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Running with the Big Dog

Three BIIF Wrestlers Make Finals of HHSAA Wrestling State Championships

Aoki

Three Big Island Interscholastic Federation wrestlers had a shot at making history during Saturday’s Hawaii High School Athletic Federation state championships held at the Blaisdell Arena on Oahu.

Kamehameha’s Akoakoa Paleka-Kennedy the defending state heavyweight champion, Konawaena’s Sage Aoki, 120, and Keaau’s Cheyden Quiocho, 135, all took center stage to wrestle for a state championship.

In the final championship match of the day it was Paleka-Kennedy needing to get by Molokai’s Spencer Basa in order to repeat as state champion as the two largest boys, 285, in the championships took to the mat.

“This one is even sweeter than last year,” Paleka-Kennedy said of his second state crown.  “I had a huge target coming into this year’s championship as everyone was after me, so it means so much more to win.”

Paleka-Kennedy won the championship finale by a score of 5-2 earning his points on an escape, a takedown and on technical points when the referee called Basa for stalling.

“I had to work really hard as there was good competition,” Paleka-Kennedy said.  “All the hard work, putting in the long hours paid off today.”

Paleka-Kennedy ended his high school athletic career on top as he will shift his focus on other things.

The Warrior senior earned his way into the finals by winning four matches, three by pin and the other on points.

“I will concentrate on football and academics for the rest of the year as I prepare to attend Arizona Western of a football scholarship,” he said.

Aoki, a senior, looked at facing Maryknoll’s Brendan Chang to earn his first ever state championship.

“This was my last chance to win the state championship and I gave it everything I could,” Aoki said.  “My sister, Alexandra, finished two state championships as a runner up and I wanted to win it all.”

Aoki went the full three rounds in the finals to earn the victory by a 3 to 1 score.

“I got a take down in the first period using a single leg to earn two points then in the second period  got another point when the ref said there was a technical violation,” Aoki said.

Aoki needed to win three matches during the two day tournament to earn the right to face Chang in the finals.

“I wrestled some really good guys and won my matches by take downs using the tilt move,” Aoki said.

The Wildcat credited his judo experience as preparing him to be a better defensive wrestler.

“Judo gave me good defensive skills as I kept my distance when my opponents tried to shoot on me,” he said.  “I had seen him (Chang) wrestle and I knew I needed to stay away from being tied up.”

“This was a huge win for me,” Aoki said after the finals.  “I had finished fourth last year and I really wanted this one.”

Quiocho had the most pressure on his back as the senior Cougar was attempting to become the first state champion in the school’s history.

“I knew what was at stake and winning the state championship is a goal that I had set coming into the season,” Quiocho said.  “I wanted to be the first state champion in our schools history and I worked really hard this season to achieve it.”

Standing in the way of Quiocho’s dream was Mililani’s Chase Tantog as the pair squared off on the mat.

“I tried and gave it my all, so I can’t grumble,” Quiocho said of his second place medal.

The Cougar lost a close battle by a 5 to 2 score and it was his second loss of the season to Tantog.

“He used the same move on me that he did at Leilehua earlier in the season,” he said.  “I should have been better prepared when he came at me with using the broom stick move, but I wasn’t ready for it.”

Quiocho earned his way to the finals by winning three matches all in convincing fashion by scores of 16-2, 14-4 and 5-2.

“I wasn’t happy after the finals match but I don’t deserve what I don’t earn,” Quiocho said. 

The 2010 HHSAA state champion, Kamehameha’s Megan Aina, 103, lost one match and finished third overall.

“I ended up losing to this year’s state champion from Aiea by two points,” Aina said.  “In the third place match I won by a pin in the second round.”

Aina went for her classic chicken wing move in her attempt for the third place medal.

“The chicken wing worked for me the entire season, but when I went for it today it wasn’t there,” she said.  “So I had to roll her over and press her down to get the pin.”

Waiakea junior Pat Enos, 152, also claimed a third place medal by a 6-4 score in a  sweet victory over Kamehameha-Kapalama’s Andrew Kahalewai who had beat him last year in the HHSAA championships third place match.

“Last year he won by one point and I finished fourth,” Enos said.  “I’m pretty happy with the way things turned out because I got the early lead on a takedown and then put him on his back in the second period.”

Kamehameha’s Welina Tong, 175, was the biggest surprise as the first year wrestler lost only one match over the two days to claim a third place medal.

“My only goal was to win the BIIF title, so today was just something extra,” Tong said.  “I won four of my matches by pin using just basic, simple moves like the half.”

Other BIIF wrestlers to make it to day two of the HHSAA were:

Konawaena:  Justin Raymond 108, Aimee Shiraki 220

Hilo High:      Kaylan “Lahi” Kanakanui 140

Kamehameha:  Chantel Pohina 130, Jasmine Iuta 155,    Sky “Nalu” Kekona Souza 120

 Kealakehe:      Robin Arellano 114,  Allin Franco 140

  Waiakea:       Kara Nakayama  103, Tanalei Louis 125,  

    Kau:             Keani Mello-Waiwaiole 220

 HPA:              Troy Choi 215

Related link:  https://waynejoseph.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/17-biif-wrestlers-headed-to-day-2-in-hhsaa-state-championships/

March 4, 2012 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

17 BIIF wrestlers headed to day 2 in HHSAA state championships

The following 17 Big Island Interscholastic Federation Wrestlers will be on the mat today (3.3.12) in the finals and consolation brackets of the HHSAA state wrestling championships being held on Oahu

 

Konawaena:  Justin Raymond 108 lb

            Sage Aoki 120 lb

            Aimee Shiraki 220 lb

Hilo High:  Kaylan “Lahi” Kanakanui 140 lb

Kamehameha:  Megan Aina 103 lb, Chantel Pohina 130 lb, Jasmine Iuta 155 lb, Welina Tong 175 lb

      Sky “Nalu” Kekona Souza,       Akoakoa Paleka-Kennedy  285 

 Kealakehe:  Robin Arellano 114 lb,  Allin Franco 140 lb

  Keaau:      Cheyden Quiocho 135 lb

   Waiakea:    Kara Nakayama  103 lb, Tanalei Louis  125 lb, Pat Enos

    Kau:        Keani Mello-Waiwaiole 220 lb

    HPA:        Troy Choi 215 lb

March 3, 2012 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kamehameha Wrestling Seniors lead the way on and off the mat

L to R: Pohina, Osburn, Padaken, Roland and Chin

PAHOA – Experience does matter and the Warriors of Kamehameha took full advantage of their senior power during the Big Island Interscholastic Federation regular wrestling season finale on Saturday at Pahoa Gym.

“We have 12 seniors with 5 boys and 7 girls,” Warrior coach Brendan Courtot said.  “Those seniors provide us with a pretty good nucleus, not just in wrestling but in leadership.”

Kamehameha put their senior power to the test, taking advantage of their opponents in a variety of weight classes.

On the girl’s side of the mat Kanoe Padaken (108), Alexia Osburn  (140) and Chantel Pohina (130) were priming their skills prior to the BIIF championships which will be held on Feb 18.

Kamehameha girls, the two time defending team champions, left little doubt that they are on a quest for their three peat.

Padaken used a hand and arm to take her opponent down then went for a head squeeze followed by a double chicken wing to win her match by pin in the first round.

Placing third in the BIIF championships last year Padaken uses her experience to boost her confidence.

“This year I am putting everything I have into every match,” Padaken said.  “I now have more focus as I try to improve my game plan.”

Padaken, undefeated this season at 108, started the season at 114 but has dropped the weight to help the Warrior weight class balance for another team title.

Pohina won her opening match against a Keaau opponent by a score of 15-7.

“I snapped her down and went for the gator roll, but accidentally put myself on my back,” Pohina said. “

Pohina managed to reverse the mistake by escaping from the bottom position, placing herself back on top, extending a sprawl and kept her opponent down as time ran out.

Pohina’s only BIIF losses this season came at the hands of Waiakea’s Tanalei Louis and Hilo’s Lahi Kanakanui.

“I won all my other matches this season, but lost two to Tanalei and one time to Lahi,” she said.  “I think my overall BIIF record is 11-3.”

Last season Pohina wrestled at 155 and placed second in the BIIF.   At her current 130 Pohina has an unblemished league record, as her three loses came outside her 130 division.

“I still need to work harder and have a stronger mentality,” she said.  “Experience matters as I am the only senior in the 130 division.”

At 140 is Alexia Osburn who won both her Saturday matches on points against Waiakea and Hilo opponents.

“I felt sluggish and wasn’t feeling all that great, but I got the opportunity to get the Waiakea girl for a sprawl and the take down,” Osburn said. 

In her second match Osburn used pressure to do wrist rolls on the Viking to claim her second victory of the day.

For the Warrior boys it was seniors Jason Rowland (145) and Ryan Chin (189) fine tuning their skills.

Chin won his first match by pin against a Pahoa opponent, coming in high to get a single leg take down, followed by a half nelson to gain the first round pin.

“I think I can do better,” Chin said.  “There is lots of room for improvement as I am not consistent and have my on and off days.”

Chin extended his overall BIIF record to 10-2 and attributes much of his success to having a good attitude and strong work ethic.

“I’m always trying to get better by having better mental imaging and focusing on winning,” Chin said.

Last season Chin placed second in the BIIF in the 215 division and has dropped the weight to make himself more competitive.

Rowland also claimed a first round pin against a Hilo opponent, making the first take down by sprawling out after the Viking took a shot.

“I flipped him over and placed him in a half nelson,” Rowland said.  “I have good shots and like to work the double leg while I set up my game plan.”

Warrior teammate CJ Matsuyama (171) needed to sit the day out with a high ankle sprain, but plays an important role in the Kamehameha’s boy’s quest for a team title, according to Coach Courtot.

State heavyweight champion Kamehameha’s Akoakoa Paleka-Kennedy continued his domination while keeping his two year unblemished mark intact by winning his only match of the day at Pahoa.

“Our girl’s team is solid, with our boy’s team needing to give up three weight classes,” Coach Courtot said.

While the Daggers were hosting the Eastside schools Honokaa played host to the Westside as the BIIF season concluded with dual island wide meets.

 

Two Dragons boys that have been going through the season with mat experience and skill are Christian Silva, 215, and James Marlin at 171.

 

Silva, who had never won a match last season is an even 8-8 this year.

 

On Saturday Silva, a junior, went 1-2 getting his lone win by pin in the second round.

 

“I used a cross grab and flipped him onto his back, then held and pressed,” Silva said.  “I lost one at 215 and my other loss came at 285 as my coach (Dan Whetstone) wanted me to bump up to gain more experience.”

 

Marlin went 2-1 on Saturday, winning both matches by pin, while extending his overall BIIF record to 22-5.

 

“I won both on second round pins using the cradle in one match and the head and arm in the other,” Marlin said.  “My loss was by a score of 11-9 and part of that was because I lost points when the ref called me for stalling.”

 

Marlin expects to be a contender for the BIIF individual crown, but knows that he stills needs some work with his cardio and speed.

 

The BIIF individual and team championships will be held on Saturday at Kamehameha with action getting under way at 10 am.

 

February 13, 2012 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Waiakea Wrestling Coaches trying to fly under the Radar

WHS coach

Stealth was the key word at Waiakea as the Big Island Interscholastic Federation wrestling season continued on Saturday, with the public school Warriors trying to avoid detection of their talented team.

“We’re trying to fly under the radar and not let the other schools know what we have,” Warrior coach Preston Sato said.Waiakea is the defending boy’s team champion in BIIF wrestling, but are attempting to disguise what they might have as the season heads into its final weeks.

“We continue the coaching philosophy of our former coach, Patrick Marquart, who believed in discipline and the entire program is modeled after him.” Sato said,Marquart coached the Warriors from 1996 to 2001 according to Sato and Coach Sato along with assistant coach, Nick Galloway, wrestled for the legendary Warrior coach.Galloway, a 2003 and Sato, a 2001 graduate of Waiakea have both returned to continue as mentors.

“Coach Marquart always helped us become better wrestlers and as a result become better people in life,” Galloway said.  “He had a great program which we try to emulate today.”Haraguichi

“We carry 16 boys and 7 girls and defending the league title will be a lot tougher this season, Coach Stan Haraguchi said.  “It will come down to who wants it more, who works the hardest and who has the fewest injuries.”MaglintiLeading the Warrior boys is senior Jordan Maglinti at 152 pounds who won his opening match against a Pahoa opponent by a score of 11-1.“I haven’t lost a match this season as I go for just the basic moves of double leg and half nelson,” Maglinti said. “I’m not a great wrestler, I’m just okay and all these other kids work hard too.”Despite his undefeated BIIF season Maglinti, a senior, believes that he needs to work harder at practice to be able to contend for the league championship.“I just want to wrestle as hard as I can and if I win or lose it doesn’t matter, as long as I tried my best,” he said. Ikehara

Also flying under the radar for Waiakea is Alan Ikehara a tenth grader in his first year of wrestling.

Ikehara, 140, won his opening match against a Hawaii Preparatory Academy opponent by putting him in a half then pressing his weight down to get the second round pin.

“I took him down in the first period then put him in a reverse leading into the half,” Ikehara said.  “My double leg take down works well, but I still need to work on the single leg.”

Ikehara, a surfer, goes into every match with a positive attitude as his dad; a former high school wrestler encouraged him to enter the sport.

“I go onto the mat to try to win every match and I always try to do the best that I can,” he said,

Keoni Rice, at 135, adds to the Waiakea firepower and remains undefeated in league competition.

“I’m 7-0 and today I bumped up to 140 for better competition,” Rice said.  “I try to take advantage of my opponent’s weaknesses and faults.”

Rice, a junior, ran cross country during the off season and believes the transition to wrestling has helped.

“Cross country has helped me stay in shape and develop more stamina,” he said.  “Wrestling also helped my running because of the high intensity of the sport.”

Louis

For the Warrior girls there is no hiding Tanalei Louis who comes in as the state runner up at 125 pounds and is undefeated in BIIF competition.

Louis faced stiff opposition in Kamehameha’s Noelle Pohina and used a barbed wire move to secure the pin in the second period to move her league record to 15-0.   The two combatants had faced each other last season for the BIIF championships with Louis again coming out on top.

“Everything is going as planned at this point in the season,” Louis said.  “Noelle probably gave me my toughest match so far this season.”

Louis has never been in serious trouble this season as she has fluctuated between 125 and 130 pound weight divisions.

“My dad helps me a lot in my wrestling as he wrestled for Hilo High when he was in high school,” Louis said.  “My dad is my biggest supporter and I appreciate his always being there for me.”

Waiakea Teammate Skye Matsuura, 120, dropped a close match to Kamehameha’s Phoebe Oda by a score of 10 to 4.  The loss dropped the sophomore to a 3-4 season record

“My mom made me come out for wrestling as she is a black belt in judo,” Matsuura said.  “I’m glad I joined as I like it now as it is a good sport.”

Matsuura believes she still needs to work on building muscle and getting in better shape.

“I need to work on my cardio and my staying in position before matches,” Matsuura said.  “My stand up works good as I fight for hand control.”

Waiakea hosted the day long all schools meet which showcased some of the best wrestlers on the island

“It’s very difficult to coach and host a wrestling tournament,” Coach Stan Haraguichi said.  “Fortunately I have a good staff and great kids.”

BIIF action continues on Saturday with a East meet at Hilo and the West meet at HPA.  Both venues begin at 10 am.

January 24, 2012 Posted by | Running on the Big Island, Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BIIF Wrestling from Konawaena – Who let the Cats Out?

Troy Gibson Jr., gains an advantage over his Wildcat opponent

Who let the Cats Out?   That’s what wrestlers from around the Big Island Interscholastic Federation were wondering when they exited the Konawaena Gym on Saturday after a grueling day on the mats.The host Wildcats were short on numbers and experience, according to Coach Mark Aoki, but huge on heart and determination as Sage Aoki, 120, Justin Raymond, 108, and Aimee Shiraki, 220, came up with big matches.Shiraki was unstoppable going 3-0 while winning all of her matches by pins against formidable opponents from Kau, Pahoa and Hilo.“I like the outside single move,” Shiraki said.  “Sometimes I get too ambitious with my moves and get caught off balance.”Shiraki attributes a great part of her wrestling success to judo as the sophomore comes onto the mat as the BIIF defending judo champion.Judo has definitely helped me in wrestling,” she said.  “I like wrestling because it is different and I like the competition and the chance to meet new people.”

Shiriki

Shiraki made it to the state championships last year as a freshman, but missed medaling by one match.

“My goal is to make it back to states this time around and to hopefully medal,” Shiraki said.

Aoki and Raymond are defending BIIF champions and they looked primed to repeat, having extremely competitive     matches which should pay big dividends by the end of the season.

Gibson

Kamehameha sophomore Troy Gibson, wrestling at 135, had a perfect day on the mat winning all three of his matches, two by pin and the other by 17-0 score.

“I beat two Pahoa and one Kona guy,” Gibson said.  “My favorite pinning combination is the cradle move, but I still need to work on my cardio.”

According to Gibson he has been building endurance by running on his own before practice and working on his muscle mass by doing weight training with his father.

“I’ve always liked wrestling since middle school because I like the one on one action and there are no excuses when you lose,” Gibson said.

Gibson’s goals for the season are straight forward.

“My goal is to be the best student athlete that I can be,” he said.  “I’m not looking beyond just being the best that I can possible be.”

Souza vs Aoki

In what is considered the premiere match up of the day it was Kona’s Sage Aoki going against Kamehameha’s Nalu Kekona-Souza.

Aoki is the defending BIIF champion at 108 and bumped up a weight class to challenge the slightly bigger Souza at 125.

“I admire Sage for bumping up to face one of the best wrestlers in the league,” Warrior Coach Brendan Courtot said.  “Sage wrestled up to challenge himself and gain better competition.”

The tough match up against Kekona-Souza went the distance with Souza winning on points by a score of 14 to 3.

Kekona-Souza went a perfect 3-0 in Kona and believes that his match up with Aoki was the best that he can find in the BIIF.

“Sage is great competition and when he gets on top he is a hammer as he always comes into the match with the right attitude.”

Kekona-Souza is the two time defending BIIF champion at 120 pounds, but will look to win his third league title at 125.

“I’m hoping to be a three time BIIF champion and to go on to win a state title,” he said.  “I came in second at states this past year at 120 and I’m pretty happy with my wrestling performance, but I still want to get better.”

Kekona-Souza is a perfect 6-0 in BIIF completion this season and beat Aoki by using a single leg take down, putting the Wildcat on his back to score enough points to be awarded the tough win.

Also delivering a perfect 3-0 record in the Wildcat gym was Kamehameha’s Charlie Aina in the 130 weight class.

“I had wins against Pahoa, Keaau and Kona with my toughest match coming against the Kona wrestler,” Aina said.

Aina, a junior, won his first match by a 17-2 score and pinned his Keaau opponent before going the distance in his third and final match to scratch out a narrow 4-2 victory.

“In most of my wins I use an ankle pick,” Aina said.  “I have good endurance and I have really good conditioning which helped me in my final match on Saturday.”

Aina also comes from a judo background which helps him in his wrestling.

“I condition year round for judo and I run on my own and lift weights on the weekends,” Aina said.

“I’m hoping I can take the BIIF title, but I know I need to improve my attacks as I tend to wait too long,” Aina said.

If Aina’s last name sounds familiar it is because sister, Megan Aina, is a former state wrestling champion who continues to make great strides in her mat performance at Kamehameha.

Present in the Wildcat gym, but staying on the bleachers was Waiakea standout Tanalei Louis at 130.  Louis is a perfect 9 and 0 in BIIF competition but decided to sit out at Kona.

“I’m nursing an ear infection and just wanted to watch and cheer on my team,” Louis said.  “I should be ready to compete next week when we are at Keaau.”

The BIIF wrestling season continues on Saturday with an all-schools meet at Keaau starting at 10 am.

January 9, 2012 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment