Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Kamehameha’s Megan Aina Wins State Wrestling Title

Megan Aina, top, won three of four matches at state by pin

   It’s been three long years since a Big Island Interscholastic Federation girl has won a state wrestling title, but that all came to an end this past Sunday as the smallest of eleven weight divisions came up big.

   Kamehameha’s Megan Aina, wrestling in the 98 pound lightweight division, worked her way through two days of competition to win the Hawaii High School Athletic Association individual crown at the Baisdell Arena in Honolulu.

   Aina, a two time BIIF Champion at 98 pounds, needed to get past Punahou’s Erin Uehara in the championship match to claim the first girls state wrestling championship for the BIIF since Kealakehe’s Renee Michell won it in 2007.

   Aina’s final match was a nail-biter as the Warrior sophomore managed to win by a 3-2 decision over Uehara.

   “I was shaken prior to the championship match as I was so nervous,” Aina said after winning the state title.

   Aina scored the first point of the championship match with an escape in the second period and scored two more later in that period with a takedown.

  “I used an arm drag and moved to a single leg snatch to get the takedown,” Aina said.  “I was up 3-0 going into the final round when Erin (Uehara) took me down to make the score tight.”

   Aina’s weight division included 16 girls from around the state and the versatile wrestler pinned all three of her opponents prior to going against Uehara.

   “My sister, Jenna, was very supportive during the tournament,” Aina said.  “I wanted to do well and not disappoint anyone.”

   For Aina to make it to the championship match she needed to get past St. Andrew’s Priory, Meghan Chun, a formidable opponent that beat Aina during last year’s state tournament.

   “Part of Megan’s desire to want to make weight and wrestle in the 98 class was to avenge the lost she had to the St. Andrew’s girl (Chun) that beat her last year,” Kamehameha coach Marlon Miller said.

Honokaa’s Jessica Muskat, 6th at state

Waiakea’s Tracy Poch had the second best finish for the BIIF girls, making it into the championship match at 155 and losing to Punahou’s Kaimana Lundquist by fall at 4:44.

   Konawaena’s freshman, Tanalei Louis made it into the semi finals in the 125 weigh class to win the bronze by defeating Kahuku’s Kristy Rabaino on a 7-1 decision.

   Other BIIF girls medaling at state were:

Konawaena’s Alexandra Aoki, 103, 4th, Danielle Hubbard, 108, 4th,

Kealakehe’s Joylnn Kahala-Minczer, 114, 4th, Jodi Ozaki, 120, 4th

Kamehameha’s Rustee-Ann Johansen, 130, 5th, Kaopua Sutton, 175, 4th and Jenna Aina, 114, 6th.

Honokaa’s Jessica Muskat, 175, 6th.   

   Punahou won the girls team title for the second year in a row narrowly edging out Kahuku by 2.5 points.  Kamehameha-Hawaii finished sixth and Kona eighth to claim high honors for BIIF teams.

Kona’s Sage and Alexandra Aoki both finished fourth at state

“This was the best finish by any Kamehameha-Hawaii team as we previously finished 11th once and 12th last year,” Coach Marlon Miller said.  “I’m very proud of all our girls as they worked hard and served as good training partners for each other.”

   “I’m happy with our finish, but there were still five schools ahead of us and with the talent we have coming back next year we will focused on trying to win it all,” Miller said.  “Our girls are a really tight unit and with mainly freshmen and sophomores the Big Island should be worried about us next year.”

   In the boys division it was Kona’s Jimmy Romualdo in the 135 weight class that made it into the championship match.  Romualdo took the runner up spot when he defaulted his match to Kamehameha-Oahu’s Jacob Luning-Hoshino.

  Honokaa’s three time BIIF champion, Geo Chavez-Pardini, 160, lost his opening match during day one trials, but worked his way through the consolation bracket to win a 5th place medal.

  Other BIIF boys winning medals were:

Hawaii Prep’s Keoni Colson, 152, 6th.

Kamehameha’s Nalu Souza, 120, 4th.

Kona’s Sage Aoki, 108, 4th.

Honokaa’s Chris Reed, 285, 4th.

   Punahou easily won the boys team crown for the fourth year in a row with 240 points with second place Kamehameha-Oahu scoring 186.5.  The top BIIF team was Kona who finished in 15th place.

   Forty-two schools, representing five leagues, participated in the two day tournament which needed to be postponed on Saturday due to the Tsunami Alert.

March 1, 2010 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

BIIF Crowns 25 Wrestling Champions for 2010

photo by CSUAINAJR

BOYS:

108 – Sage Aoki, Konawaena                  114 – Justin Hirae, Kamehameha

120 – Nalu Souza, Kamehameha           125 – Kevin Antolin, Kealakehe

130 – Dillon Cortes, Kealakehe              135 – Jimmy Romualdo, Kona

140 – Tyler Yonemori, Waiakea              145 – Kawika Nihoa, Waiakea

152 – Keoni Colson, HPA                          160 – Geo Chavez-Pardini, Honokaa

171 – Kalai Nihau, Honokaa                     189 – Kawika Scott, Kona        

215 – Tim Eckert, Kealakehe                    285 – Chris Reed, Honokaa

GIRLS:

98 – Megan Aina, Kamehameha               103 – Alexandra Aoki, Konawaena

108 – Danielle Hubbard, Kona                  114 – Jolynn Kahala-Minczer, Kealakehe

120 – Melissa Dumaguin, Kona                 125 – Tanalei Louis, Kona

130 – Rustee-Ann Johansen, Kamehameha

140 – Jade Perreira, Honokaa                    155 – Tracy Poch, Waiakea

175 – Kaopua Sutton, Kamehameha        220 – Kiana Mello-Waiwaiole, Kau

February 18, 2010 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alex Aoki becomes a 4 time BIIF wrestling champion

Kamehameha's Justin Hirae became a 3 time BIIF champion on Saturday

   What could be sweeter than to win a league title in wrestling?  How’s about winning four titles during an illustrious prep career?

   Such was the case for Konawaena’s Alexandra Aoki as the senior won her fourth Big Island Interscholastic Federation wrestling title on Saturday at Keaau while adding layers of icing to her super sweet season.

   Aoki, who has not lost a match to a BIIF competitor in more than three years, special day became even more special when her younger brother, Sage Aoki, won the boys 108 weight class.

   “This was my last year of high school wrestling so it was our goal to both win at BIIF’s,” Alexandra Aoki said.

   Aoki has dominated the league at 103 the past four seasons and during the finals on Saturday pinned Kealakehe’s Mindy Lorance in 58 seconds of the first period to maintain her supremacy.

   “I did it today for my dad, Mark,” she said.  “It is also Coach Wally’s (Nakashima) last year as head coach and Sage and I wanted to win it for him too.”

   Sage Aoki wasted little time in his championship match against Kealakehe’s Ralph Ortega.  Aoki opened with several head slaps, and then caught his opponent off guard for an opening period take down before pinning him with 51.3 seconds left in the first period.

   “I had a branch modified where I grabbed his arm and flipped him over,” Aoki said of his pin.

   Moments after his match the brother and sister were seen on the sidelines embracing each other in their jubilation for reaching their goals.

   The Aoki duo is also coached by their father who is a judo sensei and both credit judo with being helpful in their upward spiral in wrestling.  Alexandra is a brown belt and Sage carries a purple belt.

   Fifty girls and ninety-eight boys representing 11 schools from the Big Island Interscholastic Federation competed during a daylong wrestling tournament at the Keaau High School gym on Saturday to determine who would walk away with individual and team titles.

  In the 114 weight class it was Kamehameha’s Justin Hirae going against Laupahoehoe’s Lucky Baun in the championship match.

   Hirae came into the title bracket as the two time BIIF title holder and wasted little time getting the first take down and a quick 2-0 lead. 

   The private school Warrior caught Baun out of position and went for a cradle move.

   “I was head hunting and pinned him in a Cadillac,” Hirae said of his third BIIF title. 

   Hirae’s only loss this season came at the hands of Sage Aoki when the Wildcat was bumped up to the higher weight class earlier in the season.

   At the 130 class Kealakehe’s Dillon Cortes took on Keaau’s Jesse Huihui in a battle between two scrappy wrestlers.

   The match was a stalemate during the first period as neither could gain the advantage, but Cortes began to open things up late in the 2nd period to gain a 5-0 lead and never looked back.

   Cortes won 8-0 and claimed his first BIIF title.

   “It feels great,” the senior Waverider said.  “I wanted to give it my all this year and it paid off.  I needed to push the pace against Jesse (Huihui) which is just what I did.”

  A pair of upsets took place when Honokaa’s Jade Perreira pinned Kamehameha’s Pomai Pohina in the girls 140 class and Waiakea’s Kawika Nihoa got past Hawaii Preps Bronson Kobayashi at the boys 145.

  Perreira had fallen behind on points during the 3rd period against Pohina by a score of 8-4.  With time running out it looked like Pohina had the match in hand, but Perreira reversed the situation by getting Pohina in a chicken wing, half-nelson, and the pin.

   “My coach (Dan Whetstone) was yelling at me during the match saying he wanted the pin,” Perreira said.  “I never wrestled her before and I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew she was good.”

   For the boys it was Warrior Kawika Nihoa upsetting defending BIIF champ and previously unbeaten Ka Makani Bronson Kobayashi.

   Both boys were equal throughout the three periods of wrestling and needed to go into overtime when Nihoa claimed the first take down in and the BIIF title.

   “This match had to see who had the biggest heart,” Nihoa said after the match.  “My coaches pushed me hard to get this far.  Winning is all about heart, standing up to pressure and getting a lot of support.”

   Kealakehe came into the championships as the defending team title holders for the boys and girls but faced stiff competition from the Honokaa and Kamehameha.

   The private school Warriors managed to fill all 11 girl’s weight classes which gave them an advantage in claiming the overall team title.

  “I’m really happy for our girls,” third year head coach Marlon Miller said.  “I’ve been preaching all year that I want to fry some bigger fish and to focus on the state championship.”

   Miller was quick to point out that no outer island team has ever won a state title wrestling and that he’d like to see Kamehameha-Hawaii break that streak.

   The Kamehameha girls had seven of their 11 girl’s make it into the title matches which three of them taking BIIF crowns.

   “We have 14 of our 16 girls returning next year and I’m real excited about that,” Miller said.

     For the boys team crown Kealakehe filled 12 of the 14 divisions leaving vacancies in the 160 and 189 weight classes, but having enough firepower and depth to repeat.

    “One of our goals for the year was to win the BIIF team title,” ‘Rider coach Michael Ciotti said.  “Another one of our goals is to do well at states and to peak for that tournament.”

   “We’re really happy for the kids and we’re pleased that we could repeat by winning the boy’s team championship,” Ciotti said.

February 14, 2010 Posted by | 1, Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment