Kamehameha’s challenge: maintaining hunger

Zion-Grace Vierra, top, wrestled her way to a win against Del Oro's Marissa Thomas at the Pa'ani Challenge.  Honolulu Star-Advertiser photo by Krystle Marcellus
Zion-Grace Vierra, top, wrestled her way to a win against Del Oro’s Marissa Thomas at the Pa’ani Challenge.
Honolulu Star-Advertiser photo by Krystle Marcellus

For the Kamehameha girls wrestling team, there are high expectations this season after the Warriors won the state title a year ago.

It helps to have junior Teshya Alo, the reigning FILA Cadet world champion, leading the way. She is also a two-time state champion.

For head coach Bill Vanenciano and assistant Chris West, keeping the girls focused and ready is the top priority.

The Warriors have been tested early. They placed second to Campbell at the Hawaii Wrestling Officials Association Scholarship Tournament and they lost to Lahainaluna by one point at the Moanalua Duals.

According to West, if the team is going to lose, now is the time to get it over with.

“It shows them that we’re not going to walk to a state title,” West said.

Kamehameha was beset by another kind of loss at Punahou’s Paani Challenge, when state contender Pomai Yamaguchi suffered a torn ACL and won’t wrestle again this season. She placed third in the state at 125 pounds last year.

“That’s bad news,” West said. “But the good news is that she’s only a junior, so she’s got another year to wrestle.”

Donavyn Futa, a sophomore who won the states at 113 pounds last year, hasn’t seen much action this year for various reasons.

For all of his girls, Vanenciano said he wants them to “love the challenge” in front of them.

“It is a constant effort to stay the course. When you win a state title, there are expectations,” Vanenciano said. “We are constantly working with them on it. Can they live up to those expectations with the right preparation, the right mind-set? Can they keep the hunger?”

Specifically in Futa’s case, “We’re trying to find that path, find the course in that sense. It’s like you are voyaging in the Hokuleia and you’re being guided by the stars but the skies are cloudy.”

Futa wrestled on the first day of the Moanalua Duals, but sat out the second day and also missed the Paani Challenge and the Officials.

As for Alo, who hasn’t lost a state match in this her third season wrestling at the high school level, things are getting tougher, if only by the slightest of margins.

The Lunas’ Breanna Dudoit Vasquez has twice taken Alo past the first period, something no other Hawaii high school wrestler has done.

But the third time they met, at Moanalua, Alo won with a first-period pin.

West knows why the third time worked out better.

“When the coaches said to her, ‘Wow, that was a little bit of a tough one. She said, ‘Yeah’ and walked away. You could tell it was eating away at her.”


  1. mxp2000 January 10, 2015 8:49 pm

    So making it to the 2nd round with Teshya is an accomplishment? Vasquez was playing total defense and did nothing on offense. The Lunas must be dreaming if they think Vasuez has a chance at beating Alo. Be careful of what you wish for Lahaina. Vasquez got a taste of losing thats why it went to the 2nd for those in the know.

  2. warren castro January 19, 2015 7:32 pm

    Now that Teshya Alo has made her home at 138, with nowhere else to go, will Vasquez be able to make it down to 132? This is one weight cut that will mean a championship or loss.

  3. minute maid January 20, 2015 8:55 am

    Vasquez was brave enough to go against Alo while no one else in the league did.

  4. mxp2000 January 21, 2015 4:59 pm

    “Vasquez was brave enough to go against Alo while no one else in the league did.”

    It’s not brave, it’s brainwashed. Vasquez was brainwashed by some moron Into wrestling Alo.

  5. lmnop January 22, 2015 9:30 pm

    I agree, Vasquez did an amazing job going into the second round with Alo and she wrestled her heart out like she always does. I give her major props for being the only one actually wanting to challenge Alo and not running away from her. Nice job Bre, keep doing what you’re doing and let no one stop you.

  6. warren castro January 23, 2015 12:30 am

    Challenge actually means “has a reasonable expectation to win”.

    Brainwashed means “has been told that she has a reasonable expectation to win”.

  7. Jeff Glanstein January 30, 2015 12:15 am

    Alo is a fine wrestler with fine qualities. I mentioned her to Dan Gable, the famous Olympic Champion and coach. She is a pleasure to watch. She has a typical local charm and she has typical Kamehameha humility. Anyone going up against a stronger opponent is only going to learn from the experience. You gain from losing and you gain from winning. More so from losing, albeit that is not your preferred outcome.
    I have tried winning and losing, I prefer winning. Women’s wrestling has come a long way from 1974 when “Jungle Julie” was fighting for the chance to wrestle. I have only the greatest respect for the girls who have signed for wrestling.

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