Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Aina Lead Kamehameha girls in threepeat while Waiakea gains second team title

Aina, Pohina, Iuta, Osburn,Miller

KEAAU –  Kamehameha girls and Waiakea boys came away with team titles at the Big Island Interscholastic Federation individual and team wrestling championships, held Saturday at Paiea Gym on the Keaau campus of Kamehameha.

While cross town public and private schools Warriors were winning team championships another Warrior was celebrating several mile markers.

A monumental 18th birthday celebration took place for Kamehameha’s Megan Aina on Saturday as the tough 103 pound wrestler won her fourth Big Island Interscholastic Federation individual title and helped lead her Warrior squad to their third team title.

“This is a very crazy birthday for me,” Aina said.  “It is a really big accomplishment in my life and I’m so proud to be part of our team for all four years.

 “Winning a team title is all our girls have been talking about for the past two weeks,” Kamehameha Coach Marlon Miller said.

For Miller and his girls this is their third consecutive league team title and their fifth in the last six years.

“I think our biggest advantage is our experience on the mat,” Miller said.  “We have lots of seniors, who will be sorely missed.”

Several of Miller’s girls have shared in all three team titles and the coach was quick to point out that this was indeed a team effort.

“It takes the entire team to win a championship,” Miller said.  “It’s not about the coaches; it’s entirely about the girls who were on the mat.”

Miller pointed to his well seasoned squad, naming each of the girls that made the difference in each of the 11 weight classes to win yet another team title.

Warrior girls filling each of the weight classes were:

Nellie Towata (98), Aina (103), Kanoe Padaken (108), Sadie Arakaki (114),  Phoebe Oda (120), Noelle Pohina 125), Chantel Pohina (130), Alexia Osburn (140), Jasmine Uta (155), Wilna Tong (175),  Ciarra Lynn Parinas (220) all made contributions to winning the Warrior team title according to Miller.

Six out of the eight Warrior girls to make the finals won their matches by pin which included Aina, Padaken. Oda, Chantel Pohina, Iuta and Tong.

“Phoebe (Oda) was in one of the toughest weight division and she went undefeated during the season.” Miller said.  “She’s a natural leader who pushes everyone on our team to their fullest potential.”

Aina ended her BIIF career by having an undefeated season and in the process won her fourth consecutive individual league crown to go along with the state title she won as a sophomore. But Aina’s match was anything but easy as she went against Waiakea Cara Nakayama in the finals.

“I felt like I had nothing to lose and I left everything on the mat,” Nakayama said.

Nakayama was winning by a score of 4-2 going in the second round, when Aina used her famous chicken wing move to get the pin and secure the victory.

Two other Warrior girls finished the season with an unblemished BIIF record and went on to win individual BIIF titles on Saturday. 

Padaken and Chantel Pohina both dominated throughout the season which added to the Warrior blitz in their team title quest.

This was a Sweet three peat for Warrior girls where experience made the difference, according to Miller.  Sharing in past team titles six of their eleven girls on the mat are seniors.

“Many of these girls were with us for all three championships, which makes this one extra sweet,” Miller said.

Enos

While Miller’s girls were winning their third team title it was Waiakea Coach Stan Haraguchi bring his young Warrior boys to their second consecutive team title.

“Every one of these guys helped us get here,” Haraguchi said.  “We are young with lots of sophomores and juniors but we came into the championships confident and humble.”

Waiakea brought eight boys into the finals which consisted of 14 weight classes.

“It takes an entire team effort to win a title and everyone from our coaches to our parents helped us get here,” Haraguchi said.

Waiakea’s Pat Enos dominated the 152 division all season and ended his BIIF season with an unblemished mark.

Enos won three matches on Saturday, all by pin, using a cradle and twice using a gable move to secure each win.

“It feels awesome to win two straight team titles,” Enos said.  “Nobody in the league thought that we could win the title, because we are so young, but we pulled it out.”

Teammate William Spain, a 108 sophomore, won his first two matches to earn a spot in the finals before dropping his finale to two time BIIF champion, Konawaena’s Justin Raymond.

“I think last year winning the team title was really good, but this year it is extra special for us since we have so many young guys,” Spain said.  “This is a new team and we really stepped up because we knew we could do it.”

Waiakea placed 8 boys in the finals and 2 in the consolation bracket to secure enough team points to narrowly eclipse Kamehameha for the boy’s crown.

“We came in with the right mentality and jelled at the right time,” Haraguchi said.  “Everyone just worked together and blended well.”

The Hawaii High School state wrestling championships will be held on March 2 and 3 at the Blaisdell Arena on Oahu.

February 21, 2012 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wrestlers from around the BIIF have perfect day at Kealakehe Invite

Torres

Pahoa walked into the Kealakehe Gym with only half their team, but left with enormous respect and pride after leaving a great impression of things to come.

The Big Island Interscholastic Federation opened their wrestling season with an all schools meet on the West Side of the island and tiny Pahoa gaining the attention of other coaches and schools.

“We only brought half our team,” Dagger Coach Ryan Smith said.  “Some of our wrestlers are first year and most were able to get three matches in today.”

Smith had a lot to be proud of as the Daggers were impressive on the mat.

Pahoa seniors Jake Torres in the 152 weight division and McShane Bannister in the 160 division left Kealakehe undefeated, winning all three of their matches by pin.

Bannister

I was trying out new stuff and trying to be more aggressive,” Torres said.  “I need to still learn to be more controlling in my matches, but it was fun today.”

 Torres won his first match by using a superman stretch, his second with a cradle and his third match he used a half nelson for the pin.

 Dagger teammate McShane Bannister is a lanky six footer who likes using his lower body to his advantage.

 “I use my legs as it helps me out, but I still need to work on riding my opponents too high,” Bannister said.  My first two matches I got the quick pin, but my third match I struggled as I think I was too relaxed.”

 Kamehameha girls coach Marlon Miller was the first to recognize the efforts Pahoa brought to the mat.

 “Pahoa did outstanding today,” Coach Miller said.  “I was impressed with their talent and this was just a showing of what’s to come.”

Arellano

Kealakehe senior and defending BIIF champion, Robin Arellano had an easy time defeating three Konawaena opponents in the 114 division.

 Arellano won all of his matches by first round pins, but says he is still in the learning phase of his game.

 “I still have a lot to learn,” Arellano said.  “I need to work on pressuring the guys I wrestle and in the timing of my moves.”

Arellano was successful by using a cross face cradle in his first two matches and then using a reverse cradle in his final match to start the season with an unblemished record.

Aaron Kvenile

Perfection continued when Laupahoehoe’s Aaron Kvenile took the mat in the 160 division.

Kvenile used a cow catcher/hip toss to win all three of his matches by pin in quick fashion.

 “I moved up from 145 last season to 160 now,” Kvenile said.  “This being my senior year I want to give it my all and do the best that I can.”

Knevile won his first match in 24 seconds, second match in 34 seconds and his final match in 33 seconds to join the perfect group in the early season.

 “I need to work on my bottom game, according to my coach,” Knevile said. 

 Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s Cannon Grecko Hiranaka had a banner day winning in the 145 weight division all three of his matches. The first and third by pin and his second match by a 17-6 score with his best moves being the one on one and half nelson.

 “I have hopes of being the BIIF champ and placing at states this year,” the confident sophomore said.  “I’ve been working really hard by running in the mornings and going as hard as I can during practice.”

 “I came into my matches pretty confident,” Grecko Hiranaka said.  “I still need to work on my set ups for take downs.”

For the girls it was Waiakea’s Tanalei Louis in the 125 division with a perfect 3-0 winning two matches by pin and the other on points.

 “Today was an eye opener for me because I guess I wasn’t too confident and I felt rusty,” Louis said.

 Louis is the two time defending BIIF champion and finished third in the state in her freshman season and second last year as a sophomore.  Louis medals came as a competitor for Konawaena before transferring to Waiakea this season.

 “Today I worked on the basics and what I need to work on is my confidence in taking shots,” Louis said.  “My goal this season is to become a three time BIIF champ and to win the state championship.”

 Kamehameha’s Alexia-Marie Osburn, the defending BIIF champion at 140, was bumped up to 155.

 “My coaches wanted me to be tested in harder competition,” Osburn said.  “My conditioning is not where it should be and I was really tired by the end of my first match.”

 Osburn was taking to the limit during her first match, winning in a tough battle over Waverider Allison Felix in the final seconds.

 “I managed to do a stand up escape to win by a score of 8-7,” Osburn said.  “I won my final match with a half nelson pin as my exploding in the stand up position worked well.”

 Kamehameha had several wrestlers with perfect records according to Coach Brendon Courtot.

“We had six girls and six boys that had either perfect 2-0 or 3-0 records at the Kealakehe Invite,” Courtot said.

Perfect Kamehameha Girls

Noelle Kamalii Pohina 125lbs, Alexia-Marie Osburn  155lbs. Jasmine K. Iuta 175 lbs. Weline Tong  175lbs, Megan Aina 103lbs. Kanoe Padaken 114lbs

 Perfect Kamehameha Boys

Jason Roland 152lbs. Charlie Aina  130lbs, Nalu Souza 125lbs, CJ Matsuyama 171lbs. Troy Gibson 140lbs, Kema Chin 215lbs

 Kealakehe’s Coach Michael Ciotti hosted the tournament and had high praise from a variety of schools.

 “I liked the Pahoa kids, as they put in a great effort,” Ciotti said.  “It was good to see Kohala on the mat and I think the Kau girls were pretty dominating, while the Waiakea boys looked tough.”

 Ciotti also believes that the season opener provided an opportunity for the wrestler to get used to the format and the way the referees make calls.

 “A lot of the young wrestlers were nervous and needed to get their butterflies out,” Ciotti said.

 There were more than 100 boys from around the BIIF participating at the Waverider gym along with 60 girls, according to Ciotti.

 Waiakea will host the next all schools BIIF wrestling meet this Saturday at Warrior gym starting at 10 am.

December 13, 2011 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a 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

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

Kamehameha-Hawaii Favored to win BIIF Wrestling Team Titles

Marlon Miller with state champion Megan Aina

Twenty five weight class championship titles are up for grabs this Saturday when Konawaena host the Big Island Interscholastic Federation wrestling individual and team championships at the Colonel Ellison Onizuka Gymnasium.

Defending girls team champions Kamehameha are considered the heavy favorites to repeat as team champions, but  Warriors coach Marlon Miller believes that their standings are overrated.

“Due to our intensity and rigorous demand that one must give in this sport I had a lot of girls drop out during the season, including several returnees,” Miller explained. 

Miller believes that other coaches are saying that Kamehameha are the heavy favorites, which is a tactic, to draw attention away from them.

“This past weekend I noticed that Konawaena and Hawaii Preparatory Academy were filling more weight classes than we do,” Miller said.  “After having a scrimmage dual meet with Hilo a couple of weeks ago I know they (Hilo) will be contending for the girl’s title also.”

Miller believes that all the private school Warrior girls have the confidence and ability to be State and BIIF champions.

“They all believe in themselves and their teammates,” he said.  “If they didn’t I wouldn’t put them out there.”

Rustee-Ann Johansen and Megan Aina are the two returning BIIF champions for the Warriors girl’s team with Aina (a state champion at 98 pounds) going for her third league title.

HPA coach Gary Jarvill still sees Kamehameha as the team to beat for the girl’s crown.

“I am missing four weight classes for BIIF’s,” Jarvill said.  “I only have two girls with any experience at all and my most successful girl, Kela Vargas, needs to wrestle Megan (Aina) who is the returning state champion.”

Jarvill believes that Kamehameha is on an easy road to winning another girl’s team title and the Ka Makani coach noted that Kona’s strength is in the weight classes from 120 to 140.

Dominate among the Kona ladies is defending champion Tanalei Louis, 125, who won the BIIF championships as a freshman last season.   Louis may be one of the best in the state in her weight class and is considered a heavy favorite to repeat as BIIF champ.

Wildcat teammate Sage Aoki, 108, comes from a rich family tradition in wrestling champions and will also make a run at defending his BIIF title.

“Honokaa’s newest top wrestler is Harry Auweloa. He came to Honokaa this year from Maui, a junior with one year of experience, “said Dragon Coach Dan Whetstone.  “He (Auweloa) took 1st place in 189’s in the preseason tournament at Waiakea and then placed first again in the same weight class at the Kealakehe tournament in early January.”

Whetstone believes that Auweloa  will drop weight and compete in the 171 bracket as the favorite to win at the BIIF championships as he remains undefeated during the season.

Dragon teammate Geo Chavez-Pardini will be wrestling in only his second tournament of the year but should be the one to beat in 189’s and capture his fourth BIIF title.

“I’m switching some of these kids around as a strategic measure,” Whetstone said.  “Geo could actually compete at 171, but we need him in the high weight division.”

Another one of Honokaa’s newcomers is first year senior Elvis Cardoza at the 145 division. Whetstone believes that Cardoza will contend for the BIIF title as he won won all of his matches this past Saturday at Keaau.

Wrestling fans should also watch for a repeat performance from Kau’s heavyweight defending champion, Keani Mello-Waiwaiole who has been dominate in the 220 division.

The main attraction on the girl’s side for Waiakea is Tracy Poch who took top honors at the Officials Wrestling Tournament on Oahu in December and is considered the heavy favorite to win the BIIF crown at 175.  Poch is the BIIF champ at 155 last season.

While there is no clear favorite in the race for the boys team title most coaches agree that Kamehameha and Waiakea have a slight edge over the rest of the field.

Kamehameha returns a pair of title defenders in Justin Hirae, 114, and Nalu Souza at 120 while the public school Warriors showcases Tyler Yonemori and the Enos brothers, Pat and Patrick.

“I think it is impossible to pick, even on paper, who will win the boys team title,” Kamehameha boys coach Brendan Courtot said.  “No one school has shown real dominance at any of the meets, but Kealakehe is the defending champ, so they have the target on their back.”

According to Courtot several Warriors have been undefeated during the regular season and include CJ Matsuyama, 171, and Akokoa Paleka-Kennedy in the heavy weight division.  Despite the unblemished record Courtot feels that they are not well tested because of their missing several key match ups.

“We will be competitive at 114, 120, 125, 130, 135, 140, 152, 189 and 215 with our best chance to medal coming from our two defending champions (Hirae who will wrestle at 125 and Souza at 120) and two returners Charlie Aina, 130, and Kema Chin at 215,” Courtot said.

Action will get under way in Kona on Saturday at 10 am using three mats as the highly anticipated individual and team champions will not be crowned until later that evening.

February 5, 2011 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments