Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

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.

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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

Alex Aoki becomes a 4 time BIIF wrestling champion

Kamehameha's Justin Hirae became a 3 time BIIF champion on Saturday

   What could be sweeter than to win a league title in wrestling?  How’s about winning four titles during an illustrious prep career?

   Such was the case for Konawaena’s Alexandra Aoki as the senior won her fourth Big Island Interscholastic Federation wrestling title on Saturday at Keaau while adding layers of icing to her super sweet season.

   Aoki, who has not lost a match to a BIIF competitor in more than three years, special day became even more special when her younger brother, Sage Aoki, won the boys 108 weight class.

   “This was my last year of high school wrestling so it was our goal to both win at BIIF’s,” Alexandra Aoki said.

   Aoki has dominated the league at 103 the past four seasons and during the finals on Saturday pinned Kealakehe’s Mindy Lorance in 58 seconds of the first period to maintain her supremacy.

   “I did it today for my dad, Mark,” she said.  “It is also Coach Wally’s (Nakashima) last year as head coach and Sage and I wanted to win it for him too.”

   Sage Aoki wasted little time in his championship match against Kealakehe’s Ralph Ortega.  Aoki opened with several head slaps, and then caught his opponent off guard for an opening period take down before pinning him with 51.3 seconds left in the first period.

   “I had a branch modified where I grabbed his arm and flipped him over,” Aoki said of his pin.

   Moments after his match the brother and sister were seen on the sidelines embracing each other in their jubilation for reaching their goals.

   The Aoki duo is also coached by their father who is a judo sensei and both credit judo with being helpful in their upward spiral in wrestling.  Alexandra is a brown belt and Sage carries a purple belt.

   Fifty girls and ninety-eight boys representing 11 schools from the Big Island Interscholastic Federation competed during a daylong wrestling tournament at the Keaau High School gym on Saturday to determine who would walk away with individual and team titles.

  In the 114 weight class it was Kamehameha’s Justin Hirae going against Laupahoehoe’s Lucky Baun in the championship match.

   Hirae came into the title bracket as the two time BIIF title holder and wasted little time getting the first take down and a quick 2-0 lead. 

   The private school Warrior caught Baun out of position and went for a cradle move.

   “I was head hunting and pinned him in a Cadillac,” Hirae said of his third BIIF title. 

   Hirae’s only loss this season came at the hands of Sage Aoki when the Wildcat was bumped up to the higher weight class earlier in the season.

   At the 130 class Kealakehe’s Dillon Cortes took on Keaau’s Jesse Huihui in a battle between two scrappy wrestlers.

   The match was a stalemate during the first period as neither could gain the advantage, but Cortes began to open things up late in the 2nd period to gain a 5-0 lead and never looked back.

   Cortes won 8-0 and claimed his first BIIF title.

   “It feels great,” the senior Waverider said.  “I wanted to give it my all this year and it paid off.  I needed to push the pace against Jesse (Huihui) which is just what I did.”

  A pair of upsets took place when Honokaa’s Jade Perreira pinned Kamehameha’s Pomai Pohina in the girls 140 class and Waiakea’s Kawika Nihoa got past Hawaii Preps Bronson Kobayashi at the boys 145.

  Perreira had fallen behind on points during the 3rd period against Pohina by a score of 8-4.  With time running out it looked like Pohina had the match in hand, but Perreira reversed the situation by getting Pohina in a chicken wing, half-nelson, and the pin.

   “My coach (Dan Whetstone) was yelling at me during the match saying he wanted the pin,” Perreira said.  “I never wrestled her before and I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew she was good.”

   For the boys it was Warrior Kawika Nihoa upsetting defending BIIF champ and previously unbeaten Ka Makani Bronson Kobayashi.

   Both boys were equal throughout the three periods of wrestling and needed to go into overtime when Nihoa claimed the first take down in and the BIIF title.

   “This match had to see who had the biggest heart,” Nihoa said after the match.  “My coaches pushed me hard to get this far.  Winning is all about heart, standing up to pressure and getting a lot of support.”

   Kealakehe came into the championships as the defending team title holders for the boys and girls but faced stiff competition from the Honokaa and Kamehameha.

   The private school Warriors managed to fill all 11 girl’s weight classes which gave them an advantage in claiming the overall team title.

  “I’m really happy for our girls,” third year head coach Marlon Miller said.  “I’ve been preaching all year that I want to fry some bigger fish and to focus on the state championship.”

   Miller was quick to point out that no outer island team has ever won a state title wrestling and that he’d like to see Kamehameha-Hawaii break that streak.

   The Kamehameha girls had seven of their 11 girl’s make it into the title matches which three of them taking BIIF crowns.

   “We have 14 of our 16 girls returning next year and I’m real excited about that,” Miller said.

     For the boys team crown Kealakehe filled 12 of the 14 divisions leaving vacancies in the 160 and 189 weight classes, but having enough firepower and depth to repeat.

    “One of our goals for the year was to win the BIIF team title,” ‘Rider coach Michael Ciotti said.  “Another one of our goals is to do well at states and to peak for that tournament.”

   “We’re really happy for the kids and we’re pleased that we could repeat by winning the boy’s team championship,” Ciotti said.

February 14, 2010 Posted by | 1, Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

37 BIIF Wrestlers Go Undefeated in Season Opener

Wally Nakashima and his Konawaena Wildcats played hosted to a long day of competitive prep wrestling in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation season opener this past Saturday.

“Wally (Nakashima) did a great job in hosting the tournament,” HPA coach, Gary Jarvill said.  “Everything ran smoothly and most of the kids got in three matches.”

Ka Makani wrestlers Jonny Chute, 140, Bronson Kobaysashi, 145, Keoni Colson, 152, and Onipa’a Stevens, 215, all went a perfect 3-0 on the mat.

HPA’s Max Verbrugge, fresh off the football team, went 2-1 on the day and Jarvill had high praise.  “Max didn’t get in much practice and I believe he’ll be one of the top three BIIF wrestlers at 171 by the end of the season,” Jarvill said.

Jarvill was also impressed with two of his girls, senior Marie Donohue, 120, who went 2-1 and freshman Leila Wong, 130, finished that day at 1-1.

“We have a lot of kids who are off island and still on winter break,” Jarvill said.  “Next week we should have everyone back at practice.”

Honokaa was missing their top wrestler during the season opener in Geo Chavez-Pardini, but it didn’t stop the Dragons from getting stellar performances from a number of their youngsters.

“We had five boys going undefeated,” Dragon coach, Dan Whetstone said.  Honokaa saw perfection at the 171 weight class with Noa Eads, Preston Cawagas and Chris Camero all going a perfect 3-0.   Teammates Chris Reed went 2-0 in the heavyweight division and Kalai Niau went 3-0 at 189.

Whetstone was most impressed with Niau’s win over Kealakehe’s Kimo Louis.  “Kalai outpointed Kimo Louis to avenge the loss he suffered in the semifinals at last year’s BIIF championships,” Whetstone said.

For the girls Honokaa saw all six of their seniors going 2-1 while having junior Jessica Muskat going a perfect 2-0.

“Jessica is very athletic and has a great work ethic.  I think she is the girl to beat in the 175 weight class,” Whetstone said.

Coach Whetstone believes that the girl’s match of the day was between Dragon Heather Sugimoto and HPA’s Marie Donahue in the 120 class.  Sugimoto was behind on points when she reversed the situation and pinned Donahue.

“It was a great way for us to start the season,” Whetstone said of the season opener.

Kealakehe had perfect records from Jodi Ozaki (2-0) at 120 pounds, with boys Robin Arellano (3-0) and Ralph Ortega (3-0) both in the 108 weight class and Dillon Cortes (2-0) at 130. “Our kids wrestled hard this weekend and I’m really proud of their performance,” ‘Rider coach, Michael Ciotti said.

“It still early in the season and we still have a lot of things we need to work on.  We don’t have a lot of depth, but we’ll be able to move kids around to fill all or most of the weight classes by the end of the season,” Ciotti said.

The Kamehameha girls, who are considered by many to be the team to beat this season, had great performances from Tehani Jones (2-0 and only a freshman) at 98, Megan Aina (2-1) at 103, Rustee-Ann Johansson (3-0) at 140 and Chantel Pohina (3-0) at 155.

Warrior boys also notched season opening perfect records with Nalu Souza (2-0) at 120, Jason Fowler-Fernandez (3-0) at 152 and C.J. Matsuyama (2-0) at 160.

“This past weekend was one of mixed emotions, as a coach we like to see the hard work pay off in our younger wrestlers and the sense of achievement in their faces,” Kamehameha coach, Marlon Miller said.

Megan Aina suffered her first loss of the season after winning both her matches at 103 Aina was moved into the higher weight class to meet Kona’s Alexandra Aoki.

“I had mentioned to Megan (Aina) that if she wants to be the best she needs to wrestle the best.  Aoki is definitely one of the best in the state and she was able to pin Megan in the second round,” Miller said.

Kamehameha’s Justin Hirae, the two time BIIF champion, also suffered his first loss of the young season, dropping a match to Alex Aoki’s brother, Sage, by a close 9-7 score.

Miller also had high praise for sophomores Fowler-Fernandez and Matsuyama.  “Both Jason and C.J. has a rough freshmen year, paying their dues as we like to say.  C.J. went his entire freshman year without a victory.  Both young men persevered and trained diligently and this weekend it all paid off,” Miller said.

Other BIIF wrestlers having perfect opening day records were:

Konawaena’s Alexandra Aoki and Danielle Hubbard (114) each going 3-0 with 2 pins along with teammates Melissa Dumaguin, 125, Tanalei Louis, 130, both perfect at 2-0.

For the Wildcat boys Sage Aoki (3-0) and Justin Raymond (2-0) were flawless in the 114 classes and Kawika Scott (3-0) at 215.

Waiakea’s Tracy Poch, (2-0) at 175, with boys Ryan Tampon, (1-0) at 135, and Micah Kekela (3-0) at 215.

Keaau boys Cheyden Quiocho (3-0) at 130 and Cougar teammate Jeremiah Santana (2-0) at 160 were perfect.

Hilo boys Kelton Castagnetti (3-0) at 130, Draven Torres (3-0) at 140, Jens Beets (3-0) at 145, and Justin Branco (3-0) at 152 stayed unblemished.    

Kau had Keani Mello go 2-0 as she won both by pin at the 220 class.

Kona Coach, Wally Nakashima, provided the names and weight classes of those wrestlers with perfect records.

January 5, 2010 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BIIF Wrestling Season Takes to the Mat – Season Preview

Megan Aina looks sharpe at 103

Good things often come in small packages and for Konawaena’s Alexandra Aoki nothing could be truer.

Aoki, just under 108 pounds soaking wet, is one of the most fierce competitors in wrestling and returns for her senior season as the two time Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion and the Hawaii High School Athletic Association runner-up for her sport.

Aoki has gone undefeated in BIIF competition over the past two seasons where she has won titles in the 98 and 103 weight classes.  She finished second in the state at 103 and is the only returning BIIF wrestler (boy or girl) to have placed that high in a state championship last year.

(Hilo’s Teenaysha Yadao and Kealakehe’s Pomai Barton were also HHSAA runner-ups last season and have since graduated.)

Aoki is considered to be a heavy favorite to win her third consecutive BIIF title, but the decision hasn’t been made if she will return at 103 or move up to the 108 weight class.

Defending boys and girls team champions Kealakehe looks to bring to the mat another strong squad under first year head coach Michael Ciotti.

Over the past eight years the ‘Riders have won six BIIF boys team titles and four team title for the girls.

Leading the Wave Riders is the defending girls BIIF champions Jolynn Kahala-Minezer, 114,  and Jodi Ozaki, 120, with BIIF runner-up at 103, Mindy Lorance.  All three girls are seniors and will be at the top of the league leader board throughout the season

Defending boys individual BIIF champion Tim Ekert, at 189, will move up to the 215 class this season and should help a large ‘Rider team compete for another league title.

“We carry 25 boys on our team and we can fill all 14 weight classes,” Coach Ciotti said.  “Our team works hard and they are very coachable kids.  We try to keep the family atmosphere and our kids maintain a high work ethic.”

At Honokaa coach Dan Whetstone returns BIIF champion Geo Chavez-Pardini.  “Geo should capture the 160 pound title again this year,” Whetstone said.  “I think we have a good chance of having champs in the 171 and 189 weight divisions as well.”

Whetstone predicts that Dragon teammates Kali Niau and Preston Cawagas will battle for the 171 weight class with the loser moving up to the 189 class and will then need to compete against Kaimana Lutey for a spot on Honokaa’s first team.

“We have 21 boys on the roster and should have wrestlers in at least 11 of the 14 weight classes,” Whetstone said.  

For the girls Honokaa has five returning seniors and should have wrestlers in nine of the 11 weight classes.  “Our girls finished third at BIIF’s last year and could finish higher this year if they can get past Kamehameha and Kealakehe who figure to be the other top girl’s contenders,” Whetstone said.

Whetstone believes that perennial champion Kealakehe will again be the team to beat for the boy’s title.  “From what I’ve seen at the official weigh-ins earlier this month a lot of teams have an increase in the number of wrestlers from last year.  This might be our best chance to capture a title for a few years as we have 11 seniors on the squad and many of the other teams are in a rebuilding phase,” the Dragon coach said.

Kamehameha coach, Marlon Miller, also sees the Kealakehe as the team to beat.  “I would have to give the edge on the boys and girls team to the ‘Riders due to the size of their enrollment as well as their experience coaching staff,” he said.

The Warriors return two time BIIF boys champion, Justin Hirae, at 120 pounds, along with defending girl’s champions, Megan Aina, 103 and Pomai Pohina, 130.

“Megan and Pomai are sophomores and have been working hard to retain their title,” Miller said.  “Megan did well at the Maui Invitational winning the 103 division teching the Mid-Pac girl 17-2 in the championships.  Pomai was forced to wrestle at 140 on Maui due to the strict guidelines that wrestlers must follow in their weight loss program,” Miller said.

Kamehameha has more than 20 girls out for wrestling, but are not able to fill the 11 different weight classes.  “Most of the girls are in the same weight, so I have the numbers but will find myself having a hard time filling the different weight divisions,” Miller said.

On the boys side Kamehameha is very young and will have some holes to fill going into the season.  “We had a hard time retaining boys due to the vigorous training we put them through,” Miller said.  “I’m hoping we will be able to fill as many of the weight classes prior to the start of the regular season.”

Hawaii Preparatory Academy returns BIIF champions Bronson Kobayashi, 145, and Keoni Colson, 152 and Coach Gary Jarvill has high hopes for Marie Donahue.  “Our boy’s team will be well balanced this season with many returning wrestlers that are seniors,” Coach Jarvill said.

“Marie (Donahue) will be tough at 114-120,” Jarvill said.  “She earned second place at Maui and should be a leader on our girl’s squad.”

Despite some preseason losses the HPA coaching staff remains optimistic of a good season.  “I took six wrestlers to the Officials Tournament on Oahu for more pre-season matches, but none of them made it into the top six,” Jarvill said.  “We did well for the amount of practice time we have had thus far.”

The BIIF wrestling season officially begins on Saturday, Jan. 2, with an all schools meet at Konawaena High School.

December 30, 2009 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment