Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

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.

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.


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.


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

BIIF Wrestling Season about to take to the Mat – League Preview


To be large, strong and fast are key components in being the best there is on the mat. The Big Island Interscholastic Federation wrestling season is about to unfold and with it comes the best of them all in the heavyweight division.

Kamehameha’s Akoakoa Paleka-Kennedy stands 6’ 2”, weighs 285 pounds and during last season produced an unblemished record.

Paleka-Kennedy ended the 2010 season with a perfect 15-0 record on the mat and comes into this season as the heavy favorite to defend his BIIF and State crowns.

“I’m kinda excited for this upcoming wrestling season,” Paleka-Kennedy said.  “I will give it my all and don’t hold back.”

The state champion stayed in shape during the off season by heading to the Kamehameha campus every morning to work out with his weight lifting conditioning coach, Kimo Weaver.

“I worked out every morning, Monday through Friday, from 6 to 7 am with Coach Weaver,” Paleka-Kennedy said.  “I’m hoping to repeat as the BIIF and State Champion because I’ve improved my mental preparation and in the execution phase of wrestling.”

As the high school wrestling season is gearing up to take to the mat Kamehameha has bragging rights to the Big Islands only two returning state champions in both the smallest and largest weight divisions.

Aina with Coach Miller

They say that good things come in small packages and nothing could be more accurate when talking about the Warrior’s Megan Aina who measures in at 5 feet even and weighs 98 pounds.

The petite Warrior is a bundle of dynamite when it comes to taking on all challengers on the mat. The senior comes in as the three time BIIF champion and was the Hawaii High School Athletic Association state champion during the 2010.

During her sophomore year Aina became the first BIIF girl to win a state individual championship in three years as a competitor in the smallest weight division.

Aina is not new to the state mat as she has slowly progress from a sixth place medal her freshman season to winning the state championship as a sophomore and finished fifth place as a junior last year.

Now in her senior year Aina hopes to return to repeat as BIIF champion and make it back to center stage at the state championships.

“I’d like to win my fourth BIIF title,” Aina said.  “I’m not sure if I’m going to stay at 98 or move up to 105 and will make up my mind during the season.”

The Kamehameha girls return as the BIIF team champions which has veteran coach Marlon Miller smiling.

“We have a slew of seniors and juniors this year and as coaches we are very proud of all the accomplishments that our girls have shown on and off the mat,” Miller said.

Behind Kamehameha’s wrestling dynasty is an even further bright future.  Besides Aina the Warriors bring to the mat the experience of Alexia Osburn and Kawehi Lopez.

“The class of 2015 has given our wrestling girls a tremendous boost in numbers and as coaches we hope that they will stay together and carry the future of the program with them,” Miller said.

Miller believes that the upcoming BIIF season will be extremely competitive for his girls as other schools have stepped up in their pre season conditioning.

“I believe this season will be one of the strongest for the girls as I’ve noticed how diligent all the schools were in their off season training,” he said.  “In keeping in touch over the summer with Kealakehe’s Head Coach Mike Ciotti, I know that the West Side is ready.”

Kamehameha has already set personal goals for each of their wrestlers, according to Miller. 

“The coaching staff wants to get our young athletes to believe that they can wrestle beyond high school,” Miller said.  “Our only two seniors last year find themselves still wrestling.  Rustee Johansen wrestles for Pacific University in Oregon and Justin Hirae attends Iowa State and is trying for a spot on the Cyclones.”

Kamehameha boys coach Brendan Courtot has 17 boys on the roster with six returning seniors.

“We have two champions in Nalu Souza at 120 and AkoakoaPaleka-Kennedy at 285,” Courtot said.  “We have one BIIF runner-up in CJ Matuyama at 171 and three third place finishers, Kamalu Wright, 114, Charlie Aina, 130, and Kema Chin, 251.”

The Warrior boy’s team goals are to improve their showing at the state finals in which they placed sixth last season, according to Courtot.

“Our most improved wrestler last season was freshman Kalae Trask-Sharp as the kid worked hard, learned from his mistakes and improved all year long,” Courtot said.

Waiakea boys are the defending boy’s team champions and Coach Stanley Haraguchi has a lot of work ahead as the public school Warriors are caught in a rebuilding season.

“We lost a lot of boys to graduation,” Haraguchi said.  “We are what we are as this sport comes with a lot of work and the kids will get out of it what they put into it.”

One of the bright spots for Waiakea comes with returning BIIF champion Pat Enos.

Waiakea girls return two time BIIF champion Tracy Poch at 155 as Coach Preston Sato tries to build the numbers of Warrior participants.

Kau returns defending BIIF champion Kiani Mello-Waiawaiole in the 220 division with Coach Greg Rush having high hopes for the Trojan program.

“We’ve got four girls and three boys,” Rush said.  “Our key returnee is Kiani and her goal is the State Championship.  We also have two of her younger sisters at 175 and 130.”

Rush is assisted by his wife Hettie along with Dylan Rush as a volunteer coach.

“We guarantee big improvement among the wrestlers and a tougher attitude on the mat,” he said.

Coach Dan Whetstone at Honokaa is not as fortunate as some of the other schools since they return no BIIF champions and bring to the mat a lot of new faces.

“I really can’t predict yet who will be our best wrestlers this year,” Whetstone said.  “Maybe after a couple of preseason events I will have a better idea.”

At Hawaii Preparatory Academy Coach Gary Jarvill has high hopes for his two seniors, Shannon Samura at 140 and Troy Choi at 215.

“We have 20 boys and 15 girls this season with no BIIF champions,” Jarvill said.

Hilo’s coach Alex Kalawe has 25 wrestlers on the matt this season, with over half being first time wrestlers.

“We have three returning BIIF runner-ups in Jacob Murphy a senior who will wrestle at 140 this year,” Kalawe said.  “On the girls side our runner-ups are Sha Pagan, a sophomore at 108 and Lahi Kanakanui, another sophomore, at 140.”

Kalawe considers this a rebuilding season for the Vikings as many of his wrestlers are still in the learning stages of the sport.

Pahoa coach Elvis Lum has 30 plus athletes coming out for wrestling this season which has the Dagger coach all smiles.

“Everything is up in the air right now as we are trying to figure out what we have,” Lum said. “Our most experienced wrestler and team captain is Jake Torres, a senior, who will either wrestle at the 145 or 152 class.”

Keaau is loaded with numbers as 50 boys and 10 girls have come out for the sport, according to head coach Charles Manning.

“We are really young,” Manning said.  “Our BIIF returning champion is Cheyden Quiocho at 135.”

The Cougars are also coached by Elton Lum, who is the brother of Pahoa coach Elvis Lum.

Kealakehe coach Michael Ciotti is optimistic about his chances of competing for the boys and girls team crowns.

“We have 30 boys and 10 girls and they are all tough,” Ciotti said.  “We worked hard during the off season and are prepared.”

The Waveriders return boys BIIF champion Robin Arllano at 114 along with girls league champion Destiny Maters also at 114. 

As the BIIF wrestling season begins to unfold one of the key areas on the mat is getting qualified officials.

“One of the things that are always needed is trained officials to man our tables,” BIIF Wrestling Official Elton Suganuma said.

“Without good scorekeepers and timekeepers our matches are so much more difficult to manage.  When you have to worry if your tables are getting the calls right as a referee, your focus is divided and that is never a good thing.  We need interested people who are not affiliated with current teams to train to man our tables,” Suganuma said.  “After all don’t our kids deserve the best we can give them?”

Several preseason tournaments are underway with most of the BIIF schools planning to participate at Kealakehe this weekend.

“We are looking forward to hosting the first all schools meet of the season,” Coach Ciotti said.  “This first meet is an opportunity to see how we look and how everything is about to unfold.”

December 9, 2011 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Keaau Boys & HPA Girls making moves on the Mat

Keaau’s Treyven Ah Quin-Fely positioning for the pin against Kona’s Keanu Malina-Serion in the 215 weight division

KEAAU – Sometimes moving up a weight class can pay high dividends as it did when Keaau’s Treyven Ah Quin-Fely was called upon to wrestle in the heavyweight, 215 pound class.

Ah Quin-Fely was asked by his coach, Charles Manning, to move up from his normal 189 division in order to compete with the big boys.

“I weighed in at 183.6, but my coach asked me to wrestle in the next higher weight division,” Ah Quin-Fely said.

During first round action of Big Island Interscholastic Federation wrestling matches held at Cougar Gymnasium on Saturday Ah Quin-Fely took on Konawaena’s Keanu Malina-Serion in a clash of heavyweights.

Ah Quin-Fely wasted little time in the match getting a first round take down by shooting low and grabbing Malina-Serion’s upper thigh for a takedown.

“I got him on a high crotch move and used my strength to hold him down for the pin,” he said.

The Cougar, who has 8 wins and 2 losses on the season is in his second year of wrestling and list amongst other things his likeness for full contact sports as an attraction that brings him on the mat.

“I think my success has come because of my never give up attitude and my willingness to always learn something new,” he said.

Ah Quin-Fely’s size and strength played an important role in his victory on Saturday, and his desire to continue to improve showed on the mat.

“I like the idea that we go into full combat on the mat, but once we step off we become instant friends,” he said.  “I’ve made so many friends during the season.”

Jove Asagra

Cougar teammate, Jove Asagra, was also on the mat, but without the success of some of his teammates.

The sophomore in his first year of wrestling admitted he still has a lot to learn in order to be on top.

“I still need to work my way up from the bottom,” Asagra said.  “I have to work on escaping once I’ve been taken down which means I need to work harder.”

In his opening match Asagra was pinned in the 114 weight class by Kona’s Warren Buena Vista, but the Cougar put on a valiant effort in his attempt to get out of the Wildcat grasp.

“I was trying to face up and bridge, but his hold only made it tighter,” Asagra said of his loss.  “I know that I have to work harder.”

Jesse Huihui

Another Cougar, Jesse Huihui, wrestling at 140 pinned his opponent, Kona’s Fidel Meza, during the second period by using a combination of moves.

“I used the high crotch to get him on the mat, then got him in a half nelson to flip him over for the pin,” Huihui said. 

The junior noted his desire to improve on his conditioning in order to last the entire three rounds during a close match.

“My conditioning could be better,” he said.  “Everything in wrestling comes down to conditioning and if I want to be a BIIF champion I know that is the key.”

For the girls it was a pair of Hawaii Prep cross country harriers making a name for themselves on the mat.

Sam Neal

Seniors Sam Neal and Kela Vargas are experienced runners who helped HPA to a BIIF title and a second place finish at the state championships, but both come to the mat lacking wrestling technique.

“Sam has been our most successful wrestler this season,” HPA coach Gary Jarvill said.  “We have 11 girls on the roster, but only two of them are returnees.”

Despite her lack of experience Neal has only two losses on the season and both to the same girl, Kamehameha’s Megan Aina.

In her first match of the day Neal was again facing Aina in the 103 weight class and both girls were tied after the first round 3-3.

“I think I need to learn more skills and techniques,” Neal said after being pinned by Aina in the second round.

Neal has tried a variety of sports, including boxing, and adds an aggressive style of wrestling to her repertoire.

“I can be aggressive, but at times I don’t know what to do with it,” Neal said.  “I think I need to work on things in advance in order to be better prepared.”

Kela Vargas

Ka  Makani teammate Kela Vargas was also on the mat late in the day at 98 pounds and taking on the same opponent in defending BIIF and state champion, Megan Aina of Kamehameha with the same result as Neal.

“I’ve lost to Megan two times now as she’s good,” Vargas said.  “I like wrestling the best as I know that it will only make me better.”

Vargas credits her years of running cross country as a benefit in wrestling.

“I have strong legs and I know I can use that to my advantage during drives and take downs,” she said. 

The road to success for any girl wrestling in the lightweight division this season is through Megan Aina as the tough and seasoned Warrior has challenged all comers and has come out on top.

The BIIF season comes to a conclusion on Saturday when Konawaena plays host to the island championships.

January 31, 2011 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment