Kamehameha’s Krystal Puahala upsets 2-time state champ Jahnea Miguel of Baldwin

Kamehameha's Krystal Puahala knocked off Baldwin's Jahnea Miguel to reach the 127-pound final. Photo by Jerry Campany/Star-Advertiser.

Krystal Puahala got through her semifinal match Saturday in the Texaco/HHSAA Wrestling State Championships.

And it was a big victory. With a late comeback, she knocked off two-time state champion Jahnea Miguel of Baldwin 3-2 in the 127-pound division, and now she’s setting her sights on her first state title.

“She’s a really good wrestler,” Puahala said about Miguel. “She’s very smart so I think the main thing for me was to keep pushing and it was going to come down to who wanted it more. I wasn’t looking at the clock at all and I was just thinking about focusing on what I needed to do, so time wasn’t a factor. It just opened up.

“I think this is probably the hardest semifinals match I’ve ever had so I just feel accomplished to have made it this far. Now I just have to take that mind-set from the semifinals to the finals.”

A loss to Miguel at the Pa’ani Challenge helped Puahala this time around.

“It is a motivational thing for me,” she said.

In the final later Saturday, Puahala meets Moanalua’s Lana Perez, the top seed who is No. 5 in the Hawaii Prep World’s pound-for-pound rankings. Puahala has reached the final twice before, losing each time.

During the early part of Day 2, the Warriors have taken over the girls lead from Lahainaluna and may be on the way to repeating as state team champs.

“When I wrestle, I think about my team more than myself,” Puahala said. “It’s good to see everyone winning individually, but collectively winning as a team is what we look for at these kinds of tournaments.”


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