Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

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

BIIF Wrestlers Do Well at Officials Meet on Oahu

Kona’s Tanalei Louis proudly displays her 2nd place medal

Waiakea’s Tracy Poch made a name for herself over the weekend as the junior claimed top honors in the 175 pound weight division in what is considered the biggest wrestling tournament in the State of Hawaii.

“I took five boys and two girls over to Oahu to compete in the Officials Wrestling Tournament and Tracy came away with a first place title and Tyler Yonemori took second for the boys’ 145 division,” Waiakea assistant coach Preston Sato said during a phone interview.

“This was the largest wrestling tournament in the state with over 900 participants,” Sato said.  “The event allowed us to test our moves and gain valuable experience.”

The Waiakea coach believes that Poch has the ability to win the state title at 155 or 175 pounds.

“Tracy was second in the state last year at 155,” Sato said.  “She’s learned a lot during the past year and she continues to improve at each practice and she can be tough at either weight division, although we’re going to try to compete her at the 155 division.”

Tracy Poch

“I’ve been working hard during my training this season,” Poch said.  “With effort and good coaching I think I can defend my BIIF title at 155 and win at states.”

Sato returned to Hilo with his athletes on Sunday evening then was planning on leaving Monday to take them to the Maui Tournament.

Yonemori in just his second year of competitive wrestling worked his way through the championship bracket winning his first and third matches by pin and winning his second match by a 10 to 3 score.

“This was a good experience for me and I learned a lot by participating over the weekend,” Yonemori said.  “My only loss was in the finals when I was outscored by Chance Uyeda of Lahainalua.”

Tyler Yonemori

Yonemori the defending Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion at 140 pounds is also a state judo champion and is expected to compete at the higher weight class this season.

Hilo’s Jordan Enos placed third in the 130 division as Viking Coach Alex Kalawe brought three boys and one girl to compete at Leilehua.

“We invited our returnees and those with the best chance for success,” Kalawe said.  “Jordan was our best finisher and our lone girl managed to take fifth place in her division.”

“I had six matches and I won five and lost one,” Enos said.  “My best move was the outside low single where I do a low squat and instead of shooting for the ankles I do a spin around move.”

Enos, now in his senior year, comes to the mat more confident and motivated to do well.

“It’s my senior year and I plan on winning the BIIF at 130 pounds and then place at states,” he said. 

Perennial BIIF boy’s team champions, Kealakehe, also took a squad of six boys along with one girl to compete.

“We need to get more experience and a higher level of competition during a shortened BIIF season,” WaveRider Coach Mike Ciotti said.

Konawaena, sophomore Tanelei Louis, made it all the way to the finals in the 130 bracket before dropping the match to the defending state champion Mindy Chow from Punahou.

“I had three matches prior to facing Mindy,” Louis said.  “I won all three by pin with two coming in a barbed wire and the other in a reverse half.”

Louis, the BIIF champ at 125 as a freshman last year, believes that she will return to that weight class to defend her title.

“I have a lot of confidence from my Dad who works with me and teaches me about wrestling,” she said.

Wildcat teammate Sage Aoki, competing in the 120 class, received a controversial disqualification in his first match for what the officials considered a “slam.”

“We questioned the call,” Kona coach and Sage’s dad, Mark Aoki said.  “We didn’t think that was the right call, but it was considered an opening match loss and Sage was forced into the consolation bracket.”

“I was riding the guy from the back and when he stood up I came in front of him for a double leg flip and he landed on his shoulder and wasn’t able to continue,” Sage Aoki said.

Aoki who won the BIIF title last year at 108 has bulked up to 120 will compete during the season at the higher weight class.

“I wanted to get bigger and stronger so I did a lot of weight training during the summer,” Aoki said.

Aoki had an easy time as he went undefeated during six matches in the consolation bracket to take third place overall during the tournament.

“Despite my first match loss I had a good experience and was able to get in a lot of matches where I could practice a variety of moves,” Aoki said.

Pearl City won the girls team scoring title with Waiakea being the highest scoring BIIF team at 14 place out of 27 teams competing.

For the boys it was Punahou winning with Hilo coming in at 21 out of 32 teams.

December 23, 2010 Posted by | Wrestling | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment