Young Cougars Leaving their mark in BIIF Wrestling
KEAAU – Hungry Cougars took down their prey to the mat as the Big Island Interscholastic Federation wrestling season continued on Saturday and showed why these cats have prowess.
Leading the Keaau attack was defending BIIF champion at 135, Cheyden Quiocho, who continued his undefeated season streak.
In his first match of the day Quiocho used a duck under for a takedown of his Hawaii Preparatory opponent to bring his unblemished mark to 15-0.
“My goal this season is to stay focused and train hard, while making the most out of practice in order for me to win a state championship,” Quiocho said.
Last year Quiocho finished fourth in the state and he was quick to point out that by winning the state wrestling champion he would become the first for Keaau.
“I need to work on protecting my legs more,” Quiocho said. “I also need to get stronger to repeat as BIIF champ.”
Freshman Ashlee Lopez won her first match in the 130 division against a Kamehameha opponent.
“I tried a half cradle and stuck my chin in her shoulder,” Lopez said. “Once on the mat I held her other hand out and looked up to gain leverage for the pin.”
Lopez had loads of confidence going into her match and attributes her self esteem to participating in kick boxing and karate.
“I like full contact sports and my goal is to go all the way and win a BIIF championship,” Lopez said. “I know I have to work on a lot of things because its only my first year, so I’ll practice hard and just go out and try my hardest.”
Another lady Cougar performing well was freshman Cheyenne Pali-Miller in the 125 weight class.
“I came out for wrestling because I just wanted to try something,” Pali-Miller said. “I’m nervous when I step onto the mat, and I know I need to work on shooting.”
Pali-Miller had a split won loss record, but is trying to hold her own against more experienced competition.
Senior Cougar, Treyven Ah Quin-Fely wrestled in the 189 division and beat his HPA opponent in a 17 second pin.
“I dropped down to Bear Hug and then reached out for a Half as I pinned his shoulder,” Ah Quin-Fely said. “Practice is the only way to get better and I still need to work on lots of things.”
Ah Quin-Fely improved his BIIF record to 5-0 and is philosophical about the rest of the season.
“My goal is really to just take it one match at a time,” he said.
Keaau sophomore Kainalu Burley at 120 won his opening match in a second round pin, before losing his second match to an HPA opponent.
“In my first match I tried to close the distance for a shoot and got the pin by using a front cowboy move, Burley said.
In his second match he wasn’t so lucky as he got swung around and put on his back as the Ka Makani opponent took control.
“I still need to stay calm and control my breathing,” Burley said after his loss. “I need to train harder and learn more.”
A real ‘Cowboy’ Kohala’s Harry Auweloa bumped up a weight class from his usual 160 to 171 for better competition.
“I wanted to get a better workout and the higher weight class did just that,” Auweloa said.
Auweloa has an unblemished BIIF record and on Saturday kept it intact and now holds a 14-0 record.
During his first match Auweloa pinned his opponent in the second round using a cradle move.
Also going undefeated in BIIF competition is Waiakea’s Tanalei Louis, 130, who sat out the previous week in Konawaena with an ear infection. At Keaau Louis came out with a vengeance beating all three of her opponents easily with second round pins.
“I felt excited, refreshed and happy to be back on the mat,” Louis said.
Louis beat opponents from Honokaa, Kealakehe and Kamehameha using a ‘Saturday, barb wire and a regular Half Nelson.’
In the process Louis brought her overall season BIIF record to a perfect 11-0.
Keaau’s Head Wrestling Coach Charles Manning, with over 30 years coaching experience with 6 years at Keaau pointed to the challenges with coaching a young team.
“We’re very young and inconsistent,” Manning said. “Each week the kids look different on the mat and I think it is because for them this is the hardest sport they have ever been in.”
The Cougars carry 20 boys and 5 girls on the roster according to Manning.
Manning says he’s happy at where the Cougars are at this point in the season, but added that he would like to keep seeing improvement.
Keaau played host to the all schools meet and Manning had to divide his time between coaching and putting on an efficient meet.
“Hosting a wrestling tournament is time consuming and it takes a lot of parent volunteers and fortunately today we had a good group working in two shifts,” Manning said.
The BIIF wrestling season continues on Saturday with an all schools meet at Waiakea starting at 10 am.