Last year the Baldwin girls wrestling team dismantled Lahainaluna’s MIL dynasty.
This year they hope to build one of their own.
The Bears, who took six gold medals and beat the Lunas 198-174 for the MIL title on their way to the state crown in 2018, begin defense of their league title on Saturday at King Kekaulike.
It was the first time a school had as many golds as Lahainaluna in the MIL championships since KS-Maui had four to the Lunas’ one in 2009. It was the first time the Bears had more winners than the Lunas since 2007.
Jahnea Miguel, ranked No. 5 in Hawaii Prep World’s pound-for-pound rankings, is expected to lead the way for Baldwin as she goes for her third MIL title as a junior. Last year she was integral to Baldwin’s championships, sacrificing individual glory for the good of the team by moving up to 145 pounds.
Miguel is already halfway to the slam, which hasn’t been done by a Bear since Selina Perez way back in 2003. She can join Veronica Ferreira (2002), Candice Corabito (2005), Leolani Corpuz (2005), Kailee Andrade (2008), Piikea Kalalau (2008), Hailey Namauu (2013) and Saydie Kala (2017) in the club of Baldwin girls who have three MIL championships on the shelf.
Miguel has run through everyone she has faced this year except No. 3 P4P Nanea Estrella, but her campaign for a first Officials title was derailed when she failed to make weight on the second day.
Waipualani Estrella-Beauchamp, Shayna Kamaka and Celine Gomes are all going for repeat MIL title for Baldwin, with Estrella-Beauchamp riding a high after upsetting Estrella during a league meet.
Estrella, who has put together the toughest schedule in the state this year, leads the Lunas in their bid to regain their title. Like Miguel, Estrella is halfway to a slam and can join a host of other Lunas with three crowns. The last to do it was Alexis Encinas in 2017.
Estrella will get her time in the spotlight, but the Luna to watch this year is senior Tayler Peligrino-Hayase, who will go for a third title after being pinned by Miguel last year to cost her a chance at a slam. Peligrino-Hayase won MIT and Officials this season but was tripped up by Waianae’s Tiare Carlson at the Paani Challenge.
Sami Saribay and Fayanne Rosario are the other Lunas looking for repeats.