Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

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

Two BIIF Wrestlers Going for Perfection

Honokaa's Geo Chavez-Pardini - undefeated in 3 yrs. of BIIF competition

   It is said that “The most difficult part of attaining perfection is finding something to do for an encore.”  And for Konawaena’s Alexandra Aoki and Honokaa’s Geo Chavez-Pardini that encore may come this Saturday at the Big Island Interscholastic Federation Wrestling Championships

   Aoki, a senior, will see her BIIF wrestling career come to a close and with it a perfect league record during the past three years of wrestling competition.

   Aoki goes into this Saturday’s BIIF championship at Keaau as the three time defending champion in the 103 pound weight class, a division she has dominated by never losing a match since dropping a pair during her freshman year.

   “She (Aoki) is very coachable, respectful, a hard worker and a pleasure to be around,” Kona coach Wally Nakashima said.

    Aoki made it into the final round of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association state wrestling championships last year before dropping a close match to take the runner-up position.  This year Aoki is determined to turn things around and bring home a state title.

   “It’s not really about me winning all my matches in the BIIF,” Aoki said.  “It’s more important that I have quality opponents to wrestle against during the season.”

Mindy Lorance (left) and Megan Aina

Aina singled out Kealakehe’s Mindy Lorance and Kamehameha’s Megan Aina as the toughest competition that she had this season.

   Eight years of judo and a brown belt has helped Aoki throughout her wrestling career.

   “Judo and wrestling are very different in moves, but judo has helped teach me the discipline necessary in any sport,” she said.

   Honokaa’s Geo Chavez-Pardini will be concluding his junior season in BIIF competition at the 160 class.

   Chavez-Pardini won the 140 weight class as a freshman, the 152 class as a sophomore, and if everything goes as planned will emerge as the BIIF champion at 160.

   During his three years of league matches Chavez-Pardini has the distinction of winning every single match, most of which came by pin.

   “I’ve gone this far without a loss that it would be disappointing to lose at the BIIF championships,” Chavez-Pardini said.  “I’ve worked hard to get where I am and I’m not going to let anything spoil that.”

  During the season Chavez-Pardini has faced a variety of Big Island opponents and credits Hawaii Prep’s Keoni Colson as giving him the best competition.

   “I wish I could wrestle Keoni (Colson) more often as it benefits me to compete against the best,” Chavez-Pardini said.  “Keoni wrestles at 152, so I have a weight advantage, but he is a very good wrestler.”

   Aoki and Chavez-Pardini are also talented in the classroom as both have accumulated GPA’s of 3.8 and have made the honor roll for their respective schools numerous times.

   On Saturday wrestlers representing 11 BIIF schools will be competing in 25 weight divisions that will produce individual championship crowns for 14 boys and 11 girls.

   Kealakehe comes into Keaau as the defending boys and girls team champions and this season will face an uphill battle in their attempt to repeat.

   A complex system of points will be awarded during every match depending on how the match is won; pin, tech or major decision and another set of points will be given for first through fourth place finishes in each weight class.  The school with the most total number of points accumulated will determine the boys and girls team titles.

   “This weeks BIIF championships should be one of the better tournaments in recent years,” Kamehameha coach Marlon Miller said.  “No one school is the clear favorite (for the team title) and although both Kealakehe and Honokaa are probably the odds on favorites every school this year has a talent pool of wrestlers that should produce some upsets in the rank and file.”

  With Honokaa and Kealakehe being the front runners for the boys team crown Miller believes that Konawaena, Hawaii Prep and Kamehameha could play the role of spoiler.

  Honokaa coach Dan Whetstone believes that the boys from HPA, Honokaa and Kealakehe have the talent to produce two to three BIIF champions and all three should be considered the top contenders for the team title.

  Most coaches see Kamehameha as having the inside track to win the girls team title as the private school Warriors have wrestlers in all 11 weight classes.

   “After Kamehameha I think we (Honokaa) have the next largest squad with eight girls with Kealakehe and Kona both having several outstanding wrestlers and may have enough girls to pull off an upset,” Whetstone said.

   Hawaii Prep’s coach, Gary Jarvill, believes the Kamehameha girls have the best chance at winning the team title while the boy’s title is up for grabs.

   “The boy’s championship will be much closer with Kealakehe having the biggest team and returning BIIF champions from last year,” Jarvill said.  “Every team has at least one or two BIIF number one seeded wrestlers so it will be really close. Kealakehe has 12 of the 14 weight classes covered so it will be hard to displace them this weekend at BIIFs.” 

   The favorites to win individual BIIF titles for the boys are:                                      

Honokaa:  Geo Chavez-Pardini, 160, and Kalai Nihau, 171.

Kona:  Sage Aoki, 108, Jimmy Romualdo and Kawika Scott, 189.

