(More from the first day of the Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association conference. Story is in this morning’s edition, just adding some extra info.)
HHSAA wrestling official Keith Matsumoto points to Hawaii teams in 1999 and ’02 as sterling examples.
“Between those two teams, those girls, we literally could’ve had an opportunity to have four out of four girls in the Olympics from Hawaii. That was my dream. The girls we had were good enough to represent the women’s team for the US. That’s how much talent we have,” he said.
“Last year we took a bunch of girls to the Cadet Nationals (freestyle), and Hawaii won it as a team. There’s a lot of firsts that Hawaii girls wrestling has achieved.”
The biggest obstacle to additions, as with any sport, is cost.
“The economy is still not great,” Matsumoto added. “The HHSAA provides some support, but these kids gotta raise money. Same like the US Olympic team. It’s all fundraising. They don’t get money from the US for that.”
Former OIA and HHSAA chief Dwight Toyama is thumbs up on the proposal.
“We need the numbers,” he said, noting Title IX.
The proposal has supporters from large and small schools.
“I’ve never had a wrestler,” said Academy of the Pacific AD Ryan Hogue, who is in favor of it.
Having more girls divisions helps programs that may have two wrestlers at a similar weight range.
“When you have fewer weight classes, kids get bunched together,” said Honokaa assistant AD Kahea Schuckert. “Now you can split them up.”
Straw votes are not official, and every year there are complete turnarounds in day-2 committee votes that erased any first-day, straw-vote momentum. Of course, there have been proposals that zipped through HIADA only to be shot to bits by the HHSAA board.
“I’m sure it could be that way again this year,” Mililani principal Dr. John Brummel said. “You never know.”