Kamehameha-Hawaii’s Kanani Chan breaks drought with victory

Kamehameha-Hawaii's Kanani Chan picked up her first win in seven tries in her career in the state tournament. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.

Wednesday morning provided a first for Kanani Chan.

It is likely not to be her last. The Kamehameha-Hawaii senior posted her first state-tournament victory, defeating Phoebe Pineda Abaya of Kalani, 9-3, in the 132-pound weight class of the Texaco/HHSAA Girls Wrestling State Championships at Blaisdell Arena.

The tall, lanky Chan kept an eye on the mat before she went to work. Her twin, Kuuipo Chan, the 127-pound BIIF champion, defeated April Kekuewa of Campbell in a preliminary match.

“She won, so I said I’ve got to win, too,” Kanani Chan said.

Prior to today, she had been 0-6 in state-championship matches. She wrestled with full confidence today.

“It’s about the mind-set. Coming from the Big Island, there’s not as much big competition. Our coach has been telling us all season, ‘It’s about mind-set.’ Once you win up here,” she said, pointing to her temple, “you’ll win on the mat. In the past, I’ve been doubting myself.”

Another change was her dedication off the mat.

“I’ve been lifting. We’re in the weight room Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 5:30 in the morning,” Chan noted. “Year round and during season, too. My dad used to drive us, but now I drive.”

The Warriors were successful in the BIIF tourney.

“All of our girls were BIIF champions except one, and she was second,” Chan added. “I want to place.”

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