Some wrestling families in Hawaii keep putting competitors on the mat generation after generation or year after year.
The Cooper family is one of them — dad Ray Cooper was a state runner-up and his sons Raynald Cooper, Blake Cooper, Baylen Cooper and Makoa Cooper have all won state titles.
And now comes the girl, who will have three more tries at a state championship of her own. Pearl City’s Makana Cooper, a sophomore, won the OIA West title in the 122-pound division at her home gym Saturday with a pin of Kapolei’s Madison Stephenson in the final.
She is trying to follow the family legacy by having success at the OIA championships Friday and Saturday, and at states in February.
“I’m pretty focused,” said Cooper, who placed fifth at states at 112 a year ago and placed second in December at the Officials tournament at 122 (to reigning 117-pound champ Nanea Estrella of Lahainaluna, who is No. 7 in Hawaii Prep World’s pound-for-pound rankings). “It’s good to have that family background. I’m happy and blessed that I have that. OIAs and states, I’m focused and ready for it.”
Branden Pagurayan of Kapolei and Elijah Diamond of Mililani are among the many others out there trying to carry on a family tradition.
Pagurayan earned the OIA West’s 152-pound championship Saturday with a pin of Leilehua’s Alii Edayan. Pagurayan’s brothers were state placers multiple years. Jayson Pagurayan placed four times (second, third, sixth twice) and Andre Pagurayan placed three times (fourth, third twice).
Diamond is trying to become the first in his family to win a state title, after Tyler Diamond (state fifth place), Chad Diamond (state second and third place), Isaac Diamond (state second place) and Zack Diamond (state second place twice) did not get to that promised land.
Elijah Diamond made it to the OIA West 132-pound final Saturday at Pearl City, where he was pinned by Campbell’s Kaena De Santos.
Kapolei’s Allicia Mahoe fits into this topic as well. She placed sixth and then fifth in states the last two years at 97 pounds, and she pulled through for her second OIA West title Saturday by pinning Campbell’s Jazmyn Enriquez in the final.
Another Kapolei Mahoe — Allie Mahoe — was a three-time state placer (third, fourth and sixth) in recent years.
“I’m feeling better and getting ready (for OIAs and states), but I have a lot to improve on,” Allicia Mahoe said.