Hawaii wrestlers make Christmas wish list

Kalani's Draten Morisato competed against Radford's Christian Tavares on Saturday. Jamm Aquino / Star-Advertiser
Kalani’s Draten Morisato competed against Radford’s Christian Tavares on Saturday. Jamm Aquino / Star-Advertiser

With the green light to cover any part of the Oahu Interscholastic Association round-robin wrestling meet at Campbell on Saturday, the focus could have gone to just a few matches in a few weight classes.

Instead, the thinking was, “Why not focus on everybody?”

Easier said than done, but, in the sprit of the sport itself, success with sportswriting ideas can only come — maybe — by expanding your boundaries.


So in that vein, we set out to talk to as many varsity wrestlers as possible Saturday. Not a simple task in a crowded gym with teams spread out everywhere. But we wound up speaking with an even 50, which is at least as good as (in keeping with the wrestling analogy) showing up for tryouts.

The limits could have been pushed a bit more. There were some varsity wrestlers we didn’t get to speak with, the ones still there waiting to depart while the mats were being rolled up. But the wall, so to speak, was hit and so it was out the door and into some, finally, cool air. Was it quitting or complete exhaustion?

Good question, right wrestlers?

Anyway, below are the holiday-motif snippets from the 50 wrestlers who got to meet St. Nick on his visit from the North Pole.

(Note: 22 of the 50 are from host Campbell, which had the largest team in the gym, by far).

Iwi Kinimaka, Campbell
>> Grade: 10
>> Years wrestled in high school: 2
>> Weight class: 127
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: third in OIAs
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “to win next week at the Officials meet”

Asia Whiting, Campbell
>> Grade: 12
>> Years wrestled in high school: 4
>> Weight class: 107
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: sixth in OIAs
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “to win at Officials because I haven’t placed high there before”

Aaliyah Wright, Campbell
>> Grade: 12
>> Years wrestled in high school: 3
>> Weight class: 155
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling:
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “to take Officials again; I won it last year and it’s like a pre-state tournament”

Amber Strong, Campbell
>> Grade: 11
>> Years wrestled in high school: 2
>> Weight class: 138 or 145
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: competing at states
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “to be able to place higher than ever before at every meet”

Genevieve-Destiny Gozum, Campbell
>> Grade: 11
>> Years wrestled in high school: 1
>> Weight class: 97
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “to win by a tech more than once”

Caragh Morris, Campbell
>> Grade: 12
>> Years wrestled in high school: 3
>> Weight class: 168
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: second place at states two years in a row
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “taking OIAs and states”

Anne Platt, Campbell
>> Grade: 11
>> Years wrestled in high school: 2
>> Weight class: 117
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: OIA JV champion
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “to be able to wrestle at states”

Micah Tynanes, Campbell
>> Grade: 11
>> Years wrestled in high school: 3
>> Weight class: 195
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: third at states
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “a team state championship”

Triston Santos, Campbell
>> Grade: 11
>> Years wrestled in high school: 3
>> Weight class: 113
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: state champion at 113 last year
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “I want to win states and become a two-time champion”

Isaac Adriano, Campbell
>> Grade: 12
>> Years wrestled in high school: 3
>> Weight class: 106
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: sixth at states
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “to win states”

Kanieala Kuhia, Campbell
>> Grade: 11
>> Years wrestled in high school: 2
>> Weight class: 145
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: pinning of opponent in first varsity match
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “I wouldn’t mind winning states, who doesn’t? Also, better shoes and another duffel bag because the one I have is ripping.”

Kalama Kiefer, Campbell
>> Grade: 10
>> Years wrestled in high school: 2
>> Weight class: 220
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: winning a tough JV match against a highly ranked wrestler
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “to be one of the best wrestlers in the state, and a pair of Aggressors (wrestling shoes)”

Joshua Gallarde, Campbell
>> Grade: 12
>> Years wrestled in high school: 4
>> Weight class: 145
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: first in OIA and third at states
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “new Nike Freaks (wrestling shoes). I’m looking for first this time at states and to go undefeated without anyone scoring on me”

Steven Pangelinan, Campbell
>> Grade: 11
>> Years wrestled in high school: 1
>> Weight class: 132
>> Biggest accomplishment in jiu-jitsu: won second place at worlds
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “just to be my best and keep on improving consistently”

Jeran Basco, Campbell
>> Grade: 11
>> Years wrestled in high school: 3
>> Weight class: 285
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: getting to OIAs
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “to be better than last year”

Sage Moisa, Campbell
>> Grade: 11
>> Years wrestled in high school: 3
>> Weight class: 120
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: beating a higher-ranked wrestler
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “to qualify for states and place at least fourth”

Zayren Terukina, Campbell
>> Grade: 10
>> Years wrestled in high school: 2
>> Weight class: 126
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: won OIA JV championship last year
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “to win a state championship”

Ryder Sanchez, Campbell
>> Grade: 11
>> Years wrestled in high school: 3
>> Weight class: 152
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: being a starter at 145
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “to place in the top three at the Officials meet”

Noah Respicio, Campbell
>> Grade: 10
>> Years wrestled in high school: 2
>> Weight class: 152
>> Biggest accomplishment in wrestling: winning the AAU wrestling meet three times
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “to win the state championship; that’s the mentality you have to have; if you don’t try to be the best, then what’s the point?”

Joshua Kahiona, Campbell
>> Grade: 11
>> Years wrestled in high school: 3
>> Weight class: 152
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: making varsity and being a starter as a sophomore
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “to place high at Officials, fourth place or better”

Ashton Goodness, Campbell
>> Grade: 11
>> Years wrestled in high school: 2
>> Weight class: 138
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: third in OIA JVs last year
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “to be dominating on the mat, to try and improve and be trusting in my preparation and believing in myself to go out and beat my opponents”

Connor Sullivan, Campbell (also known as James)
>> Grade: 12
>> Years wrestled in high school: 4
>> Weight class: 220
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: making the state final
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “to become a better person, to develop as a better athlete; also my shoes are a little jacked ups, so some new (Nike) Freaks would be nice. I can wrestle in anything, though.”


Elexus Keophilavanh-Agustin, Waipahu
>> Grade: 12
>> Years wrestled in high school: 3
>> Weight class: 102
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: OIA JVs second place
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “new wrestling mats; ours are 20-plus years old and we are prone to skin infections and concussions because they not have much compression”

Kelsienna Kaseli, Waipahu
>> Grade: 11
>> Years wrestled in high school: 3
>> Weight class: 138
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: being able to improve every match
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “to make it to states; that’s when you know you are one of the best; not everyone can make it there”

Princess Bagay, Waipahu
>> Grade: 11
>> Years wrestled in high school: 2
>> Weight class: 117
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: second place in OIA JVs last year
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “either new mats or a wrestling center training room; they don’t really pay attention to wrestling at Waipahu; we’re using the same mats our coach used 20 years ago and the mats came over from Moanalua”

Zanaiah Benjamin, Waipahu
>> Grade: 11
>> Years wrestled in high school: 2
>> Weight class: 145
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: dropping 10 pounds in two days to get to 145 for Saturday’s meet
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “new mats for the school; there are a lot of concussions and sprained ankles, it’s not stable; also some fundraising to be able to go to tournaments on other islands”

Kyle James Uson, Waipahu
>> Grade: 12
>> Years wrestled in high school: 4
>> Weight class: 132
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: “being allowed to wrestle, which is a once in a lifetime experience and of major importance to me”
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “fixing our mats that are busted up; also to do my best in every tournament and enjoy my last year as a wrestler”

Jeremiah Paulino, Waipahu
>> Grade: 12
>> Years wrestled in high school: 1
>> Weight class: 195
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: gaining speed from the constant training
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “to get better throughout the season through more practices”

Austin Aglanao, Waipahu
>> Grade: 12
>> Years wrestled in high school: 3
>> Weight class: 170
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: fourth place in OIA JVs
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “I need new leggings and practice clothes; also, to go undefeated every match”

Jeremy Eda, Waipahu
>> Grade: 11
>> Years wrestled in high school: 1
>> Weight class: 145
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: improvement each week
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “to try not to get the coaches mad at me and to show them that I’m trying my hardest”

Mark Gallardo, Waipahu
>> Grade: 12
>> Years wrestled in high school: 3
>> Weight class: 132
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: “joining wrestling every year; people say it’s tough, but it’s pretty fun and it teaches life lessons”
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “to try to make states; also, a new wrestling room for upcoming Waipahu wrestlers; every year, we’re risking injuries”

Draten Morisato, Kalani
>> Grade: 12
>> Years wrestled in high school: 4
>> Weight class: 120
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: winning the OIAs as a junior
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “to get rid of injuries — a sprained wrist, a twisted ankle and a couple of sore knees; also, to help my team to win the OIAs”

Christian Miyagawa-Briones, Kalani
>> Grade: 12
>> Years wrestled in high school: 4
>> Weight class: 132
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: sticking with wrestling throughout four years of high school
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “to get through another year safe along with my teammates; making states would also be nice, but it’s just a title”

Kealii Lopes, Kalani
>> Grade: 12
>> Years wrestled in high school: 4
>> Weight class: 170
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: fifth place at OIAs and competing at states
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “better equipment and newer mats; also, would love to be No. 1 in states; I’m striving for the highest”

Czarina Pineda-Abaya, Kalani
>> Grade: 11
>> Years wrestled in high school: 3
>> Weight class: 122
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: fourth at states last year
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “I’d like new mats for our team; also, I would like to win at the Paani Challenge next week; it’s kinda like states and winning it is a big accomplishment”

Kahlil Portugal, Kalani
>> Grade: 11
>> Years wrestled in high school: 3
>> Weight class: 126
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: third place in OIA JVs
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “a wrestling room because we practice in the cafeteria and it’s pretty dirty”

Chaden Morisato, Kalani
>> Grade: 12
>> Years wrestled in high school: 4
>> Weight class: 113
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: “recovering from a broken ankle quickly last year — 5 to 6 weeks and it was supposed to take 8-10 weeks; also made states and OIA semis”
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “to place high at states”

Eugene Aleta, Kalani
>> Grade: 12
>> Years wrestled in high school: 1
>> Weight class: 132
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: “losing a lot of weight (from 145 to 127) and feeling better about myself; I joined to get fit and try my first sport”
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “I want to win my first match; I haven’t won yet, so that would be amazing”

Christian Tavares, Radford
>> Grade: 10
>> Years wrestled in high school: 2
>> Weight class: 120
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: third at OIA JV championships
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “an elevation mask; you put it over your nose for conditioning and it makes it harder to breathe; my friend had one and I tried it”

Classyc-Styles Wallace-Tavares, Radford
>> Grade: 12
>> Years wrestled in high school: 3
>> Weight class: 132
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: being the first seed and winning the OIAs
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “new shoes, maybe some Nikes; the ones I got didn’t turn out to be the ones I wanted; also, a scholarship at the end of this year”

Michael Watson, Radford
>> Grade: 11
>> Years wrestled in high school: 2
>> Weight class: 152
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: “learning to keep calm and to overcome being the nervousness that kept me from getting better”
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “to be undefeated throughout the season”

Zach Marini, Radford
>> Grade: 12
>> Years wrestled in high school: 1
>> Weight class: 195
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: “my conditioning because wrestling is pretty hard and our conditioning is more intense than most schools’ ”
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “to not have a losing record”

Ryan Wahl, Radford
>> Grade: 11
>> Years wrestled in high school: 3
>> Weight class: 138
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: “in Tennessee, we won the District title as a team and beat our rival for the first time”
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “I want to make states; that’s definitely my biggest goal; I want to continue to follow through with full conditioning; in the past I’ve been there but somehow always mess up near the end”

Nathan Turner, Radford
>> Grade: 11
>> Years wrestled in high school: 3
>> Weight class: 145 or 152
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: winning OIA JV title as a freshman
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “I want some shoes; mine (Nike Freaks) are only one-month old, but I gotta have the nicest shoes, maybe some Nike Hyper Sweeps; I had a concussion last year, my first year on the varsity, so this year I’ll be getting into the groove of varsity and my goal will be to win states as a senior”

Dillon Sunday, Radford
>> Grade: 12
>> Years wrestled in high school: 4
>> Weight class: 220
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: qualifying for OIAs junior year
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “a state championship; I’m obsessed with winning it; I’m hoping to carry over the hard work and dedication from the (Rams’ Division II) football state championship”

Kamryn Topasna, Radford
>> Grade: 12
>> Years wrestled in high school: 3
>> Weight class: 117
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: “getting through the year and making it to states and improving mentally”
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “new headgear would be nice; and to believe in myself to be able to pull through without any doubts; to not compare myself to anyone else and be truly who I am and not think too much when the matches come”

Kailey Milhorn, Moanalua
>> Grade: 12
>> Years wrestled in high school: 2
>> Weight class: 117
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: “sticking with it; it’s definitely a tough sport, but rewarding”
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “for many others, placing or winning states is a priority; for me, actually getting in would be amazing”

Chad Shiraishi, Moanalua
>> Grade: 11
>> Years wrestled in high school: 3
>> Weight class: 120
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: “it has taught me to never give up”
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “to get to states and place”


Elijah Ukauka, Castle
>> Grade: 10
>> Years wrestled in high school: 2
>> Weight class: 132
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: “making it to states as a freshman and that was my goal”
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “shoes because mine are getting old; any Nike shoes; I wanted some white Nikes but I couldn’t find them online”

Kawena Esperas, Castle
>> Grade: 11
>> Years wrestled in high school: 3
>> Weight class: 152
>> Biggest accomplishment in high school wrestling: placing third at OIA JVs
>> Tops on the Christmas/wrestling wish list: “to place at Officials next week and to keep my weight down; also, get bigger and stronger with a little more speed”

COMMENTS

  1. AOK December 14, 2015 11:35 am

    Awesome writeup Nick! I’m hoping the wrestling coverage gets a lot more in-depth this year. Keep them coming!


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