Kamehameha:  Justin Hirae, 114, and Nalu Souza, 120.

Kealakehe:  Dillon Cortes, 130, and Jordan Hao, 285.

HPA:  Bronson Kobayashi, 145, Keoni Colson, 152, and Onipaa Stevens, 215.

Keaau:  Cheyden Quiocho, 125.

Waiakea:  Tyler Yonemori, 140.

   Favorites for the girls are:

Kamehameha:  Megan Aina, 98, Jenna Aina, 114, Rustee-Ann Johansen, 130, Pomai Pohina, 140, and Kaopua Sutton, 175.

Kona:  Alexandra Aoki, 103, Danielle Hubbard, 108, and Tanalei Louis, 125.

Kealakehe:  Jodi Ozaki, 120.

Waiakea:  Tracy Poch, 155.

Kau:  Kiana Mello, 220.

February 11, 2010 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Big Dog’s Revised BIIF Wrestling Top Seeds

Kamehameha's Megan Aina is the top seed at the 98 weight class

BIG DOG’S REVISED BIIF WRESTLING RANKINGS:

BOYS:

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

120 – Nalu Souza, Kamehameha           125 – Cheyden Quiocho, Keaau

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

140 – Tyler Yonemori, Waiakea              145 – Bronson Kobayashi, HPA

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

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

215 – Onipaa Stevens, HPA                      285 – Jordan Hao, Kealakehe

GIRLS:

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

108 – Danielle Hubbard, Kona                  114 – Jenna Aina, Kamehameha

120 – Jodi Ozaki, Kealakehe                       125 – Tanalei Louis, Kona

130 – Rustee-Ann Johansen, Kamehameha

140 – Pomai Pohina, Kamehameha          155 – Tracy Poch, Waiakea

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

Note:  Coaches and wrestling fans are invited to give their own comments on who might be listed.

February 8, 2010 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Big Dog’s Top Picks in BIIF Wrestling

Mindy Lorance, left, takes on BIIF defending champ, Megan Aina, photo's by CSUAINA

GIRLS:

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

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

120 – Jodi Ozaki, Kealakehe                       125 – Jenna Aina, Kamehameha

140 – Pomai Pohina, Kamehameha          155 – Tracy Poch, Waiakea

175 – Kaopua Sutton, Kamehameha

Kamehameha's La'i Matsuyama going for a take down of Honokaa opponent

BOYS:

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

120 – Nalu Souza, Kamehameha           130 – Cheyden Quiocho, Keaau

140 – Tyler Yonemori, Waiakea              145 – Bronson Kobayashi, HPA

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

171 – Kalai Nihau, Honokaa                     215 – Tim Ekert, Kealakehe

Jasmine Iuta

Note:  Certain weight classes were not listed at this time because the Big Dog has yet to figure out who is the top wrestler for those brackets.

Coaches and wrestling fans are invited to give their own comments on who might be listed.

February 3, 2010 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

HPA & Honokaa Excel in BIIF Wrestling

Geo Chavez-Pardini undefeated in 4 years of BIIF wrestling

   KEAAU – This past Saturday was a day filled with spills and thrills as grapplers from various Eastside schools took on the Westside in Big Island Interscholastic Federation wrestling.

   Kamehameha played host to the third and final all-schools meet prior to the BIIF wrestling championships, at Keaau on Feb 13, and wanted to use a four mat system, maximizing the number of matches each athlete was afforded.

   But as fate would have it one of the wrestling officials was not able to make the meet and only three mats were used.

   For the first time this season at BIIF all-schools meet coaches assembled their athletes in a “dual meet format” in order to provide the best competition available.

   “We wanted to guarantee that kids would be exposed to a variety of competition and the dual format helped to achieve that goal,” Kamehameha coach Marlon Miller said.  “In some past meets I’ve had my own kids wrestling each other and that is a waste of travel funds.”

   With the dual meet format in place wrestlers from the Eastside were pitted against competition from the Westside.

   “We only have a total of six meets prior to the BIIF championships and half of those are all school meets and the other half are divisional meets,” Miller said.

   In first round action Hawaii Preparatory Academy was pitted against Waiakea which featured some great performance by both schools.

Bronson Kobayashi

In the 140 weight class Waiakea’s Tyler Yonemori continued his winning ways by pinning his opponent.  Yonemori, which has wrestled at both the 140 and 145 classes, is a formidable opponent that has HPA senior Bronson Kobayashi at 145 hoping for a rematch.

   “I wrestled Tyler twice this season,” Kobayashi said.  “The first time I beat him 8-6, and in our second meeting he beat me 4-2.”

    Both Yonemori and Kobayashi’s only loss this season has been between each other and the question looms on who would win in the BIIF finals.

    In Saturday’s match Kobayashi went against Waiakea’s Kawika Nihoa which saw a defensive battle throughout the three periods. 

   Kobayashi began with several head taps and attempted to get the first take down without any success.

    “I didn’t know what to expect against the Waiakea guy,” Kobayashi said.  “I tried to take his focus off the match with the head taps.  I think the Waiakea coaches are really good and this was a tough match for me.”

    Kobayashi scored the first three points of the match with four seconds remaining in the second period with a near fall, and then had to hang on the rest of the way to escape with a narrow 3-2 win over Nihoa.

Keoni Colson

Ka Makani teammate Keoni Colson went against Warrior Henry Kiman in the 152 class.  Colson scored in rapid succession building a 5-0 lead during the first period and winning by a technical 17-2 score with 43 seconds left in the second period.

   “I always go all out during my matches, no matter who I’m wrestling,” Colson said after the match.  “I got most of my points by turning him by fighting for the inside position.”

   Colson’s, last year’s BIIF champion at 145, victory left him undefeated in BIIF completion this season.

    Also undefeated is HPA’s Grayson Braham at 160.  In Braham first match of the day the senior went against Waiakea’s Jordan Maglinti and scored the first two points of the match in the first five seconds to take the lead 2-0.

   Braham, who is an outstanding wrestler, wasted little time placing Maglinti into a half-nelson and cradled him over into the pin position.

   “I used a cross-face cradle and then I pinned him with a Turk ride,” Braham said after his match with Maglinti.  “I like wrestling because it’s one on one, face to face, and it comes down to what you do.”

   Braham is not the only wrestler in the BIIF that is undefeated at 160 pounds.  Honokaa’s Geo Chavez-Pardini has spent his entire four seasons in league competition without a loss and on Saturday he displayed his wrestling skills.

   Chavez-Pardini went against Hilo’s Cullen Mento and took the Viking down with a quick move. 

    “I used a half nelson and then sucked his arms in and rolled him over,” Chavez-Pardini said of his 35 second pin against Mento.  “I like having all the pressure placed on me on whether I win or lose.  I can’t blame anyone else; it’s all up to me.”

   The stage is now set for a match between Honokaa’s Chavez-Pardini and HPA’s Braham which will come within the next two weeks as the BIIF season winds down.

   “I’m hoping to get a match with Geo next week,” Braham said.  “I’m excited and a little nervous to be facing him.”

   The Dragons also have Kalai Nihau, 171, which is undefeated in the BIIF this season.  In first round action Saturday Nihau went against Keaau’s Treyven AhQuin-Fely and pinned the Cougar with 58 seconds left in the first period.

   “I actually bumped up to 189 to wrestle the Keaau kid,” Nihau said.  “There wasn’t anyone to wrestle in my weight class and I wanted to get a match in.”

   Nihau credits much of his success this season to Chavez-Pardini as the two will work out together during practice sessions.

   “I’m working really hear this year as it’s my senior season,” Nihau said.  “Geo has helped me a lot as I’ve been practicing with the best wrestler on the island.”

   Dragon teammate, Jessica  Muscat, at 175 has only lost one match during the season and looked good while facing her competition on Saturday.

   In Muscat’s first match of the day the Dragon bumped up into the heavy weight bracket and placed her opponent in a half-nelson then rolled her over and onto her back to win in the second period by pin.

   “This is my first year of wrestling as I’ve always played volleyball,” Muscat said.  “The coach had been asking me to try wrestling and this year I decided to give it a try.”

Austin Dugan

The match of the day may have been between Pahoa’s Austin Dugan and Laupahoehoe’s Lucky Baun in the 114 weigh class.

   Baun, the more experienced wrestler, went for the quick take down early in the first round and found himself ahead 5-0 in the first 52 seconds of the match.

   But Dugan, just a freshman, rebounded late in the period scoring points on a takedown and an escape while avoiding a near pin.

   Trailing by a score of 7-6 in the second round Dugan rallied to tie the match at 13 going into the final round.  In the third period Dugan took the lead 18-16 and with 46 seconds left in the match scored an upset victory over Baun with a pin.

   “My conditioning is a lot better than his,” Dugan said after his win against Baun.  “I weighed in today at 107, but there was no one to wrestle in the 108 class, so I bumped up to 114.”

   Dugan’s victory came as a surprise as Baun is considered by many to be in the top three of the 114 weight class.  But Dugan’s never give up attitude is a tribute to his hard work and determination.

   “I knew I needed to bridge early to escape being pinned,” Dugan said.  “I told myself I could win the match if I could get out of his hold.”

   The BIIF regular season concludes on Saturday with an Eastside match at Pahoa and a Westside match at HPA.

February 2, 2010 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment