Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Kamehameha’s Megan Aina Wins State Wrestling Title

Megan Aina, top, won three of four matches at state by pin

   It’s been three long years since a Big Island Interscholastic Federation girl has won a state wrestling title, but that all came to an end this past Sunday as the smallest of eleven weight divisions came up big.

   Kamehameha’s Megan Aina, wrestling in the 98 pound lightweight division, worked her way through two days of competition to win the Hawaii High School Athletic Association individual crown at the Baisdell Arena in Honolulu.

   Aina, a two time BIIF Champion at 98 pounds, needed to get past Punahou’s Erin Uehara in the championship match to claim the first girls state wrestling championship for the BIIF since Kealakehe’s Renee Michell won it in 2007.

   Aina’s final match was a nail-biter as the Warrior sophomore managed to win by a 3-2 decision over Uehara.

   “I was shaken prior to the championship match as I was so nervous,” Aina said after winning the state title.

   Aina scored the first point of the championship match with an escape in the second period and scored two more later in that period with a takedown.

  “I used an arm drag and moved to a single leg snatch to get the takedown,” Aina said.  “I was up 3-0 going into the final round when Erin (Uehara) took me down to make the score tight.”

   Aina’s weight division included 16 girls from around the state and the versatile wrestler pinned all three of her opponents prior to going against Uehara.

   “My sister, Jenna, was very supportive during the tournament,” Aina said.  “I wanted to do well and not disappoint anyone.”

   For Aina to make it to the championship match she needed to get past St. Andrew’s Priory, Meghan Chun, a formidable opponent that beat Aina during last year’s state tournament.

   “Part of Megan’s desire to want to make weight and wrestle in the 98 class was to avenge the lost she had to the St. Andrew’s girl (Chun) that beat her last year,” Kamehameha coach Marlon Miller said.

Honokaa’s Jessica Muskat, 6th at state

Waiakea’s Tracy Poch had the second best finish for the BIIF girls, making it into the championship match at 155 and losing to Punahou’s Kaimana Lundquist by fall at 4:44.

   Konawaena’s freshman, Tanalei Louis made it into the semi finals in the 125 weigh class to win the bronze by defeating Kahuku’s Kristy Rabaino on a 7-1 decision.

   Other BIIF girls medaling at state were:

Konawaena’s Alexandra Aoki, 103, 4th, Danielle Hubbard, 108, 4th,

Kealakehe’s Joylnn Kahala-Minczer, 114, 4th, Jodi Ozaki, 120, 4th

Kamehameha’s Rustee-Ann Johansen, 130, 5th, Kaopua Sutton, 175, 4th and Jenna Aina, 114, 6th.

Honokaa’s Jessica Muskat, 175, 6th.   

   Punahou won the girls team title for the second year in a row narrowly edging out Kahuku by 2.5 points.  Kamehameha-Hawaii finished sixth and Kona eighth to claim high honors for BIIF teams.

Kona’s Sage and Alexandra Aoki both finished fourth at state

“This was the best finish by any Kamehameha-Hawaii team as we previously finished 11th once and 12th last year,” Coach Marlon Miller said.  “I’m very proud of all our girls as they worked hard and served as good training partners for each other.”

   “I’m happy with our finish, but there were still five schools ahead of us and with the talent we have coming back next year we will focused on trying to win it all,” Miller said.  “Our girls are a really tight unit and with mainly freshmen and sophomores the Big Island should be worried about us next year.”

   In the boys division it was Kona’s Jimmy Romualdo in the 135 weight class that made it into the championship match.  Romualdo took the runner up spot when he defaulted his match to Kamehameha-Oahu’s Jacob Luning-Hoshino.

  Honokaa’s three time BIIF champion, Geo Chavez-Pardini, 160, lost his opening match during day one trials, but worked his way through the consolation bracket to win a 5th place medal.

  Other BIIF boys winning medals were:

Hawaii Prep’s Keoni Colson, 152, 6th.

Kamehameha’s Nalu Souza, 120, 4th.

Kona’s Sage Aoki, 108, 4th.

Honokaa’s Chris Reed, 285, 4th.

   Punahou easily won the boys team crown for the fourth year in a row with 240 points with second place Kamehameha-Oahu scoring 186.5.  The top BIIF team was Kona who finished in 15th place.

   Forty-two schools, representing five leagues, participated in the two day tournament which needed to be postponed on Saturday due to the Tsunami Alert.

March 1, 2010 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

Aoki Slips by Aina, 8-7, in BIIF Wrestling

Kamehameha's Nalu Souza, bottom, will win by pin, photo by CSUAINAJR

Good things often come in small packages and when it comes to prep wrestling the 103 pound weight division may see a battle between giants.

   This past Saturday Kealakehe played host to an all-schools wrestling meet which saw some of the premiere grapplers in the state going head to head.

   Kamehameha’s Megan Aina weighed in at 99 pounds while three times BIIF champion Konawaena’s Alexandra Aoki dropped one weight class to feature two of the best wrestlers at 103.

   Aina, who believes in the theory that to be the best she must compete against the best, moved up a weight class earlier in the season to challenge Aoki and lost by pin in the second round.

   This past Saturday Aina was determined to turn things around on Aoki and became the aggressor early on as she tried to keep the more experienced wrestler off balance.

   “Megan led going into the third period by a score of 7-4,” Kamehameha coach Marlon Miller said.  “But instead of wrestling to win she got conservative and wrestled not to lose.”

   Aoki overpowered Aina during the final two minute period to squeak by with an 8-7 victory. 

   “In that match Alex (Aoki) showed everyone why she is a three time BIIF champion, going on her fourth BIIF title,” Miller said.  “I am looking forward to them meeting again at Kamehameha’s Tournament on Jan. 30 and also in the BIIF Championships.”

Jenna Aina goes for the pin

While Aina dropped her close match her older sister, Jenna Aina, was able to avenge her only loss in BIIF competition by beating Wildcat Daniele Hubbard in a nail biting overtime score 9-7.

   Jenna Aina’s victories at the 114 weight class led to her capturing first in that division and provided the Warrior girls with another impressive meet.

   Warrior teammates Rustee-Ann Johansen, junior at 140, Kanoe Padaken, sophomore at 108, Kaopua Sutton, senior at 175, and Jasmine Iuta, freshmen at 220, all had perfect records on the day.

   Especially impressive for the Kamehameha girls was Jasmine Iuta who weighs under 175, but was bumped to the higher weight division by her coach.

   “One thing Jaz has going for her is that her practice partner, Kao Sutton, beats her up in practice every day,” Coach Miller said.  “I tell my wrestlers at the beginning of the season that their mission is to make it hard for their partner.  Their goal is to make them the hardest wrestler their partner will see all season.”

   Iuta went on to pin both her opponents in the heavyweight division which now makes her the person to beat in that weight class.

   “I pinned the girls from Kau and HPA in the second round,” Iuta said.  “During the match with the Kau girl I used a lot of head snapping.  I couldn’t shoot on her, so I used more momentum and less muscular force to try and counter her moves.”

   “Against the HPA girl I felt that that we were around the same experience level so I used some moves that my dad taught me,” Iuta said.  “The move that I felt the most comfortable with was the head and arm and to pin her I used a head chancer.”

   Honokaa had a good showing with two girls taking second place finishes in Heather Sugimoto, 125, and Jessica Muskatt, 175, both going 2-1.

   For Dragon boys it was Geo Chavez-Pardini, 160, and Kalai Niau, 189, winning all three of their matches resulting in first place finishes.  Teammate Preston Cawagas, 171, also had a good day going 2-1 and finishing second in a tough weight division.

   Chavez-Pardini and Niau both won their first won matches by pin with Chavez-Pardini taking a superior decision in his final match while Niau came away with a close decision in his final match.

   “I was able to win my first two matches with first round pins using the head and arm technique,” Niau said. “My third match was against Ryan Pilanca of Kealakehe and I beat him on points, 13-11.”

   During his third match Niau was up by 10 points and nearly had his opponent pinned on two occasions, but needed to hang on in the final round to escape with a narrow victory.

   Niau weighed in on Saturday at 171.8 pounds and was required to wrestle at the heavier 189 class, but the senior believes that he will compete at the 171 class by the time the BIIF championships roll around.

   “I probably can win BIIF’s this year at 171,” Niau said. 

Nalu Souza

Two Kamehameha boys also had unblemished marks at Kealakehe.  Justin Hirae, junior at 114, Nalu Souza, sophomore at 120, established themselves as contenders in their weight divisions.

   The host Waveriders had several good performances as well with defending BIIF champion Jodi Ozaki winning both her matches at 120 along teammates Justin Tanaka, 2-0 at 135, and Dillon Cortes, 3-0 at 130.

   Cortes continues to be undefeated in BIIF competition and needed to get past a trio of tough competitors to keep his mark in tact.

   “During my first match I tried to work the half-nelson and then went to set up the high crotch shot,” Cortes said of his first round pin.

    The second match against Waiakea’s Ryan Tampon was to be the real testing ground for Cortes as both wrestlers lead the 130 class, but Tampon was forced to forfeit the match due to an unscheduled bathroom break.

   In his third and final match of the day Cortes faced Keaau’s Jesse Huihui who is a gifted all around athlete.

     “I had a hard time getting shots because Jesse is really good at tie ups,” Cortes said.  “He’s really hard to pin and tough to get on his back.”

    With a few seconds left in the third and final period, and up by a 4-0 score, Cortes managed to flip Huihui on his back for the pin.

  ‘Rider teammate Justin Tanaka took on two different Hilo opponents while working hard on his wrestling skills.

   “I was trying to have fun on Saturday and work on my technique,” Tanaka said.  “I train hard and work hard and I always try to get the first take down.”

   In his first match Tanaka won during the first round with a 15-0 score and his second match went the full three rounds to win on points 15-3.

    Tanaka used a variety of wrestling moves from the half-nelson, to chicken wing and leg rides as he practiced the various moves associated with prep grappling.

January 20, 2010 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment