Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Kealakehe boys wrestling team to contend for BIIF Team Title

Allin Franco

Kealakehe hosted a Big Island Interscholastic Federation all schools wrestling meet on Saturday and left little doubt that their boy’s team is a contender for the league title this season.

Several of their athletes stepped up to have impressive performances which left a lasting impression on their competition with the season winding down into its final two weeks.

Allin Franco could certainly have been considered the headliner for Kealakehe on Saturday as the 140 pounder went a perfect 4-0 on the day winning three of his matches by pin and the other with an impressive 10-1 victory.

“I try not to tie up in the beginning of my matches and let my opponents come to me,” Franco said.  “Once they come in I’ll then take my shot.”

The Waverider senior admits that having more experience plays an important role in his overall success.

“This is my fourth year of wrestling and most of my competition is in their first or second year,” he said.  

Franco, the BIIF runner up last season, usually goes for arm drags and then switches to a single before taking down his opponents which leads to a one wrist grab and a tilt that has brought his overall BIIF season record to 14-1.

Continuing the Waverider tradition of talented ‘Rider wrestlers was defending BIIF champion Robin Arellano in the 114 weight division.

“Robin is one of our team captains and certainly will help us in our quest of a team title,” Waverider coach Mike Ciotti said.  “He went 3-1 on Saturday and is now 10-1 on the season.”

Arellano, a senior, brings a quick takedown technique to the mat as his success lies in getting that first take down while he pushes the offense.

His three wins came as a result of having a good bar series on top while executing a barbed wire and chicken wing maneuvers.

“Robin has a good arsenal of maneuvers and is quick on his feet,” Ciotti said.  “He’s also good at escaping from the down position while he continues to press the pace.”

Waverider teammate Asaiah Guieb, 145, went 3-1, losing his first BIIF match of the season which brings him to an overall 13-1 record.

“I lost a close, 6-5 match to a Waiakea guy that I had previously wrestled during preseason,” Guieb said.  “I learned from that match and will come into it next time better prepared.”

Guieb didn’t let his only loss of the year deter his nearly perfect day; winning his three other matches by pin.

“I had an alright day,” Guieb said.  “I used basic moves to get my pins and I know how to read my opponents trying to stay a step ahead of them.”

All three of Guieb’s pins came by using the half nelson and a cradle while being able to react quickly to his opponents opening advances and think at a supersonic pace to outmaneuver the competition.

Guieb a senior is determined to challenge for the overall BIIF individual title when it comes up at Kamehameha on February 18.

“I didn’t even place in the top three last year and have not gone on to states,” Guieb said.  “But being a senior this year I not only want to win the BIIF title, I’d also like to medal at the state championships.”

Guieb contributes much of his success this season to doing extra training on his own, after practice.

“I run on my own everyday and lift weights three times a week on my own,” he said. 

Teammate Dan Gampon, 120, is faced each week at being in one of the toughest divisions in the BIIF.

Gampon carries a 13-5 overall season record. His only loses has come from the defending BIIF champion Kamehameha’s Nalu Souza, and the BIIF runner up Konawaena’s Sage Aoki.

On Saturday Gampon had four matches going 3-1 with his only loss to Aoki by a 13-5 score.

“I feel pretty honored to be in one of the toughest weight classes,” Gampon said.  “Nalu and Sage make me better every time I wrestle because I learn from them and they teach me a lot.”

Gampon’s three wins came from impressive scores against Hilo, winning by 15 points, Keaau 13-5, and Honokaa, 12-6, opponents.

“I still need to find that one little thing that is missing,” Gampon said.  “I need to raise my confidence level and believe in myself.”

Gampon, a gritty wrestler, who often raises his level of intensity by being aggressive in his matches, has raised his level to one of the best at 120.

“Competition is the best thing about wrestling,” he said.  “This weight class brings out the best in me.”

The Waveriders boy’s team seems to have the balance and numbers to be a possible contender this season for the team title.

Coach Ciotti

Coach Ciotti was pleased with his overall team performance and he gave kudos to their grit and determination.

“We have a solid team from top to bottom that is committed,” Ciotti said.  “We carry 25 boys and 8 girls and I believe we are a contender for the boy’s team title.”

Ciotti needed to split his time between hosting the all schools meet and coaching while trying to provide three matches to the 100 boys and 50 girls that were there to wrestle.

“It was hard for me to actually coach today, but what I saw from our kids is that they are starting to show toughness at the right point in the season,” Ciotti said.

Despite the difficulty of hosting an all schools meet Ciotti benefited from the advantage of being home.

“We don’t have to get up early in the morning and travel several hours, which means the kids can sleep in and wrestling in a familiar place in front of their home crowd,” Ciotti said.

The BIIF venue moves to an East/West format on Saturday with Pahoa hosting the East side and Honokaa hosting the West. 

February 7, 2012 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Hilo’s Atagi goes 3 rounds against state champion Akoakoa Paleka-Kennedy

Atagi
Paleka-Kennedy

In the land of Giants, opportunities presented itself with a Viking trying to slay the Warrior King.

Kamehameha’s defending heavy weight wrestling state champion, Akoakoa Paleka-Kennedy, made his way to the mat on Saturday in the final match of the day to face Hilo’s Zachary Atagi in a battle of the 285 pound weight division.

“I’m kind of relaxed,” Atagi said before his match with Paleka-Kennedy.  “He has more experience than me and he is the state champion, I am just hoping I don’t tense up.”

To quell his nerves Atagi tells jokes to one of his coaches, Mike Mandaquit, in order to keep his mind off facing the best wrestler in the state.

“I plan on fighting power with power and I can’t let him try to overpower me, as I’m hoping to just wrestling him,” Atagi continued.

Atagi brought an 8-1 record to the mat against the state champion, while Paleka-Kennedy came to the mat with an unblemished 5-0 record winning all of his matches by pins.

“He (Paleka-Kennedy) is just like any other guy, as anybody can win and this is a match that I have been looking forward to.”

Paleka Kennedy sat out the first few weeks of the season because of his fluctuating weight which put him over the 285 limit.

During the match the Viking gave the Warrior every bit of a match going the full three rounds as Paleka-Kennedy won on points by a score of 11-2.

“He (Atagi) is very balanced and had good stand up,” Paleka-Kennedy said after the grueling match.  “He was strong and hard to take down.”

Atagi scored his two points with an escape and Paleka-Kennedy scored with three takedowns and escapes.

“I don’t want to be overconfident going into a match and I don’t want to take any one lightly,” Paleka Kennedy said.  “He (Atagi) is the best wrestler I’ve faced this season.”

Atagi was ecstatic about his ability to go against the state champion.

“For the most part I’m please to go all three rounds against the best in the state,” Atagi said.  “Of course, I would have wanted to win as I go into every match to win.”

Atagi comes from a wrestling family as his dad was a state runner up for Waialua High School on Oahu.

“My dad coached both of my current Hilo High coaches,” Atagi said.  “He also helps me a lot, along with my other coaches.”

Coach Kalawe
Nishimoto-Noguchi

Viking Coach Alex Kalawe was pleased with his team’s performance as the opportunities presented itself on the mat.
“All of our kids are getting really tough challenges today,” Kalawe said.  “Most of the schools are trying to set up the best matches which will go on to making the kids better and more successful later.”

Another Viking, Trent Hashimoto-Noguchi at 130 had his hands full dropping his first match to a Keaau opponent on points.

“I just got tired and didn’t have the energy to finish that first match,” Hashimoto-Noguchi said.  “I need to be better prepared by rehydrating and putting some food into myself.”

In his second match Hashimoto-Noguchi rebounding winning by pin in the third round as he used a tilt, gaining control, then pushing his opponent onto his back, bringing his overall BIIF record to 6-4.

Lee
Kanekanui

The Lady Viks made the most of their opportunities with Kainoe Lee gaining an impressive victory over a talented Kamehameha Jasmine Iuta at 155.

“Jasmine beat me last week and today I won by a score of 8-2,” Lee said.  “I came into this match with more confidence and I felt good warming up as I was really motivated.”

Lee’s only two losses this season came at the hands of Iuta as she ran her league record to 8-2.

“I just came in more aggressive than in the past and I wanted to take control,” Lee said.  “I was also more relaxed and I know that Jasmine is the best competition that I have in this weight class.”

Teammate Lahi Kanakanui won an exciting match over Waiakea’s Kanani Silva, in overtime.

“The match was tied at 5 all at the end of regulation,” Kanakanui said.  “In overtime she (Silva) went for a shot and I sprawled and then circled around for the win.”

Choi

While Hilo was hosting an East Division wrestling tournament Hawaii Preparatory Academy hosted the West.

Undefeated in BIIF competition is Ka Makani Troy Choi at 215 who beat both his Honokaa opponents to run his record to 15-0.

“In my first match I wrestled Christian Silva and pinned him in the second round using a duck under and then moving into a backward high crotch,” Choi said.  “My second match was against Kainoa Lyman who bumped up from 189.”

“I pinned Kainoa in the third round using a chicken wing, running it to the right and then flipping him onto his back, Choi said.

Choi, a senior, credits most of his success to sticking with the HPA wrestling program for all four years.

“I got beat up as a freshman and paid my dues,” Choi said.  “Most of my opponents now are younger and still need to pay their dues as their skill level is below mine.”

Choi was the BIIF runner up last season and looks to vie for the title this year in his weight class.

The BIIF wrestling venue moves to Kealakehe on Saturday with an all schools meet starting at 10 am.

 

January 29, 2012 Posted by | Running on the Big Island, Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Waiakea Wrestling Coaches trying to fly under the Radar

WHS coach

Stealth was the key word at Waiakea as the Big Island Interscholastic Federation wrestling season continued on Saturday, with the public school Warriors trying to avoid detection of their talented team.

“We’re trying to fly under the radar and not let the other schools know what we have,” Warrior coach Preston Sato said.Waiakea is the defending boy’s team champion in BIIF wrestling, but are attempting to disguise what they might have as the season heads into its final weeks.

“We continue the coaching philosophy of our former coach, Patrick Marquart, who believed in discipline and the entire program is modeled after him.” Sato said,Marquart coached the Warriors from 1996 to 2001 according to Sato and Coach Sato along with assistant coach, Nick Galloway, wrestled for the legendary Warrior coach.Galloway, a 2003 and Sato, a 2001 graduate of Waiakea have both returned to continue as mentors.

“Coach Marquart always helped us become better wrestlers and as a result become better people in life,” Galloway said.  “He had a great program which we try to emulate today.”Haraguichi

“We carry 16 boys and 7 girls and defending the league title will be a lot tougher this season, Coach Stan Haraguchi said.  “It will come down to who wants it more, who works the hardest and who has the fewest injuries.”MaglintiLeading the Warrior boys is senior Jordan Maglinti at 152 pounds who won his opening match against a Pahoa opponent by a score of 11-1.“I haven’t lost a match this season as I go for just the basic moves of double leg and half nelson,” Maglinti said. “I’m not a great wrestler, I’m just okay and all these other kids work hard too.”Despite his undefeated BIIF season Maglinti, a senior, believes that he needs to work harder at practice to be able to contend for the league championship.“I just want to wrestle as hard as I can and if I win or lose it doesn’t matter, as long as I tried my best,” he said. Ikehara

Also flying under the radar for Waiakea is Alan Ikehara a tenth grader in his first year of wrestling.

Ikehara, 140, won his opening match against a Hawaii Preparatory Academy opponent by putting him in a half then pressing his weight down to get the second round pin.

“I took him down in the first period then put him in a reverse leading into the half,” Ikehara said.  “My double leg take down works well, but I still need to work on the single leg.”

Ikehara, a surfer, goes into every match with a positive attitude as his dad; a former high school wrestler encouraged him to enter the sport.

“I go onto the mat to try to win every match and I always try to do the best that I can,” he said,

Keoni Rice, at 135, adds to the Waiakea firepower and remains undefeated in league competition.

“I’m 7-0 and today I bumped up to 140 for better competition,” Rice said.  “I try to take advantage of my opponent’s weaknesses and faults.”

Rice, a junior, ran cross country during the off season and believes the transition to wrestling has helped.

“Cross country has helped me stay in shape and develop more stamina,” he said.  “Wrestling also helped my running because of the high intensity of the sport.”

Louis

For the Warrior girls there is no hiding Tanalei Louis who comes in as the state runner up at 125 pounds and is undefeated in BIIF competition.

Louis faced stiff opposition in Kamehameha’s Noelle Pohina and used a barbed wire move to secure the pin in the second period to move her league record to 15-0.   The two combatants had faced each other last season for the BIIF championships with Louis again coming out on top.

“Everything is going as planned at this point in the season,” Louis said.  “Noelle probably gave me my toughest match so far this season.”

Louis has never been in serious trouble this season as she has fluctuated between 125 and 130 pound weight divisions.

“My dad helps me a lot in my wrestling as he wrestled for Hilo High when he was in high school,” Louis said.  “My dad is my biggest supporter and I appreciate his always being there for me.”

Waiakea Teammate Skye Matsuura, 120, dropped a close match to Kamehameha’s Phoebe Oda by a score of 10 to 4.  The loss dropped the sophomore to a 3-4 season record

“My mom made me come out for wrestling as she is a black belt in judo,” Matsuura said.  “I’m glad I joined as I like it now as it is a good sport.”

Matsuura believes she still needs to work on building muscle and getting in better shape.

“I need to work on my cardio and my staying in position before matches,” Matsuura said.  “My stand up works good as I fight for hand control.”

Waiakea hosted the day long all schools meet which showcased some of the best wrestlers on the island

“It’s very difficult to coach and host a wrestling tournament,” Coach Stan Haraguichi said.  “Fortunately I have a good staff and great kids.”

BIIF action continues on Saturday with a East meet at Hilo and the West meet at HPA.  Both venues begin at 10 am.

January 24, 2012 Posted by | Running on the Big Island, Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Young Cougars Leaving their mark in BIIF Wrestling

Quiocho

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.”

Lopez

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.

Ah Quin-Fely

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.

Louis

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.

Manning

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.

January 17, 2012 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

BIIF Wrestling from Konawaena – Who let the Cats Out?

Troy Gibson Jr., gains an advantage over his Wildcat opponent

Who let the Cats Out?   That’s what wrestlers from around the Big Island Interscholastic Federation were wondering when they exited the Konawaena Gym on Saturday after a grueling day on the mats.The host Wildcats were short on numbers and experience, according to Coach Mark Aoki, but huge on heart and determination as Sage Aoki, 120, Justin Raymond, 108, and Aimee Shiraki, 220, came up with big matches.Shiraki was unstoppable going 3-0 while winning all of her matches by pins against formidable opponents from Kau, Pahoa and Hilo.“I like the outside single move,” Shiraki said.  “Sometimes I get too ambitious with my moves and get caught off balance.”Shiraki attributes a great part of her wrestling success to judo as the sophomore comes onto the mat as the BIIF defending judo champion.Judo has definitely helped me in wrestling,” she said.  “I like wrestling because it is different and I like the competition and the chance to meet new people.”

Shiriki

Shiraki made it to the state championships last year as a freshman, but missed medaling by one match.

“My goal is to make it back to states this time around and to hopefully medal,” Shiraki said.

Aoki and Raymond are defending BIIF champions and they looked primed to repeat, having extremely competitive     matches which should pay big dividends by the end of the season.

Gibson

Kamehameha sophomore Troy Gibson, wrestling at 135, had a perfect day on the mat winning all three of his matches, two by pin and the other by 17-0 score.

“I beat two Pahoa and one Kona guy,” Gibson said.  “My favorite pinning combination is the cradle move, but I still need to work on my cardio.”

According to Gibson he has been building endurance by running on his own before practice and working on his muscle mass by doing weight training with his father.

“I’ve always liked wrestling since middle school because I like the one on one action and there are no excuses when you lose,” Gibson said.

Gibson’s goals for the season are straight forward.

“My goal is to be the best student athlete that I can be,” he said.  “I’m not looking beyond just being the best that I can possible be.”

Souza vs Aoki

In what is considered the premiere match up of the day it was Kona’s Sage Aoki going against Kamehameha’s Nalu Kekona-Souza.

Aoki is the defending BIIF champion at 108 and bumped up a weight class to challenge the slightly bigger Souza at 125.

“I admire Sage for bumping up to face one of the best wrestlers in the league,” Warrior Coach Brendan Courtot said.  “Sage wrestled up to challenge himself and gain better competition.”

The tough match up against Kekona-Souza went the distance with Souza winning on points by a score of 14 to 3.

Kekona-Souza went a perfect 3-0 in Kona and believes that his match up with Aoki was the best that he can find in the BIIF.

“Sage is great competition and when he gets on top he is a hammer as he always comes into the match with the right attitude.”

Kekona-Souza is the two time defending BIIF champion at 120 pounds, but will look to win his third league title at 125.

“I’m hoping to be a three time BIIF champion and to go on to win a state title,” he said.  “I came in second at states this past year at 120 and I’m pretty happy with my wrestling performance, but I still want to get better.”

Kekona-Souza is a perfect 6-0 in BIIF completion this season and beat Aoki by using a single leg take down, putting the Wildcat on his back to score enough points to be awarded the tough win.

Also delivering a perfect 3-0 record in the Wildcat gym was Kamehameha’s Charlie Aina in the 130 weight class.

“I had wins against Pahoa, Keaau and Kona with my toughest match coming against the Kona wrestler,” Aina said.

Aina, a junior, won his first match by a 17-2 score and pinned his Keaau opponent before going the distance in his third and final match to scratch out a narrow 4-2 victory.

“In most of my wins I use an ankle pick,” Aina said.  “I have good endurance and I have really good conditioning which helped me in my final match on Saturday.”

Aina also comes from a judo background which helps him in his wrestling.

“I condition year round for judo and I run on my own and lift weights on the weekends,” Aina said.

“I’m hoping I can take the BIIF title, but I know I need to improve my attacks as I tend to wait too long,” Aina said.

If Aina’s last name sounds familiar it is because sister, Megan Aina, is a former state wrestling champion who continues to make great strides in her mat performance at Kamehameha.

Present in the Wildcat gym, but staying on the bleachers was Waiakea standout Tanalei Louis at 130.  Louis is a perfect 9 and 0 in BIIF competition but decided to sit out at Kona.

“I’m nursing an ear infection and just wanted to watch and cheer on my team,” Louis said.  “I should be ready to compete next week when we are at Keaau.”

The BIIF wrestling season continues on Saturday with an all-schools meet at Keaau starting at 10 am.

January 9, 2012 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment