It could be a long, bruising season in the boys 120-pound class in Hawaii high school wrestling.
The loaded bracket got off to a great start on Friday night at Leilehua on the first day of the Hawaii Wrestling Officials Association tournament.
It might not be too much of a stretch to think that those competitors near 120 pounds (heavier and lighter) all said before the season started: “I’ll meet you around the corner at 120.”
Here is a look at the talent Hawaii has there:
>> Corey Cananban, Saint Louis, defending 113-pound state champ and 2015 state champ at 106
>> Logan Garcia, Moanalua, defending 106-pound state champ
>> Triston Santos, Campbell, 113-pound state runner-up in 2016, 113-pound state champion in 2015
>> Jayson Pagurayan, Kapolei, three-time state placer (106/113)
Two others, Leilehua’s Isaac Stalcup and Lahainaluna’s Kawehi Gillcoat were both seeded higher at Officials than Pagurayan, and they met in the quarterfinals, with Gillcoat winning 5-4.
The top two seeds — Cabanban (No. 2 in Hawaii Prep World’s pound-for-pound rankings) and Garcia (No. 5 p4p) — also moved on to Saturday’s semifinals, as did Pagurayan (No. 7 p4p), who scored a 7-3 victory over Santos (No. 6 p4p).
But how is this division going to shake down for the rest of the season? Will they all stick around or switch to another weight class?
Hawaii Prep World spoke with Cabanban and Garcia and this is what they had to say:
Cabanban: “Yeah, I like the challenge, that’s why (I’m staying at 120). Santos, I challenged in states (and won in the final) last year, but I’m not too familiar with those other boys. I’d like to challenge all of them before states if I get a chance. I’m not running from anyone.”
Garcia: “Yes, I’m going to stay at 120. My goal is to really see how I can go up against him (Cabanban). I want to wrestle him so I can know how much better I need to be to reach that level that he’s at. I think they (the other top 120-pound contenders) will stay at 120 because everybody wants that competition.”
In the 106-pound class Friday, ‘Iolani’s Kainoa Torigoe, who won the Officials tournament last year but didn’t make states, upset top-seeded Colby Ravida of Baldwin. He also won another match to get into Saturday’s semifinals.
“He’s been in our program since middle school,” ‘Iolani coach Walden Au said about Torigoe. “He’s the epitome of that kind of wrestler who hasn’t been able to crack into the starting lineup but has continued to work hard and be dedicated to the program. Last year, he came up clutch in a lot of tournaments and dual meets, but lost his spot at one of the last (team) wrestle-offs.”
All other top seeds at Officials on Friday in both boys and girls stayed in the chase for a title going into the second day. When wrestling resumes Saturday morning, it will pick up with the girls quarterfinals and boys semifinals.
At 138 pounds, two wrestlers in the p4p rankings could be headed for a showdown in the final — Waianae’s Keale Keliinoi (No. 8 p4p) and Pac-Five’s Joseph Fong (No. 9 p4p).
Three other boys in the p4p rankings — No. 1 KJ Pascua (170; 2015 state champ at 145) of ‘Iolani, No. 3 Micah Tynanes-Perez (220; defending state champ at 195 pounds) of Campbell, and No. 4 Dane Yamashiro of ‘Iolani (285; defending state champ at 285) — all advanced to today’s semifinals.
One boys p4p wrestler, No. 10 Sai Fautanu of ‘Iolani, is not at the Officials tournament due to a family trip, according to Raiders coaches.
EIGHT P4P GIRLS MAKE IT THROUGH TO SATURDAY
Eight of the 10 Star-Advertiser p4P girls wrestlers made it as far as Saturday’s quarterfinals.
The two others — Kamehameha two-time state champion Donavyn Futa (No. 3 p4p) and defending 122-pound state champ Tehani Carlson (No. 6) of Waianae — are not in the field. According to coaches of the schools, Futa (who won the 117-pound state title a year ago, the 113-pound crown in 2014 and who is moving up to 132 this season) is sick and Carlson (who will return to 122 or move up to 127) is recovering from an injury.
It looks like there’s a top-notch field at 107, with defending state 107-pound champ Iverly Navarro (No. 2 p4p) as the top seed. Amanda Higa of Moanalua, who placed third at states at 97 pounds a year ago, is the second seed, and Bailey Hoshino of Punahou (No. 10 p4p; 2015 state champ at 97) is the third seed.
There’s another loaded bracket at 112, where Ashley Gooman (No. 5 p4p; defending 102 state champ) of Kamehameha, Alexis Encinas (No. 9 p4p; 2015 state champ at 107) of Lahainaluna, and Tiare Ikei (state runner-up at 102 last year) of Kaiser are battling it out.
The other girls p4p wrestlers heading into Saturday vying for a title are: No. 1 Angela Peralta of Radford (145; defending 145 state champ), No. 4 Teniya Alo of Kahuku (127), No. 7 Kelani Corbett of Leilehua (155; defending 155 state champ), and No. 8 Macy Higa of Roosevelt (117; defending 112 state champ).