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Running with the Big Dog

Three BIIF Wrestlers Make Finals of HHSAA Wrestling State Championships

Aoki

Three Big Island Interscholastic Federation wrestlers had a shot at making history during Saturday’s Hawaii High School Athletic Federation state championships held at the Blaisdell Arena on Oahu.

Kamehameha’s Akoakoa Paleka-Kennedy the defending state heavyweight champion, Konawaena’s Sage Aoki, 120, and Keaau’s Cheyden Quiocho, 135, all took center stage to wrestle for a state championship.

In the final championship match of the day it was Paleka-Kennedy needing to get by Molokai’s Spencer Basa in order to repeat as state champion as the two largest boys, 285, in the championships took to the mat.

“This one is even sweeter than last year,” Paleka-Kennedy said of his second state crown.  “I had a huge target coming into this year’s championship as everyone was after me, so it means so much more to win.”

Paleka-Kennedy won the championship finale by a score of 5-2 earning his points on an escape, a takedown and on technical points when the referee called Basa for stalling.

“I had to work really hard as there was good competition,” Paleka-Kennedy said.  “All the hard work, putting in the long hours paid off today.”

Paleka-Kennedy ended his high school athletic career on top as he will shift his focus on other things.

The Warrior senior earned his way into the finals by winning four matches, three by pin and the other on points.

“I will concentrate on football and academics for the rest of the year as I prepare to attend Arizona Western of a football scholarship,” he said.

Aoki, a senior, looked at facing Maryknoll’s Brendan Chang to earn his first ever state championship.

“This was my last chance to win the state championship and I gave it everything I could,” Aoki said.  “My sister, Alexandra, finished two state championships as a runner up and I wanted to win it all.”

Aoki went the full three rounds in the finals to earn the victory by a 3 to 1 score.

“I got a take down in the first period using a single leg to earn two points then in the second period  got another point when the ref said there was a technical violation,” Aoki said.

Aoki needed to win three matches during the two day tournament to earn the right to face Chang in the finals.

“I wrestled some really good guys and won my matches by take downs using the tilt move,” Aoki said.

The Wildcat credited his judo experience as preparing him to be a better defensive wrestler.

“Judo gave me good defensive skills as I kept my distance when my opponents tried to shoot on me,” he said.  “I had seen him (Chang) wrestle and I knew I needed to stay away from being tied up.”

“This was a huge win for me,” Aoki said after the finals.  “I had finished fourth last year and I really wanted this one.”

Quiocho had the most pressure on his back as the senior Cougar was attempting to become the first state champion in the school’s history.

“I knew what was at stake and winning the state championship is a goal that I had set coming into the season,” Quiocho said.  “I wanted to be the first state champion in our schools history and I worked really hard this season to achieve it.”

Standing in the way of Quiocho’s dream was Mililani’s Chase Tantog as the pair squared off on the mat.

“I tried and gave it my all, so I can’t grumble,” Quiocho said of his second place medal.

The Cougar lost a close battle by a 5 to 2 score and it was his second loss of the season to Tantog.

“He used the same move on me that he did at Leilehua earlier in the season,” he said.  “I should have been better prepared when he came at me with using the broom stick move, but I wasn’t ready for it.”

Quiocho earned his way to the finals by winning three matches all in convincing fashion by scores of 16-2, 14-4 and 5-2.

“I wasn’t happy after the finals match but I don’t deserve what I don’t earn,” Quiocho said. 

The 2010 HHSAA state champion, Kamehameha’s Megan Aina, 103, lost one match and finished third overall.

“I ended up losing to this year’s state champion from Aiea by two points,” Aina said.  “In the third place match I won by a pin in the second round.”

Aina went for her classic chicken wing move in her attempt for the third place medal.

“The chicken wing worked for me the entire season, but when I went for it today it wasn’t there,” she said.  “So I had to roll her over and press her down to get the pin.”

Waiakea junior Pat Enos, 152, also claimed a third place medal by a 6-4 score in a  sweet victory over Kamehameha-Kapalama’s Andrew Kahalewai who had beat him last year in the HHSAA championships third place match.

“Last year he won by one point and I finished fourth,” Enos said.  “I’m pretty happy with the way things turned out because I got the early lead on a takedown and then put him on his back in the second period.”

Kamehameha’s Welina Tong, 175, was the biggest surprise as the first year wrestler lost only one match over the two days to claim a third place medal.

“My only goal was to win the BIIF title, so today was just something extra,” Tong said.  “I won four of my matches by pin using just basic, simple moves like the half.”

Other BIIF wrestlers to make it to day two of the HHSAA were:

Konawaena:  Justin Raymond 108, Aimee Shiraki 220

Hilo High:      Kaylan “Lahi” Kanakanui 140

Kamehameha:  Chantel Pohina 130, Jasmine Iuta 155,    Sky “Nalu” Kekona Souza 120

 Kealakehe:      Robin Arellano 114,  Allin Franco 140

  Waiakea:       Kara Nakayama  103, Tanalei Louis 125,  

    Kau:             Keani Mello-Waiwaiole 220

 HPA:              Troy Choi 215

Related link:  https://waynejoseph.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/17-biif-wrestlers-headed-to-day-2-in-hhsaa-state-championships/

March 4, 2012 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

17 BIIF wrestlers headed to day 2 in HHSAA state championships

The following 17 Big Island Interscholastic Federation Wrestlers will be on the mat today (3.3.12) in the finals and consolation brackets of the HHSAA state wrestling championships being held on Oahu

 

Konawaena:  Justin Raymond 108 lb

            Sage Aoki 120 lb

            Aimee Shiraki 220 lb

Hilo High:  Kaylan “Lahi” Kanakanui 140 lb

Kamehameha:  Megan Aina 103 lb, Chantel Pohina 130 lb, Jasmine Iuta 155 lb, Welina Tong 175 lb

      Sky “Nalu” Kekona Souza,       Akoakoa Paleka-Kennedy  285 

 Kealakehe:  Robin Arellano 114 lb,  Allin Franco 140 lb

  Keaau:      Cheyden Quiocho 135 lb

   Waiakea:    Kara Nakayama  103 lb, Tanalei Louis  125 lb, Pat Enos

    Kau:        Keani Mello-Waiwaiole 220 lb

    HPA:        Troy Choi 215 lb

March 3, 2012 Posted by | 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 Season about to take to the Mat – League Preview

Paleka-Kennedy

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

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