Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

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 Girls look dominate at WHS Invite

Tough Kamehameha girls wrestling team

Kamehameha girls left little doubt on who is the team to beat in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation wrestling tournament held at Waiakea this past Friday and Saturday.

The Warrior girls captured six out of eight weight divisions during the two day, double elimination tournament to give notice to the rest of the league on their ability to defend their BIIF team title.

Kamehameha’s state champion Megan Aina got things started by winning the 108 pound division with an avalanche of Warrior’s claiming individual honors.

Kanoe Padakin, 120; Kawehi Lopez; 125; Rustee Johansen, 130; Sable-Marie Young, 155; and Jasmine Iuta, 175; continued the Warrior onslaught with Waiakea’s Tracy Poch, 220; and Konawaena’s Tanalei Louis, 140; being the only road block in preventing Kamehameha from a clean sweep.

“We still need to go back to the drawing board and work on some stuff,” Kamehameha girls coach Marlon Miller said.

“We should never be content with where we are at and we should always continue working to become better,” Miller said.  “Everybody in this gym from every school will get better during the season and we need to keep working at improving.”

Miller also had high praise for host Waiakea in running the two day tournament saying that Stan Haraguchi and Greg Yonemori did an excellent job in kicking off the season.

Eleven BIIF schools competed in the tournament that featured 38 girls and 107 boys vying for bragging rights in their respective age divisions.

In the girls 155 class championship match it was Kamehameha’s Sable-Marie Young getting sweet revenge against Hilo’s Kainoelani Lee.

Young failed to make the BIIF championship meet when she was defeated by Lee last season, but she turned the tables around this year.

“Today was kinda like pay back,” Young said of her pin.  “It makes me feel like I’m going to be really good this season.  I love this sport and the drive we need to push ourselves to be good.  Our coaches teach us well and the excitement we get from the crowd makes it worthwhile.”

Kamehameha’s Kawehi Lopez made the transition from canoe paddler to wrestler this season and picked up a win during the 125 title match against teammate Noelle Pohina.

“My friend recruited me into wrestling and I’m glad I gave it a try as it has increased my confidence and given me something to get excited about,” Lopez said. 

“I wasn’t so nervous going against my own teammate in the finals because we train together during practice,” she said.  “I played volleyball this year and I think the paddling and volleyball has helped me with wrestling.”

Nalu Souza gains advantage on Sage Aoki

For the boys it was a matchup between two BIIF champions when Kona’s Sage Aoki went against Kamehameha’s Nalu Souza in the 125 weight division.

Aoki, who is the defending league champion at 108 and Souza the champ at 120 were both bumped into the higher weight division.

“I weighed in at 120.4 on Friday, but I hope to wrestle at 120 and defend my title,” Souza said.

“I like going against Sage because he’s a state placer and I’m only going to get better by wrestling the best,” he said. 

Souza out pointed Aoki, 15 to 12, for the victory in what was a close match throughout the three 2-minute periods.

“I was concerned during the match when he (Aoki) shot into my legs as I’ve never let anyone shoot on me before,” Souza said.  “I need to stay on top and pressure him to move him out of his comfort zone.”

Souza pulled the match out when he used a ‘gramby roll’ and then moved into Aoki using a half-nelson.

“This tournament was pretty important for me to see where everyone is at,” Souza said.  “I plan to get back down to 120 and defend at that weight class during the season.”

Allin Franco

Kealakehe’s Allin Franco pulled out a close win over Keaau’s Jesse Huihui in the 140 division.

Franco led 6-4 after the first period, but Huihui was able to tie the score at 6 during the first 15 seconds of the second period, before Franco put the match away winning 10 to 6.

“Jesse is a really good and really fast wrestler and I knew that I needed to keep up with his intensity,” Franco said.

“I still need to work on my technique and strength and maintain my conditioning,” he said.  “I think the difference in this match came down to conditioning as we were both tired going into the third period.”

Franco believes that he can win the BIIF title this year and has set his sights on winning a state title.

At the 135 weight class it was Keaau’s Cheyden Quiocho going against Waiakea’s Keoni Rice in the championship bracket.

“He (Rice) was trying to get me into a head and arm move and I countered with a half which flipped him on his back and I went straight down for the pin,” Quiocho said of his third period victory.

“I still need to work on my moves and my conditioning as I’m not pleased with my second place finish at BIIF’s last year,” he said. 

Quiocho was the BIIF runner up at 125 last year and put on 10 pounds to be bumped up two weight classes.

“I feel comfortable at this weight and I’m still hungry and motivated to do well,” Quiocho said.

Kamehameha’s boys coach, Brendan Courtot believes that Kealakehe is the team to beat for the BIIF title since they have dominated the league during the past decade.

“We will be competitive in 10 of 13 weight classes this year as we have a very young team, but they are very aggressive,” Courtot said.

The Warriors return two BIIF champions in Nalu Souza and Justin Hirae.

December 16, 2010 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BIIF Wrestling Results from Waiakea Invitational Meet

Coach Marlon Miller with Jasmine Iuta, Sable Young, Megan Aina, Kanoe Padaken and Kawehi Lopez.

2010 Waiakea Invitational    BOYS

108:  1st Justin Raymond, Kona  2nd Blake Aholelei, Kealakehe  3rd Serafin Samorano, Keaau

114:  1st Dylan Raiano, Kona  2nd Ryan Fujioka, HPA  3rd Jove Asagra, Keaau

120:  1st Dan Gampon, Kealakehe  2nd Steven Ogi, Waiakea  3rd David Yagong, Honokaa

125:  1st Nalu Souza, Kam  2nd Sage Aoki, Kona  3rd Justin Hirae, Kam

130:  1st Shannon Samura, HPA  2nd Michael Raiano, Kona  3rd Jordan Enos, Hilo

135:  1st Cheyden Quiocho, Keaau  2nd Keoni Rice, Waiakea  3rd Kona Phipps, Kona

140:  1st Allin Franco, Kealakehe  2nd Jesse Huihui, Keaau  3rd Jacob Murphy, Hilo

145:  1st Tyler Yonemori, Waiakea  2nd Pat Enos, Waiakea  3rd Jens Beets, Hilo

152:  1st Isaiah Guieb, Kealakehe  2nd Patrick Enos, Waiakea  3rd Jason Fernandez, Kam

160:  1st Isaiah Kanakanui, Hilo  2nd Kiliona Manzano, Kona  3rd Jordan Maglinty, Waiakea

171:  1st CJ Matsuyama, Kam  2nd Russ Fiesta, Pahoa  3rd Haaheo Chan, Keaau

189:  1st Harry Auweloa, Honokaa  2nd Kaialoa Mossman, Waiakea  3rd Sean Arakaki, Hilo

215:  1st Tim Ekert, Kealakehe  2nd Troy Choi, HPA  3rd John Postrano, Kona

285:  1st Keenan Greenbaum, HPA  2nd David Cowan, Honokaa   3rd Zeph Pavao, Waiakea

GIRLS

103:  1st Megan Aina, Kam  2nd Jharmine Postrano, Kona    3rd Cara Nakayama, Waiakea

114:  1st Kanoe Padakin, Kam  2nd Destiny Masters, Kealakehe  3rd Phoebe Oda, Kam

125:  1st Kawehi Lopez, Kam  2nd Noelle Pohina, Kam  3rd Elena Mello-Waiwaiole, Kau

130:  1st Rustee Johansen, Kam  2nd Melissa Dumaguin, Kona  3rd Hilary Luna, Hilo

140:  1st Tanalei Louis, Kona  2nd Chantel Pohina, Kam  3rd Sharrylei Fernandez, Hilo

155:   1st Sable-Marie Young, Kam  2nd Kainoelani Lee, Hilo   3rd Alexia-Marie Osburn, Kam

175:     1st Jasmine Iuta, Kam  2nd Kawehi Housman, Hilo  3rd Sharon Manaarpac, Hilo

 220:    1st Tracy Poch, Waiakea  2nd Aimee Shiraki, Kona  3rd Keani Mello-Waiwaiole, Kau

December 12, 2010 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment