Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

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

Warriors Sweep BIIF Wrestling Team Titles

Megan Aina wins third BIIF crown

KEALAKEKUA – It was all Warriors during the Big Island Interscholastic Federation wrestling championships on Saturday.

The Kamehameha girls and Waiakea boys took team titles in a Warrior sweep and left little doubt as to who has the best spread of wrestlers on the island.

Heavily favored Kamehameha lived up to their top billing by winning the girls team title during the Big Island Interscholastic Federation wrestling championships, at the Colonel Ellison Onizuka Gymnasium on the campus of Konawaena High School, on Saturday.

Warrior girls took command in the early going, making the finals in seven of the eleven weight classes to claim their second consecutive girl’s team, and third title, in the last four years under Coach Marlon Miller.

“We only brought nine girls and one of them, Kanoe Padaken, dislocated her shoulder during her match or else we would have had eight girls in the finals,” Miller said.

Making it into the finals for Kamehameha were Megan Aina (98), Kawehi Lopez (120), Noelle Pohina (125), Rustee-Ann Johansen (130), Alexia Osburn (140), Chantel Pohina (155) and Jasmine Iuta (175).

The Warriors would go on to win four of the seven finals matches with Aina, Lopez, Johansen and Osburn capturing BIIF titles to clinch the team championships.

“I’m pleased with our second consecutive title, but it’s not going to be as sweet as our third” Miller said.  “We started out strong as a team and never lost sight of our goals.”

Miller gave a pre-game talk to his team, telling them that there would only be a Feb. 5, 2011 once in their life, so how do you want to remember it?

Aina, the two time BIIF defending champion and reigning state champion, had little trouble taking her third title as she appears primed to make another run at the state championship.

Facing Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s Kela Vargas, the Warrior took an aggressive posture taking Vargas down and staying on top of her during the first period.

During the second period Aina used an arm bar to roll her opponent for the pin.

“I listened to my coaches and just did what they told me to do,” Aina said after the match.  “I grabbed her wrist during the roll and it paid off.”

It was Aina’s third consecutive BIIF title and now she shifts her focus on trying to repeat as state champion.

Home crowd favorite, sophomore Tanalei Louis, won her second BIIF title by pinning Kamehameha’s Noelle Pohina in the first round to go undefeated in island competition.

A confident Tanalei Louis

“I believe in myself and my ability,” a confident Louis said.  “My dad and family give me the confidence that I need and it helped that I played Pop Warner football growing up.”

Louis finished third in the state last year as a freshmen and believes she can win it all next week in Honolulu.

The boy’s team title was up for grabs going into the final few matches with Kona, Hilo and Waiakea all in contention for the team title.

“With just two matches to go just a half point separates Hilo and Waiakea from winning the boy’s team championship,” Kona statistician Wally Nakashima said.

Waiakea pulled out the narrow margin of victory and Warrior coach Stan Haraguchi was very stoic in his first team title.

“It’s been a while since we’ve won a team title,” Haraguchi said.  “We just wanted the kids to do their best and a lot of the credit goes to the coaches and the families that did a good job raising them.”

Haraguchi believed that the Warrior success was due to the team’s ability to peak at the right time.

“They stepped it up at the right time,” he said.  “But the season isn’t over as we still have one more week to go.”

One of the leaders for the Waiakea boys was defending BIIF champion Tyler Yonemori who retain his individual title at 140 by beating Kealakehe’s Allin Franco.

“I just wanted to come out and do my best,” Yonemori said.  “The entire team worked very hard this entire season and we’re proud to have won the team title.”

For the Kamehameha boys it was Justin Hirae wrestling in the 125 weight division against Hilo’s Brendan Branco.

“I got bumped up in weight and now weigh 124 pounds,” Hirae said.  “I’ve been doing a lot of weight training and I wanted to move into a weight division that I felt comfortable at.”

In the process, Hirae won his fourth BIIF individual championship, each coming in different weight divisions.

 “During my freshman year I won at 103, then moved up each year to 108, 114 and this year at 125,” Hirae said.  “What I’ve accomplished in winning my fourth title anyone can do with a lot of hard work.”

Honokaa’s Geo Chavez-Pardini was able to wrestle most of the season due to a partially torn ACL, but went for his fourth BIIF title on Saturday in the 189 weight class.

“I weighed in at 162, but my coach wanted me to wrestle at 189,” Chavez-Pardini said. 

During the finals the Dragon went against Kona’s John Postrano and used his speed to out maneuver his heavier opponent.

“I was super nervous going into the match because he outweighed me,” Chavez-Pardini said. “I used my speed and could take him down easy.  When he tried to escape I caught his arm, spun him around for the take down and used a half nelson for the pin.”

Related link:  https://waynejoseph.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/biif-wrestling-championships-results/

The top four boys in each of the 14 weight divisions and top three girls in their 11 weight classes advance to the Hawaii High School Athletic Association championships to be held on Oahu on Feb. 11 and 12.

February 8, 2011 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , | Leave a comment

BIIF Wrestlers Do Well at Officials Meet on Oahu

Kona’s Tanalei Louis proudly displays her 2nd place medal

Waiakea’s Tracy Poch made a name for herself over the weekend as the junior claimed top honors in the 175 pound weight division in what is considered the biggest wrestling tournament in the State of Hawaii.

“I took five boys and two girls over to Oahu to compete in the Officials Wrestling Tournament and Tracy came away with a first place title and Tyler Yonemori took second for the boys’ 145 division,” Waiakea assistant coach Preston Sato said during a phone interview.

“This was the largest wrestling tournament in the state with over 900 participants,” Sato said.  “The event allowed us to test our moves and gain valuable experience.”

The Waiakea coach believes that Poch has the ability to win the state title at 155 or 175 pounds.

“Tracy was second in the state last year at 155,” Sato said.  “She’s learned a lot during the past year and she continues to improve at each practice and she can be tough at either weight division, although we’re going to try to compete her at the 155 division.”

Tracy Poch

“I’ve been working hard during my training this season,” Poch said.  “With effort and good coaching I think I can defend my BIIF title at 155 and win at states.”

Sato returned to Hilo with his athletes on Sunday evening then was planning on leaving Monday to take them to the Maui Tournament.

Yonemori in just his second year of competitive wrestling worked his way through the championship bracket winning his first and third matches by pin and winning his second match by a 10 to 3 score.

“This was a good experience for me and I learned a lot by participating over the weekend,” Yonemori said.  “My only loss was in the finals when I was outscored by Chance Uyeda of Lahainalua.”

Tyler Yonemori

Yonemori the defending Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion at 140 pounds is also a state judo champion and is expected to compete at the higher weight class this season.

Hilo’s Jordan Enos placed third in the 130 division as Viking Coach Alex Kalawe brought three boys and one girl to compete at Leilehua.

“We invited our returnees and those with the best chance for success,” Kalawe said.  “Jordan was our best finisher and our lone girl managed to take fifth place in her division.”

“I had six matches and I won five and lost one,” Enos said.  “My best move was the outside low single where I do a low squat and instead of shooting for the ankles I do a spin around move.”

Enos, now in his senior year, comes to the mat more confident and motivated to do well.

“It’s my senior year and I plan on winning the BIIF at 130 pounds and then place at states,” he said. 

Perennial BIIF boy’s team champions, Kealakehe, also took a squad of six boys along with one girl to compete.

“We need to get more experience and a higher level of competition during a shortened BIIF season,” WaveRider Coach Mike Ciotti said.

Konawaena, sophomore Tanelei Louis, made it all the way to the finals in the 130 bracket before dropping the match to the defending state champion Mindy Chow from Punahou.

“I had three matches prior to facing Mindy,” Louis said.  “I won all three by pin with two coming in a barbed wire and the other in a reverse half.”

Louis, the BIIF champ at 125 as a freshman last year, believes that she will return to that weight class to defend her title.

“I have a lot of confidence from my Dad who works with me and teaches me about wrestling,” she said.

Wildcat teammate Sage Aoki, competing in the 120 class, received a controversial disqualification in his first match for what the officials considered a “slam.”

“We questioned the call,” Kona coach and Sage’s dad, Mark Aoki said.  “We didn’t think that was the right call, but it was considered an opening match loss and Sage was forced into the consolation bracket.”

“I was riding the guy from the back and when he stood up I came in front of him for a double leg flip and he landed on his shoulder and wasn’t able to continue,” Sage Aoki said.

Aoki who won the BIIF title last year at 108 has bulked up to 120 will compete during the season at the higher weight class.

“I wanted to get bigger and stronger so I did a lot of weight training during the summer,” Aoki said.

Aoki had an easy time as he went undefeated during six matches in the consolation bracket to take third place overall during the tournament.

“Despite my first match loss I had a good experience and was able to get in a lot of matches where I could practice a variety of moves,” Aoki said.

Pearl City won the girls team scoring title with Waiakea being the highest scoring BIIF team at 14 place out of 27 teams competing.

For the boys it was Punahou winning with Hilo coming in at 21 out of 32 teams.

December 23, 2010 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Waiakea’s Ogi, Kamehameha’s Aina, win BIIF Judo Titles

Waiakea's Steven Ogi win first BIIF judo title

KEAAU-It was a glorious day for 19 judoka at the Big Island Interscholastic Federation judo championships held at Kamehameha on Saturday as they won individual league honors.

  But for some coaches, like Hilo’s Jack De Lima, it was a nail bighting and aging experience.

“I probably aged a year or so watching the boys 132 match,” De Lima said at the end of the meet.

  The Viking coach was referring to the 132 pound championship match between Hilo’s top seed, Jordan Enos, and Waiakea’s #2 seed Steven Ogi.

   Both Ogi and Enos needed to get through the field of 10 competitors to meet each other in the finals of the boys 132.  “Enos/Ogi was probably the match of the day,” De Lima said. 

  Throughout the scheduled five minute match it was Enos taking the aggressive stance in trying to flip Ogi on several quick moves.  But the stubborn Warrior countered and managed to land on his side or to hug the mat face first.

   As time was running out and with Enos ahead on points Ogi took the inside position and used a seoinage throw to win by Ippon with only 43 seconds remaining on the clock.

   “I was nervous coming into today,” Ogi said after winning his first BIIF title.  “My coach told us to do what we do in practice and I tried to come into the finals as confident as I could.”

   Waiakea teammate, Tyler Yonemori, stopped eating ice cream in order to make the 145 weight division.

   Earlier in the season Yonemori intentionally put on a few extra pounds so that he could go against the larger, stronger opponents, but for the BIIF individual championships the Warrior returned to his most comfortable weight.

   “I only needed to lose four pounds,” Yonemori said.  “I cut out the ice cream and ate healthy and it was easy for me to lose the weight.”

  In the finals Yonemori faced his own teammate, Pat Enos, and won by osaekomi, pin. “There are benefits going against heavier opponents in that they are stronger, but at my weight class the players are quicker.”

   Yonemori, who owns a first degree black belt, won his second BIIF judo title to go with a BIIF wrestling crown he won earlier in the year.

   “Competing at the championships has more pressure and we have more on the line,” Yonemori said. 

   Kamehameha’s Jenna Aina also dropped a few pounds to compete in the girls 115 division and defeated Kona’s Haley Delos-Santos to claim her fourth BIIF judo title.

   “I was competing at the 122 division in the past and wanted to drop down to the lighter division to prepare for state meet,” Aina said.

   Aina, who owns a first degree black belt, had gone all four years undefeated in BIIF judo competition and her highest finish at the state level was third.

   “I feel pretty confident that I can do well at states in the 115 class,” she said.  “I know at the state level the competition is stiffer, but this is my senior year and I’m hoping to do well.

  Another upset of sorts came in the boys 161 when a pair of Vikings in top seed Tyler Vaughn went against #3 seed Isaiah Kamakanui.

  The two friends provided the crowd of about 100 a match that went the full 5-minutes with Kamakanui coming out on top by a score of 10-1.

  “We’re best friends and I thought Tyler would win,” Kamakanui said after the match.  “I lost during a preseason meet to Tyler and we practice together regularly.”

   Kamakanui gained six pounds last week to be bumped up into a higher weight class, which helped the Viking boys win their second consecutive team title. (Kamehameha won the girls team title.)

   “We only lose Tyler to graduation and we have everyone else returning,” Viking coach De Lima said.  “Both Tyler and Isaiah are hard workers and it was tough to see either one lose.”

  The 178 weight class pitted Kamehameha’s Eric Young against Hilo’s Sean Arakaki.  Young was a couple inches taller than Arakaki as both tried to gain the early advantage.

   Young made several attempts to hook his left leg inside of Arakaki’s right leg in order to drag him to the mat, but Arakaki was quick to counter.  “I was trying for a ouchi gari,” Young explained after the match.

   The private school Warrior senior, with 10 years of judo experience and a brown belt, managed to gain a wazari and two yuko’s to Arakaki’s lone yuko as the match went the full 5-minutes giving Young the victory on points.

   “I need to try my best at working on my uchimata and ouchi gari moves,” Young said of his upcoming state championship meet.

  The top two judoka in the BIIF championships representing each of the 10 boys and 10 girl’s weight divisions will advance to the Hawaii High School Athlete Association Judo Championships to be held the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu on Saturday, May 8.

April 25, 2010 Posted by | Judo | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BIIF Judo Championship Results

Jenna Aina wins 4th BIIF judo championship - photo by CSUAINAJR

Results of the BIIF Individual Tournament

                           Boys Division                                           Girls Division

Wt. Class Place   Wt. Class Place
108 1st-Justin Raymond (Konawaena)   98 1st-Megan Aina (Kamehameha)
  2nd-Dyllan Raiano (Konawaena)      
      103 1st-Kiana Machado (Waiakea)
114 1st-Teagan Nakamoto (Konawaena)      
  2nd-Gared Taira (Hilo)   109 1st-Kanoe Padaken (Kamehameha)
  3rd-Talmage Nakamoto (Konawaena)     2nd-Mindy Lorance (Kealakehe)
        3rd-Kaylyn Otsubo (Waiakea)
121 1st-Sky Souza (Kamehameha)      
  2nd-Charles Aina (Kamehameha)   115 1st-Jenna Aina (Kamehameha)
  3rd-Sheldon Graham (Hilo)     2nd-Haley Delos Santos (Konawaena)
        3rd-Micah Ramos (Keaau)
132 1st-Steven Ogi (Waiakea)      
  2nd-Jordan Enos (Hilo)   122 1st-Puulena Luuwai-Augustin            (Kamehameha)
  3rd-Ikaika Villanueva (Kamehameha)      
      129 1st-Tanalei Louis (Konawaena)
145 1st-Tyler Yonemori (Waiakea)     2nd-Lisa Ann Nakagawa (Waiakea)
  2nd-Jens Beets (Hilo)      
  3rd-Pat Enos (Waiakea)   139 1st-Kalena Shiroma
         
161 1st-Isaiah Kanakanui (Hilo)   154 1st-Nissi Flores-Jumalon (Waiakea)
  2nd-Tyler Vaughn (Hilo)     2nd-Kailey Lapenia (Kamehameha)
  3rd-Quinn Kunitomo (Konawaena)     3rd-Marina Dally (Keaau)
         
178 1st-Eric Young (Kamehameha)   172 1st-Sharon Manarpaac (Hilo)
  2nd-Sean Arakaki (Hilo)      
  3rd-Kacy Jennings (Kealakehe)   220 1st-Lia Nakamura (Hilo)
        2nd-Paulina John (Kealakehe)
198 1st-Kawika Scott (Konawaena)      
         
220 1st-Mark Dumaguin (Konawaena)      
  2nd-Kekai Obrey (Kealakehe)      
  3rd-Esaiah (Kealakehe)      

April 25, 2010 Posted by | Judo | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment