Hawaii’s Tiare Ikei won a gold medal at the Flatz Open in Wolfurt, Austria, last weekend.
Representing Team USA, Ikei went 4-0 at 53kg (116.5 pounds), with three falls and one tech fall. She only gave up two points.
“It was a little nerve wracking stepping on the mat against the senior level women, but I got settled in and worked on the things that my coaches have taught me,” Ikei said in a news release. “I wasn’t fixated on winning the gold, but just on executing my finishes and being in better positions to score, but bringing home some hardware is always a nice thing to have, too.”
This was Ikei’s first senior level medal and second senior women’s tournament of her career. Ikei recently moved up from the cadet to the junior level at the beginning of this year, but will be competing on the Women’s senior tour as part of the Elite Accelerator Program for Team USA.
Ikei will continue her quest for gold during a month-long European Tour with Team USA. Her next stop is the Klippan Lady Open in Klippan, Sweden (Feb. 15-17), followed by the Grand Prix of Germany in Dormagen (Feb. 22-27). Ikei will spend 10 days in each country competing and training with some of the top women’s wrestlers in the world.
Ikei, who won the 112-pound Hawaii high school state championship in 2018, is a resident athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., and is finishing up her senior year of high school.
“It’s tough knowing I won’t be able to defend my state title in my last year of high school” Ikei said about the states coming up next week. “But I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to chase my dream. My family and I decided it was best to forgo my senior season in Hawaii to chase my dreams of one day being a world champion and that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. I do miss my wrestling family at Grapplers and wish them along with the rest of the Hawaii wrestlers the best at states next week.”
In the latest high school girls national rankings developed by USA Wrestling, Flo Wrestling and the National Hall of Fame released Feb. 6, Ikei jumped from No. 4 at 106 pounds to No. 1 in the nation at 112. Lelehua’s Kelani Corbett is No. 2 at 164 pounds.
Read more about Ikei here.