman in the 140 class, as a sophomore in the 152 bracket and now is competing at 160.

During the two day tournament on Maui Chavez-Pardini had three matches winning all by pin.  “I won my first match in the second round with a chicken wing, half-nelson,” Chavez-Pardini said.  “My second match lasted 20 something seconds and I won it using a cradle with a leg.”

In the championship round Chavez-Pardini went against Eric Roth of Mililani and managed to pin his opponent in the first round using a cradle move.

“I think we (Honokaa) have a pretty strong team this year that can compete well in the heavy and lighter weight division,” he said. 

Chavez-Pardini stumbled upon wrestling in his freshman year when he tore his rotator cuff prior to the football season.  “I was out the entire freshman football season and decided to try wrestling during the off season,” Chavez-Pardini said.  “It was a fluke that I happened to find something that I’m good at and now my entire focus is on doing well at wrestling.”

Second place medals were awarded to Hilo’s Wong Ly (140), Kealakehe’s Ralph Ortega (108) and Dillon Cortes (130) along with Honokaa’s Preston Cawagas (171).

Honokaa led the BIIF boy’s teams finishing 8th overall.  “We took 12 boys in seven weight divisions and I thought we did really well on Maui,” Dragon coach, Dan Whetstone said.

“Our team exceeded my expectations and they could be one of the best teams in the BIIF, if not the best,” Whetstone said.

Eight BIIF schools made the journey to the Valley Island to go against some of the best grapplers in the state.

Lahainaluna won the boys overall team title and Punahou captured the girl’s crown.

Coach Marlon Miller of Kamehameha recorded all the BIIF wrestlers that made the finals during the Maui Tournament.

December 15, 2009 - Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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