Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Eleven BIIF Wrestlers Advance to Semi’s at HHSAA

Kamehameha's Nalu Souza, 120, advances to semi finals

   Big Island wrestlers fared well in day one of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association wrestling championships held Friday at the Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu to advance into Saturday’s semi-finals.

   Kamehameha-Keaau advanced a total of five wrestlers, Konawaena four, Waiakea one and Hawaii Prep had one.

   For the boys it was Kona’s Sage Aoki, 108, and Jimmy Romualdo, 135, along with Kamehameha’s Nalu Souza, 120, and HPA’s Keoni Colson making it into Saturday’s semis.

   For the girls Kamehameha Meghan Aina, 98, Jenna Aina, 114, Rustee-Ann Johansen, 130 and Kaopua Sutton, 175, along with Waiakea’s Tracey Poch, 155, and Kona’s Tamalei Louis, 125, and Alexandra Aoki, 103, make the semis.

   All eleven wrestlers are the Big Island Interscholastic Federation individual champions for their respective weight class.

  Alexandra Aoki was the BIIF highest state finisher last year finishing with a second place medal. 

  The big surprise was Honokaa’s Geo Chavez-Pardini, 160, who dropped his opening match during the trials and now needs to work his way through the consolation bracket in order to medal in the top six.

February 26, 2010 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BIIF Wrestlers looking for ‘Big Fish to Fry’ at HHSAA

Kona's top wrestlers, Sage and Alexandra Aoki. Photo by CSUAINAJR

   If Kamehameha coach Marlon Miller has his way the Warriors will be frying some big fish this weekend.

   Miller will be taking eight girls from his Big Island Interscholastic Federation wrestling championship team to Honolulu this weekend for the Hawaii High School Athletic Association state championships.

     “I’ve been telling my girls all season long that we have bigger fish to fry and that our focus should be on doing well at the state championships,” Miller said.

Kaopua Sutton

   Included in his eight girl squad will be three BIIF individual champions in Megan Aina, 98, Rustee-Ann Johansen, 130, and Kaopua Sutton in the 175 weight division. 

   “We need to try to break the strangle hold that Oahu teams have over the rest of the state,” Miller said.  “We might not be able to do it this year (win a team title) but with the girls we have coming back, next year is a definite possibility.”

   A total of seventy-five BIIF wrestlers are heading to Honolulu for HHSAA wrestling championships to be held on Feb. 26 and 27 at the Blaisdell Arena.

   The HHSAA has hosted the championships starting with the boys in 1966, and added girls wrestling in 1998. 

   Despite the long history of competitive state wrestling, no neighbor island school has ever won the team championships for either gender.

   The Punahou boys return to the mat as the three time defending team champions and the Buff’n Blue are the defending champions for the girls.

   “We’re hoping we can break into the top 10 teams at states,” Miller said.  “Last year was our girl’s best finish at 12th and this year we’d also like to be able to finish higher than Kamehameha-Oahu.”

    Regardless of the distinct team disadvantages the BIIF will showcase four returning medalist to the Blaisdell in hopes of bring home a gold medal.

   Leading the way is Konawaena’s Alexandra Aoki, a four time BIIF champion at 103 pounds.  Aoki has gone more than three years without a league loss and last year the Wildcat made it into the championship finals and came away with a silver medal.

   “My goal going into states is the same that I have whenever I wrestle,” Aoki said.  “That is to try my hardest in every match.  Of course I’d like to win it all (individual state title), but I need to take it all one step at a time.”

    Since winning the 103 class at the BIIF championships on Feb. 13 Aoki has continued to practice every day with her team and has increased her training intensity during the past weekend.

   “We drove over to Hilo this past Friday so that I could wrestle with Megan and Jenna Aina from Kamehameha,” Aoki said.  “Then on Saturday our team went to Kealakehe to wrestle with their girls headed to states.”

    Last year, during the state championships, Aoki upset the No. 1 seed, Iolani’s Keiko Akamine, during the semi finals by a score of 6-3.  In the finals Aoki dropped the title match, 8-2, to Kamehameha-Maui’s Malia Mederios.  Both Akamine and Mederios have since graduated leaving Aoki as the girl to beat this year.

  During the 2008 and ’09 state championships BIIF girls were blanked out of winning gold as the last league state champion was Kealakehe’s Renee Michell who won at the HHSAA individual title in 2007.

   Another serious contender for making this year’s finals is Kamehameha’s Megan Aina in the 98 weight class.

   Aina is a two time defending BIIF champion and last year, as a freshmen, managed to grab a sixth place medal at state.

Geo Chavez-Pardini

The boys gold medal hopes rest with Honokaa’s Geo Chavez-Pardini a junior who has never lost a BIIF match.

   Chavez-Pardini won the BIIF 145 weight class as a freshman, the 152 class as a sophomore and this year took the 160 division while going undefeated in the league all three years.

   The Honokaa standout finished third in the state last year at 152 and has high hopes of making into the championship finals this year.

   Chavez-Pardini believes that his stiffest opponent in the BIIF has been Hawaii Prep’s Keoni Colson and he may be right.  Colson took fifth in the state last season in the 145 division and this year has gone undefeated in league matches at 152.

   Waiakea’s Ryan Higa and Kealakehe’s Brandown Santiago were that last BIIF boys to win individual gold medals during the 2008 HHSAA championships.

February 26, 2010 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment