Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Kealakehe boys wrestling team to contend for BIIF Team Title

Allin Franco

Kealakehe hosted a Big Island Interscholastic Federation all schools wrestling meet on Saturday and left little doubt that their boy’s team is a contender for the league title this season.

Several of their athletes stepped up to have impressive performances which left a lasting impression on their competition with the season winding down into its final two weeks.

Allin Franco could certainly have been considered the headliner for Kealakehe on Saturday as the 140 pounder went a perfect 4-0 on the day winning three of his matches by pin and the other with an impressive 10-1 victory.

“I try not to tie up in the beginning of my matches and let my opponents come to me,” Franco said.  “Once they come in I’ll then take my shot.”

The Waverider senior admits that having more experience plays an important role in his overall success.

“This is my fourth year of wrestling and most of my competition is in their first or second year,” he said.  

Franco, the BIIF runner up last season, usually goes for arm drags and then switches to a single before taking down his opponents which leads to a one wrist grab and a tilt that has brought his overall BIIF season record to 14-1.

Continuing the Waverider tradition of talented ‘Rider wrestlers was defending BIIF champion Robin Arellano in the 114 weight division.

“Robin is one of our team captains and certainly will help us in our quest of a team title,” Waverider coach Mike Ciotti said.  “He went 3-1 on Saturday and is now 10-1 on the season.”

Arellano, a senior, brings a quick takedown technique to the mat as his success lies in getting that first take down while he pushes the offense.

His three wins came as a result of having a good bar series on top while executing a barbed wire and chicken wing maneuvers.

“Robin has a good arsenal of maneuvers and is quick on his feet,” Ciotti said.  “He’s also good at escaping from the down position while he continues to press the pace.”

Waverider teammate Asaiah Guieb, 145, went 3-1, losing his first BIIF match of the season which brings him to an overall 13-1 record.

“I lost a close, 6-5 match to a Waiakea guy that I had previously wrestled during preseason,” Guieb said.  “I learned from that match and will come into it next time better prepared.”

Guieb didn’t let his only loss of the year deter his nearly perfect day; winning his three other matches by pin.

“I had an alright day,” Guieb said.  “I used basic moves to get my pins and I know how to read my opponents trying to stay a step ahead of them.”

All three of Guieb’s pins came by using the half nelson and a cradle while being able to react quickly to his opponents opening advances and think at a supersonic pace to outmaneuver the competition.

Guieb a senior is determined to challenge for the overall BIIF individual title when it comes up at Kamehameha on February 18.

“I didn’t even place in the top three last year and have not gone on to states,” Guieb said.  “But being a senior this year I not only want to win the BIIF title, I’d also like to medal at the state championships.”

Guieb contributes much of his success this season to doing extra training on his own, after practice.

“I run on my own everyday and lift weights three times a week on my own,” he said. 

Teammate Dan Gampon, 120, is faced each week at being in one of the toughest divisions in the BIIF.

Gampon carries a 13-5 overall season record. His only loses has come from the defending BIIF champion Kamehameha’s Nalu Souza, and the BIIF runner up Konawaena’s Sage Aoki.

On Saturday Gampon had four matches going 3-1 with his only loss to Aoki by a 13-5 score.

“I feel pretty honored to be in one of the toughest weight classes,” Gampon said.  “Nalu and Sage make me better every time I wrestle because I learn from them and they teach me a lot.”

Gampon’s three wins came from impressive scores against Hilo, winning by 15 points, Keaau 13-5, and Honokaa, 12-6, opponents.

“I still need to find that one little thing that is missing,” Gampon said.  “I need to raise my confidence level and believe in myself.”

Gampon, a gritty wrestler, who often raises his level of intensity by being aggressive in his matches, has raised his level to one of the best at 120.

“Competition is the best thing about wrestling,” he said.  “This weight class brings out the best in me.”

The Waveriders boy’s team seems to have the balance and numbers to be a possible contender this season for the team title.

Coach Ciotti

Coach Ciotti was pleased with his overall team performance and he gave kudos to their grit and determination.

“We have a solid team from top to bottom that is committed,” Ciotti said.  “We carry 25 boys and 8 girls and I believe we are a contender for the boy’s team title.”

Ciotti needed to split his time between hosting the all schools meet and coaching while trying to provide three matches to the 100 boys and 50 girls that were there to wrestle.

“It was hard for me to actually coach today, but what I saw from our kids is that they are starting to show toughness at the right point in the season,” Ciotti said.

Despite the difficulty of hosting an all schools meet Ciotti benefited from the advantage of being home.

“We don’t have to get up early in the morning and travel several hours, which means the kids can sleep in and wrestling in a familiar place in front of their home crowd,” Ciotti said.

The BIIF venue moves to an East/West format on Saturday with Pahoa hosting the East side and Honokaa hosting the West. 

February 7, 2012 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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

Several BIIF Wrestlers advance to HHSAA semi finals

Two of the BIIF’s best in the 120 division, Nalu Souza and Sage Aoki

Kamehameha’s Nalu Souza and Konawaena’s Sage Aoki just met on the mat to decide Big Island supremacy. There’s a chance they could clash again today with an even bigger prize on the line: a state wrestling title.

Souza and Aoki both won a pair of matches Friday at the Hawaii High School Athletic Association championships. They were among nine Big Island Interscholastic Federation wrestlers who advanced to today’s semifinals at Honolulu’s Blaisdell Arena.

On the girls side, Kamehameha’s Megan Aina, the only state champion that the BIIF produced last season, reached the final four in the 100-pound division.

Six days after he bested Aoki to win the BIIF’s 120 final, Souza opened by beating Maryknoll’s Brendan Chang in the round of 16 and then he took a 7-5 decision against Pearl City’s Gabriel Iereneo-Baring to set up a match today with Punahou’s Evan Yamamoto.

On the other side of the bracket, Aoki scored 10-7 decisions against Hawaii Baptist’s Rick Viveiros and Maui’s Jarrin-Lee Cabo. He’ll face Kaiser’s Ryan Nakagawa in the semifinals.

Souza’s teammate and four-time league champion Justin Hirae lost in the quarterfinal at 127.

Tyler Yonemori

Looking to add a wrestling title to the state judo crown he won last year, Waiakea’s Tyler Yonemori advanced to the 142 semifinals by winning two decisions.

At 137, Keaau’s Cheyden Quiocho pinned Iolani’s Ryan Chang and survived to beat Lahainaluna’s Puali Sol Omon-Camanse 5-4. Today in the semifinals, he’ll face the defending state champion, Shayden Terukina of Kamehameha-Kapalama.

Out to improve on her third-place finish as a freshman last year, Konawaena’s Tanalei Louis reached the semifinals by edging Mid-Pacific’s Shannon Paaaina 2-1. Earlier, Louis pinned Kalaheo’s Nia Auelua 1:59 into their match.

Aina, a three-time league champion, pinned Kapolei’s Kaelynn Canyete in the quarterfinals after she opened by beating Aiea’s Candice Segi in the round of 16.

Rustee Johansen (132) will also wrestle for the BIIF champion Lady Warriors in the semifinals.  Joining Johansen in the semi’s will be teammate Akoakoa Paleka-Kennedy in the heavy weight division at 287.

Two Big Island wrestlers received byes before winning quarterfinal matches. Waiakea’s Tracy Poch (177) needed only 51 seconds to beat Roosevelt’s Brianna Jeffries, and Ka’u’s Kieni Mello-Waiwaiole pinned Radford’s Brayanne Moe at 1:37.

February 12, 2011 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BIIF Wrestling Championships – Results

BIIF Wrestling Crew, under head official Elton Suganuma, back row, second from left.

BIIF Wrestling Championships at Onizuka Gym
                   Saturday, Feb. 5   Konawaena High School   Final Boys Team Scoring
Waiakea 137.5    Hilo 130    Kona 116.5    Kamehameha 112.5
Kealakehe 106   Honokaa 99   Keaau 70    HPA 57     Pahoa 45   Laupahoehoe 25   Ka’u 0   Kohala 0

Individual Division
108 pounds
  1. Justin Raymond, Konawaena  2. William Spain, Waiakea
3. Blake Ahuleki, Kealakehe  4. Serafin Samorano, Keaau

114 pounds  1. Robin Arellano, Kealakehe   2. Warren Buenavista, Konawaena
3. Quitin Wright, Kamehameha  4. Ryan Fujioka, HPA

120 pounds  1. Nalu Souza, Kamehameha  2. Sage Aoki, Konawaena 3. Dan Gampon, Kealakehe  4. Max Hirata, HPA

125 pounds  1. Justin Hirae, Kamehameha  2. Brendan Branco, Hilo
3. Akeno Matsutani, Waiakea  4. Jesse Kihe-Fukuyama, Konawaena

130 pounds  1. Jordan Enos, Hilo   2. Shannon Samura, HPA  3. Charles Aina, Kamehameha  4. Kona Phipps, Konawaena

135 pounds  1. Cheyden Quiocho, Keaau   2. Max Oishi, Hilo  3. Kenneth Pang, Waiakea   4. Caleb Cohan, Pahoa

140 pounds  1. Tyler Yonemori, Waiakea   2. Allin Franco, Kealakehe  3. Jesse Huihui, Keaau   4. Henry Engler, Hilo

145 pounds  1. Pat Enos, Waiakea  2. Jacob Murphy, Hilo  3. Elvis Cardoza, Honokaa  4. Jake Torres, Pahoa

152 pounds   1. Cody Maarsingh, Honokaa  2. Jens Beets, Hilo  3. Patrick Enos, Jr., Waiakea  4. Kileona Manzano, Konawaena

160 pounds 1. Isiah Kanakanui, Hilo   2. Dylan Coffel, Pahoa  3. Jordan Maglinti, Waiakea  4. Russell Laros, HPA

171 pounds 1. Harry Auwelua, Honokaa  2. CJ Matsuyama, Kamehameha 3. Kayed Rodrigues, Waiakea  4. John Genesarin, Konawaena

189 pounds 1. Geo Chavez-Pardini, Honokaa  2. John Postrano, Konawaena   3. Treyven Ahquin-Fely, Keaau  4. Christian Park, Kealakehe

215 pounds   1. Tim Ekert, Kealakehe   2. Troy Choi, HPA  3. Kema Chin, Kamehameha  4. Kainoa Lyman, Honokaa

285 pounds
1. Akoakoa Paleka-Kennedy, Kamehameha  2. Kekai Obrey, Kealakehe  3. Keanu Showm Laupahoehoe   4. Zephanaiah Pawao, Waiakea

Final Girls Team Scoring
Kamehameha 132   Konawaena 120   Hilo 81.5   Waiakea 60  HPA 48   Ka’u 30   Kealakehe 27   Honokaa 7

Individual Division
98 pounds
   1. Megan Aina, Kamehameha  2. Kela Vargas, HPA  3. Christine Presidiaos, Konawaena

103 pounds  1. Sam Neal, HPA  2. Cara Naakayama, Waiakea 3. Jharmine Postrano, Konawaena

108 pounds  1. Haley Delos-Santos, Konawaena  2. Sha Pagan, Hilo  3. Kanoe Padaken, Kamehameha

114 pounds  1. Desting Masters, Kealakehe  2. Jacqueline Moctezuma, Konawaena  3. Phoebe Oda, Kamehameha

120 pounds  1. Kawehi Lopez, Kamehameha  2. Lena Mello-Waiwaiole, Ka’u  3. Kelsi Nishima, HPA

125 pounds  1. Tanalei Louis, Konawaena  2. Noelle Pohina, Kamehameha  3. Hillary Luna, Hilo  4. Kawena Kuamoo-Mendida, Waiakea

130 pounds 1. Rustee Johansen, Kamehameha  2. Melissa Dumaguin, Konawaena 3. Sharrylei Fernandez, Hilo  4. Katie Holdcroft, HPA

140 pounds  1. Alexa Osburn, Kamehameha   2. Kanani Silva, Waiakea   3. Kaylan Kawakami, Hilo  4. Alyssa Cagawas, Honokaa

155 pounds  1. Kainolani Lee, Hilo   2. Chantel Pohina, Kamehameha  3. Kaua Mitchell, Konawaena  4. Allison Felix, Kealakehe

175 pounds   1. Tracy Poch, Waiakea   2. Jasmine Iuta, Kamehameha  3. Kawehi Housman, Hilo   4. Aimee Shiraki, Konawaena

220 pounds   1. Keani Mello-Waiwaiole, Ka’u   2. Sharon Manaarpca, Hilo

February 7, 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