Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Pahoa’s Austin Dugan Looking for Top 3 Finish in BIIF Wrestling

Pahoa freshman, Austin Dugan, wrestling at 108 pounds

PAHOA – In their final regular season match Eastside wrestlers and coaches were scrambling to make last minute adjustments before entering the league championship scheduled at Keaau on Feb 13.

  Pahoa played host to the Big Island Interscholastic Federation’s regular season finale and Dagger coach Joe Duley was optimistic about his team’s chances of producing one or two finalist at the BIIF championships.

   “I have nine boys and one girl on the team,” Duley said.  “And the good news is that seven of those kids are freshmen and sophomores.”

   One of those freshmen, Austin Dugan, has Pahoa’s best chance at making the top three in the 108 class during the BIIF championships according to Coach Duley.

   Dugan often has difficulty finding opponents in his lightweight division and during the season has been bumped up to the 114 class in order to compete.  Last week Dugan upset Laupahoehoe’s Lucky Baun at 114 and this past Saturday the young Dagger found opposition at 108 against Keaau’s Kainoa Santiago.

   Dugan, a lightning quick, hard-nosed grappler, wasted little time getting an opening period take down and two points on his way to a pin with 26 seconds left in the first period.

   “I got him in a half nelson and rolled him over,” Dugan said of his victory. “I’ve been learning a lot this year and most of the time I wrestle people who know more than me.”

“I think I can do all right at the BIIF championships if I work hard and stay focused,” Dugan said. 

  Coach Duley used two mats during Saturday’s day long event and followed Kamehameha’s lead from the previous week of having a “dual meet system” which allowed schools to compete against each other in three rounds of action.

  During the first round little Pahoa took on the giant of wrestling, Kamehameha, as the private school Warriors dominated most of the competition.

   “I keep telling my wrestlers that if you want to be the best you have to face the best,” Coach Duley said of his scheduling Kamehameha in the first round.

    Kamehameha’s experience and sheer numbers overwhelmed the young Dagger squad which later faced Keaau in the second round.


Warrior junior, Rustee-Ann Johansen, looked good in her match against Keaau’s Sharry Lei Fernandez.

   Johansen, the BIIF runner-up at 140 last season, began with a series of take downs and scored on a near-fall in the first period to amass an 11-3 lead going into the second.

   “I had to work on my shoots,” Johansen said.  “Every match I never shoot (go for the legs in an attempt at taking down an opponent) and I have to counter everything.”

   On Saturday Johansen worked hard on her take downs and in the second period build her lead to 13-5 before pinning her opponent with 1:07 remaining in the third period.

   “I just grabbed her arm and leg and rolled her over for the pin,” Johansen said.

   Johansen lost 15 pounds going into this year and now competes at 130 and has racked up a 19-2 overall record. 

   “I’m a little superstitious talking about BIIF’s,” she said.  “I don’t want to jinx my chances, and you never know what’s going to happen anyway.”

Isaac DeRego

Kamehameha teammate and wrestling team captain, Isaac DeRego, has been making headway in the 171 class.  On Saturday DeRego improved on his overall record by beating his Pahoa opponent.

   “I tried to stay on top of him and ride him out during most of the match,” DeRego said. 

  DeRego led 14-2 in the third period before getting the pin by using a half nelson roll over move.

  With his victory DeRego improved to 11-1 overall this season with his only loss coming to Honokaa’s Kalai Nihau by a score of 17 to 12.

   “This is going to be the first time I’ve ever wrestled at the BIIF championships,” DeRego said.  “I’m looking forward to having another chance against Kalai.”


In the heavyweight division, Kamehameha’s 285 pound giant, Akoa Koa Paleka-Kennedy went against Keaau’s Johan Kalima in a clash of the titans.

   Both boys opened with a serious of head slaps to each other with Paleka-Kennedy getting the first take down of the match.

   “In the beginning he (Kalima) was pretty strong,” Paleka-Kennedy said.  “My coaches tell me to put all my weight on my opponent once I get them down and that is what I did.”

    Paleka-Kennedy stumbled onto wrestling when he was a paddler last season.

   “I got a cut and wasn’t allowed back into the water,” he said.  “That’s when I decided to try wrestling.”

    The hefty Warrior won his match against Kalima by rolling him over, onto his back, and then by placing his massive frame on the Cougar.  Paleka-Kennedy got the first round pin with 53 seconds remaining in the period.

Jesse Huihui

Keaau’s Jesse Huihui looked strong in his 130 match against Kamehameha’s Charles Aina.  Huihui got the first take down with 58 seconds left in the first period to lead 2-0 going into the second.

   Aina’s attempted leg dive was countered by Huihui as the Cougar managed to gain the advantage taking a 4-0 lead into the third period.

   During the final period Aina became more aggressive, but Huihui managed to withstand the surge and finished with an 8-4 win.

   “I was using a sprawling defensive move to keep him (Aina) down as I took the top position,” Huihui said after his match.  “I’ve been wrestling since I was in first grade and today I tried to go all three rounds to work on my conditioning.”

   Huihui goes into the BIIF championships with an 8-2 record.

   The BIIF championships will be held at Keaau on Saturday starting at 10 a.m.  The top three wrestlers in each of the weight classes will advance to the Hawaii High School Athletic Association state championships to be held in Honolulu.


February 9, 2010 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment