Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Kamehameha Wrestling Seniors lead the way on and off the mat

L to R: Pohina, Osburn, Padaken, Roland and Chin

PAHOA – Experience does matter and the Warriors of Kamehameha took full advantage of their senior power during the Big Island Interscholastic Federation regular wrestling season finale on Saturday at Pahoa Gym.

“We have 12 seniors with 5 boys and 7 girls,” Warrior coach Brendan Courtot said.  “Those seniors provide us with a pretty good nucleus, not just in wrestling but in leadership.”

Kamehameha put their senior power to the test, taking advantage of their opponents in a variety of weight classes.

On the girl’s side of the mat Kanoe Padaken (108), Alexia Osburn  (140) and Chantel Pohina (130) were priming their skills prior to the BIIF championships which will be held on Feb 18.

Kamehameha girls, the two time defending team champions, left little doubt that they are on a quest for their three peat.

Padaken used a hand and arm to take her opponent down then went for a head squeeze followed by a double chicken wing to win her match by pin in the first round.

Placing third in the BIIF championships last year Padaken uses her experience to boost her confidence.

“This year I am putting everything I have into every match,” Padaken said.  “I now have more focus as I try to improve my game plan.”

Padaken, undefeated this season at 108, started the season at 114 but has dropped the weight to help the Warrior weight class balance for another team title.

Pohina won her opening match against a Keaau opponent by a score of 15-7.

“I snapped her down and went for the gator roll, but accidentally put myself on my back,” Pohina said. “

Pohina managed to reverse the mistake by escaping from the bottom position, placing herself back on top, extending a sprawl and kept her opponent down as time ran out.

Pohina’s only BIIF losses this season came at the hands of Waiakea’s Tanalei Louis and Hilo’s Lahi Kanakanui.

“I won all my other matches this season, but lost two to Tanalei and one time to Lahi,” she said.  “I think my overall BIIF record is 11-3.”

Last season Pohina wrestled at 155 and placed second in the BIIF.   At her current 130 Pohina has an unblemished league record, as her three loses came outside her 130 division.

“I still need to work harder and have a stronger mentality,” she said.  “Experience matters as I am the only senior in the 130 division.”

At 140 is Alexia Osburn who won both her Saturday matches on points against Waiakea and Hilo opponents.

“I felt sluggish and wasn’t feeling all that great, but I got the opportunity to get the Waiakea girl for a sprawl and the take down,” Osburn said. 

In her second match Osburn used pressure to do wrist rolls on the Viking to claim her second victory of the day.

For the Warrior boys it was seniors Jason Rowland (145) and Ryan Chin (189) fine tuning their skills.

Chin won his first match by pin against a Pahoa opponent, coming in high to get a single leg take down, followed by a half nelson to gain the first round pin.

“I think I can do better,” Chin said.  “There is lots of room for improvement as I am not consistent and have my on and off days.”

Chin extended his overall BIIF record to 10-2 and attributes much of his success to having a good attitude and strong work ethic.

“I’m always trying to get better by having better mental imaging and focusing on winning,” Chin said.

Last season Chin placed second in the BIIF in the 215 division and has dropped the weight to make himself more competitive.

Rowland also claimed a first round pin against a Hilo opponent, making the first take down by sprawling out after the Viking took a shot.

“I flipped him over and placed him in a half nelson,” Rowland said.  “I have good shots and like to work the double leg while I set up my game plan.”

Warrior teammate CJ Matsuyama (171) needed to sit the day out with a high ankle sprain, but plays an important role in the Kamehameha’s boy’s quest for a team title, according to Coach Courtot.

State heavyweight champion Kamehameha’s Akoakoa Paleka-Kennedy continued his domination while keeping his two year unblemished mark intact by winning his only match of the day at Pahoa.

“Our girl’s team is solid, with our boy’s team needing to give up three weight classes,” Coach Courtot said.

While the Daggers were hosting the Eastside schools Honokaa played host to the Westside as the BIIF season concluded with dual island wide meets.

 

Two Dragons boys that have been going through the season with mat experience and skill are Christian Silva, 215, and James Marlin at 171.

 

Silva, who had never won a match last season is an even 8-8 this year.

 

On Saturday Silva, a junior, went 1-2 getting his lone win by pin in the second round.

 

“I used a cross grab and flipped him onto his back, then held and pressed,” Silva said.  “I lost one at 215 and my other loss came at 285 as my coach (Dan Whetstone) wanted me to bump up to gain more experience.”

 

Marlin went 2-1 on Saturday, winning both matches by pin, while extending his overall BIIF record to 22-5.

 

“I won both on second round pins using the cradle in one match and the head and arm in the other,” Marlin said.  “My loss was by a score of 11-9 and part of that was because I lost points when the ref called me for stalling.”

 

Marlin expects to be a contender for the BIIF individual crown, but knows that he stills needs some work with his cardio and speed.

 

The BIIF individual and team championships will be held on Saturday at Kamehameha with action getting under way at 10 am.

 

February 13, 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

Kamehameha’s Paleka-Kennedy wins state heavyweight wrestling title

BIIF heavyweight champ, Paleka-Kennedy, 2nd from left, becomes state champion

Big Island wrestlers were well represented in the finals of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association championship on Saturday held in Honolulu at the Blaisdell Arena.

“We’re especially pleased with our performance,” an elated Coach Brendan Courtot said of his Kamehameha Warriors.

Heavyweight, Akoakoa Paleka-Kennedy, weighed in at 284.8 pounds and dominated his 287 weight class to become the Big Island Interscholastic Federation’s lone state champion.

The BIIF had four wrestlers enter the finals to compete for an individual state title.

“Last year our boys had only one wrestler, Nalu Souza, place in the top six as he finished fourth,” Courtot said. 

Paleka-Kennedy realized after day one that he had a shot at winning it all.

“Once I won my first two matches on Friday it gave me the confidence to know that I could win the state title,” Paleka-Kennedy said.

In the final match of the day Paleka-Kennedy went against Pearl City’s Devin Ching and managed to pin him during the second round.

“My coaches told me to stay in good position and don’t go chasing,” Paleka-Kennedy said. 

The state championship pin came when Paleka-Kennedy used his hips to take his opponent down on his back.

“I used a head and arm move while he was on his back to get the pin,” he said.  “Everyone here is an athlete and you have to compete hard to win.  I’m very happy I came out on top.”

Tanalei Louis

Along with Akoakoa Paleka-Kennedy, in the finals were teammates Nalu Souza (122) and Rustee Ann Johansen (132) with Konawaena’s Tanalei Louis, (127).

What stood in the way for Johansen and Louis were the Chow sisters, Chrissy and Mindy, from Punahou.

The Chow’s are state judo champions and also hold co national titles in wrestling. The Big Island girls needed to somehow manage to get past the Chow’s accolades if they were going to win a state title of their own.

Louis, a sophomore who finished third in the state last year, went head to head against Chrissy Chow and gave her everything she had.

The match was probably the best of the day according to Courtot, as Louis and Chow were tied at the end of regulation 3-3.

“I knew her and her reputation prior to going into the match,” Louis said. 

Chow got a take down during over time and with it the state title.

“I feel great and well accomplished,” Louis said.  “I’m probably the happiest person on earth and I don’t have any regrets about the match.”

Johansen, who placed 5th in the state last year, found herself in the title match needing to out maneuver the more experienced Mindy Chow.

“This is my senior year and I just wanted to do my best,” Johansen said. 

During last year’s match Chow pinned Johansen in the first round, so the Warrior was determined to avoid the same fate this year.

“I feel very accomplished,” Johansen said of her technical fall, 15-0, loss to Chow.  “She is a lot stronger and quicker than I am, but she couldn’t pin me.”

Despite the loss Johansen felt content with the overall results saying, “I have no regrets.”  “I didn’t think I’d make it this far,” she said.

Nalu Souza

Kamehameha’s Nalu Souza went against Kaiser’s Ryan Nakagawa in a seesaw nail biting match.

At the end of the first round the boys were scoreless with Souza trying to take control on his feet. 

“I took the lead at the start of the second round with an escape, but during the third round he took me down and I ended up losing 5-3,” Souza said.

 “I feel like I wrestled my hardest and I put everything on the line.  He (Nakagawa) was more experienced in competition and that gave him the edge over me,” Souza said.

The only defending state champion representing the Big Island Interscholastic Federation was Kamehameha’s Megan Aina (100) who faltered during the semi finals and found herself winning fifth place.

Other BIIF wrestlers coming away with medals (the top six wrestlers in each of the 14 boys and 11 girl’s weight divisions’ medal) were:

Kamehameha’s Justin Hirae (127) 5th.

Waiakea’s Pat Enos (147) 4th,   Tyler Yonemori (142) 3rd, and Tracy Poch (177) 5th.

Hilo’s Jordan Enos (132) 5th and Max Oishi (137) 6th.

Kona’s Sage Aoki (122) 4th.

Keaau’s Cheyden Quiocho (135) 4th.

The Kamehameha boys and girls teams led the BIIF teams in total scoring with a strong finish in overall results.

“I’m excited about our improvement from year to year,” Courtot said.  “Once we get to this point there is nothing I can do except worry and add a few more grey hairs.”

The Punahou boys and girls swept the team titles with their boy’s team having now won five consecutive state titles and their girls winning their third straight.

February 13, 2011 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BIIF Wrestlers do well on Maui

Kam’s Megan Aina, left, drops close match to Kailua’s Allene Somera

Hawaii High School Athletic Association state wrestling champion Kamehameha’s Megan Aina claimed second place medal in the 98 pound weight class at the Maui Wrestling Tournament held at War Memorial Gym in Wailuku on Dec. 21 and 22.

Aina, the defending Big Island Interscholastic Federation Queen lost during the finals on points to Kailua’s Allene Somera, 4 to 1.

“I’m not happy with the results,” Aina said.  “I know I need to work on my take downs and practice more with the boys in order to improve.”

Aina had a first round bye then easily won her next two matches before facing Somera in finals.

“I took a shot and she got around me to score two points,” Aina said of her final match.  “I have to practice harder and work harder this year in order to repeat for the state title.  Everybody knows I’m the state champion and they’re gunning for me.”

Aina often works out with the Warrior boys and one of her partners is Nalu Kekona-Souza.

“Nalu helps me get better as he is bigger and stronger than I am,” Aina said.  “I need to train more with him if I hope to get better.”

“If she was going to lose I’m glad she lost now,” Warrior girls coach Marlon Miller said.  “Every state champion faces the same feeling that everyone is after them.”

 Miller believes that the Maui experience was beneficial to Aina’s development as a wrestler.

“She (Aina) came to practice this week more focused, Miller said.  “There isn’t that much competition for her in the BIIF, so getting the exposure on Oahu and Maui will only help her chances for repeating as a state champion.”

For her win over Aina in the finals Somera was voted the most outstanding girls wrestler in the Maui tournament.

Nalu Kekona-Souza

Kekona-Souza, the defending BIIF champion, took second place in the 120 weight division dropping a nail bitter to Kaiser’s Ryan Nakagawa by a score of 4-3 in the championship final.

“I had two matches prior to the finals and I won both by pin,” Kekona-Souza said.  

“I probably got to see the best wrestler in the state in my weight division,” he said of his finals match against Nakagawa.

Kekona-Souza believes that he made a critical mistake during the finals by not sprawling out during the closing minutes of the match.

“I should off flattened out and not used my hips,” he said.  “Everyone one loses once in awhile and this loss was a very humbling experience.”

Warrior teammate Justin Hirae claimed fourth place in the 125 division while Konawaena’s Sage Aoki took third in the 120 division.

Waiakea’s Tyler Yonemori gains the advantage

Waiakea’s Tyler Yonemori was the lone wrestler that the public school Warriors brought over to Maui.  Yonemori is the defending BIIF champion at 140 was bumped up to the 145 division in Wailuku, won four of his five matches to claim third place.

“I lost to Chanse Uyeda in the third round on points, 3-1,” Yonemori said.

Uyeda from Lahainaluna is the same wrestler to beat Yonemori the week before at the Officials Tournament on Oahu.

“He’s a really good wrestler,” Yonemori said.  “We were tied 1 to 1 with less than a minute to go in the match when he took me down for two points.”

Yonemori was appreciative of the opportunity to wrestle on Maui stating that it provided him with more experience against talented wrestlers.

“I’m learning better how to defend certain moves and I’ve been facing some strong opponents,” he said.

Keaau’s Cheyden Quiocho was the lone Cougar to participate on Maui as the junior wanted to gain more mat experience.

“I wanted to get in more matches against good competition,” Quiocho said.  “It was pretty tough on Maui and I learned that I need to work a lot more on my technique.”

Quiocho, the BIIF runner up at 125 pounds, won his first two matches during

day one of competition before dropping his next two matches on the following day.

“I ended up wrestling for fifth place and won my final match,” he said.  “I think I do well under pressure and I’m glad I was able to gain more experience.”

Lahainaluna won the boys team title with Kahuku winning the girls.  Kamehameha-Hawaii was the top BIIF scoring team placing 13th overall for the boys and the girls.

The BIIF wrestling season officially gets underway with an all-schools meet at Kealakehe on January 8.

BIIF wrestling results from the Maui Tournament were provided by Kamehameha boys coach Brendan Courtot.

“This was a good experience for all our BIIF kids as they were all able to win at least one match,” Courtot said.  “We were able to compete with everyone there which will benefit the quality of wrestling in our league.”

Boys   120lb    Sage Aoki 3rd, Kona   Nalu Souza, 2nd, Kamehameha

125lb  Justin Hirae, 4th, Kamehameha  Charlie Aina, DNP, Kamehameha

130lb  Shannon Samura, DNP,  HPA

135lb  Cheyden Quiocho, 5th, Kea’au

145lb  Tyler Yonemori, 3rd, Waiakea

189lb  Kema Chin, DNP, Kamehameha

Girls  98lb  Megan Aina, 2nd, Kamehameha

125lb  Melissa Dumaguin, 3rd, Kona

DNP – Did Not Place

December 29, 2010 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kamehameha Girls look dominate at WHS Invite

Tough Kamehameha girls wrestling team

Kamehameha girls left little doubt on who is the team to beat in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation wrestling tournament held at Waiakea this past Friday and Saturday.

The Warrior girls captured six out of eight weight divisions during the two day, double elimination tournament to give notice to the rest of the league on their ability to defend their BIIF team title.

Kamehameha’s state champion Megan Aina got things started by winning the 108 pound division with an avalanche of Warrior’s claiming individual honors.

Kanoe Padakin, 120; Kawehi Lopez; 125; Rustee Johansen, 130; Sable-Marie Young, 155; and Jasmine Iuta, 175; continued the Warrior onslaught with Waiakea’s Tracy Poch, 220; and Konawaena’s Tanalei Louis, 140; being the only road block in preventing Kamehameha from a clean sweep.

“We still need to go back to the drawing board and work on some stuff,” Kamehameha girls coach Marlon Miller said.

“We should never be content with where we are at and we should always continue working to become better,” Miller said.  “Everybody in this gym from every school will get better during the season and we need to keep working at improving.”

Miller also had high praise for host Waiakea in running the two day tournament saying that Stan Haraguchi and Greg Yonemori did an excellent job in kicking off the season.

Eleven BIIF schools competed in the tournament that featured 38 girls and 107 boys vying for bragging rights in their respective age divisions.

In the girls 155 class championship match it was Kamehameha’s Sable-Marie Young getting sweet revenge against Hilo’s Kainoelani Lee.

Young failed to make the BIIF championship meet when she was defeated by Lee last season, but she turned the tables around this year.

“Today was kinda like pay back,” Young said of her pin.  “It makes me feel like I’m going to be really good this season.  I love this sport and the drive we need to push ourselves to be good.  Our coaches teach us well and the excitement we get from the crowd makes it worthwhile.”

Kamehameha’s Kawehi Lopez made the transition from canoe paddler to wrestler this season and picked up a win during the 125 title match against teammate Noelle Pohina.

“My friend recruited me into wrestling and I’m glad I gave it a try as it has increased my confidence and given me something to get excited about,” Lopez said. 

“I wasn’t so nervous going against my own teammate in the finals because we train together during practice,” she said.  “I played volleyball this year and I think the paddling and volleyball has helped me with wrestling.”

Nalu Souza gains advantage on Sage Aoki

For the boys it was a matchup between two BIIF champions when Kona’s Sage Aoki went against Kamehameha’s Nalu Souza in the 125 weight division.

Aoki, who is the defending league champion at 108 and Souza the champ at 120 were both bumped into the higher weight division.

“I weighed in at 120.4 on Friday, but I hope to wrestle at 120 and defend my title,” Souza said.

“I like going against Sage because he’s a state placer and I’m only going to get better by wrestling the best,” he said. 

Souza out pointed Aoki, 15 to 12, for the victory in what was a close match throughout the three 2-minute periods.

“I was concerned during the match when he (Aoki) shot into my legs as I’ve never let anyone shoot on me before,” Souza said.  “I need to stay on top and pressure him to move him out of his comfort zone.”

Souza pulled the match out when he used a ‘gramby roll’ and then moved into Aoki using a half-nelson.

“This tournament was pretty important for me to see where everyone is at,” Souza said.  “I plan to get back down to 120 and defend at that weight class during the season.”

Allin Franco

Kealakehe’s Allin Franco pulled out a close win over Keaau’s Jesse Huihui in the 140 division.

Franco led 6-4 after the first period, but Huihui was able to tie the score at 6 during the first 15 seconds of the second period, before Franco put the match away winning 10 to 6.

“Jesse is a really good and really fast wrestler and I knew that I needed to keep up with his intensity,” Franco said.

“I still need to work on my technique and strength and maintain my conditioning,” he said.  “I think the difference in this match came down to conditioning as we were both tired going into the third period.”

Franco believes that he can win the BIIF title this year and has set his sights on winning a state title.

At the 135 weight class it was Keaau’s Cheyden Quiocho going against Waiakea’s Keoni Rice in the championship bracket.

“He (Rice) was trying to get me into a head and arm move and I countered with a half which flipped him on his back and I went straight down for the pin,” Quiocho said of his third period victory.

“I still need to work on my moves and my conditioning as I’m not pleased with my second place finish at BIIF’s last year,” he said. 

Quiocho was the BIIF runner up at 125 last year and put on 10 pounds to be bumped up two weight classes.

“I feel comfortable at this weight and I’m still hungry and motivated to do well,” Quiocho said.

Kamehameha’s boys coach, Brendan Courtot believes that Kealakehe is the team to beat for the BIIF title since they have dominated the league during the past decade.

“We will be competitive in 10 of 13 weight classes this year as we have a very young team, but they are very aggressive,” Courtot said.

The Warriors return two BIIF champions in Nalu Souza and Justin Hirae.

December 16, 2010 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment