Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Kamehameha-Hawaii Favored to win BIIF Wrestling Team Titles

Marlon Miller with state champion Megan Aina

Twenty five weight class championship titles are up for grabs this Saturday when Konawaena host the Big Island Interscholastic Federation wrestling individual and team championships at the Colonel Ellison Onizuka Gymnasium.

Defending girls team champions Kamehameha are considered the heavy favorites to repeat as team champions, but  Warriors coach Marlon Miller believes that their standings are overrated.

“Due to our intensity and rigorous demand that one must give in this sport I had a lot of girls drop out during the season, including several returnees,” Miller explained. 

Miller believes that other coaches are saying that Kamehameha are the heavy favorites, which is a tactic, to draw attention away from them.

“This past weekend I noticed that Konawaena and Hawaii Preparatory Academy were filling more weight classes than we do,” Miller said.  “After having a scrimmage dual meet with Hilo a couple of weeks ago I know they (Hilo) will be contending for the girl’s title also.”

Miller believes that all the private school Warrior girls have the confidence and ability to be State and BIIF champions.

“They all believe in themselves and their teammates,” he said.  “If they didn’t I wouldn’t put them out there.”

Rustee-Ann Johansen and Megan Aina are the two returning BIIF champions for the Warriors girl’s team with Aina (a state champion at 98 pounds) going for her third league title.

HPA coach Gary Jarvill still sees Kamehameha as the team to beat for the girl’s crown.

“I am missing four weight classes for BIIF’s,” Jarvill said.  “I only have two girls with any experience at all and my most successful girl, Kela Vargas, needs to wrestle Megan (Aina) who is the returning state champion.”

Jarvill believes that Kamehameha is on an easy road to winning another girl’s team title and the Ka Makani coach noted that Kona’s strength is in the weight classes from 120 to 140.

Dominate among the Kona ladies is defending champion Tanalei Louis, 125, who won the BIIF championships as a freshman last season.   Louis may be one of the best in the state in her weight class and is considered a heavy favorite to repeat as BIIF champ.

Wildcat teammate Sage Aoki, 108, comes from a rich family tradition in wrestling champions and will also make a run at defending his BIIF title.

“Honokaa’s newest top wrestler is Harry Auweloa. He came to Honokaa this year from Maui, a junior with one year of experience, “said Dragon Coach Dan Whetstone.  “He (Auweloa) took 1st place in 189’s in the preseason tournament at Waiakea and then placed first again in the same weight class at the Kealakehe tournament in early January.”

Whetstone believes that Auweloa  will drop weight and compete in the 171 bracket as the favorite to win at the BIIF championships as he remains undefeated during the season.

Dragon teammate Geo Chavez-Pardini will be wrestling in only his second tournament of the year but should be the one to beat in 189’s and capture his fourth BIIF title.

“I’m switching some of these kids around as a strategic measure,” Whetstone said.  “Geo could actually compete at 171, but we need him in the high weight division.”

Another one of Honokaa’s newcomers is first year senior Elvis Cardoza at the 145 division. Whetstone believes that Cardoza will contend for the BIIF title as he won won all of his matches this past Saturday at Keaau.

Wrestling fans should also watch for a repeat performance from Kau’s heavyweight defending champion, Keani Mello-Waiwaiole who has been dominate in the 220 division.

The main attraction on the girl’s side for Waiakea is Tracy Poch who took top honors at the Officials Wrestling Tournament on Oahu in December and is considered the heavy favorite to win the BIIF crown at 175.  Poch is the BIIF champ at 155 last season.

While there is no clear favorite in the race for the boys team title most coaches agree that Kamehameha and Waiakea have a slight edge over the rest of the field.

Kamehameha returns a pair of title defenders in Justin Hirae, 114, and Nalu Souza at 120 while the public school Warriors showcases Tyler Yonemori and the Enos brothers, Pat and Patrick.

“I think it is impossible to pick, even on paper, who will win the boys team title,” Kamehameha boys coach Brendan Courtot said.  “No one school has shown real dominance at any of the meets, but Kealakehe is the defending champ, so they have the target on their back.”

According to Courtot several Warriors have been undefeated during the regular season and include CJ Matsuyama, 171, and Akokoa Paleka-Kennedy in the heavy weight division.  Despite the unblemished record Courtot feels that they are not well tested because of their missing several key match ups.

“We will be competitive at 114, 120, 125, 130, 135, 140, 152, 189 and 215 with our best chance to medal coming from our two defending champions (Hirae who will wrestle at 125 and Souza at 120) and two returners Charlie Aina, 130, and Kema Chin at 215,” Courtot said.

Action will get under way in Kona on Saturday at 10 am using three mats as the highly anticipated individual and team champions will not be crowned until later that evening.

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February 5, 2011 - Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Wayne, do you have any idea how I can get in contact with Marlon Miller? Marlon is an old Navy friend of mine, and I’d like to get in touch with him.

    Comment by Michael Gray | April 6, 2011 | Reply

    • I’ll send him your email address.

      Comment by waynejoseph | April 7, 2011 | Reply

      • Thank you Wayne, I’d greatly appreciate that. Haven’t seen or heard from Marlon in 26 yrs., and would really like to get back in touch with him.

        Comment by Michael Gray | April 7, 2011


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