The Kamehameha wrestling team has been on quite the run during the 2018-2019 season. After the boys’ and girls’ teams swept the Officials Tournament at Leilehua in December, both came out victorious with team titles at the ILH championships on Saturday afternoon on its home floor.
To Kamehameha coach Rob Hesia, that type of success is attainable when a team is as motivated as it is talented.
“We know the kids have been working hard in the wrestling room. They got goals for themselves and I don’t even think they hit the goals that they’ve wanted to hit yet,” he said. “It just shows what they do in the wrestling room shows on the mats. They earn every point. They earn every match when they go out there and wrestle.
“We don’t win every match but all the matches we wrestle, we always try to be competitive and make people earn it. That’s them as a team.”
The Warriors also had milestone victories from two of their most accomplished wrestlers in Kysen Terukina and Ashley Gooman.
Terukina took home his third consecutive ILH title with a 10-2 victory over Saint Louis’ Elijah Kaawa in the 126-pound finals. After winning both the ILH and state titles at 113 in 2017, the current No. 1 in the Prep World Boys’ Pound-For-Pound rankings did the same at 120 in 2018. As the junior approaches this year’s state championship on Feb. 20-21, a three-peat is within reach.
“I just see it as another tournament I have to win and do my best. It feels good, but it’s not my ultimate goal for this year,” Terukina said of his ILH title. “The ending goal is always states, so I’ll just have to see how I do there.”
Gooman, No. 2 in the Girls’ P4P rankings, did not wrestle on Saturday and won via forfeiture from Punahou’s Marisa Iha in the 122 finals.
An individual win at states would give the senior her third state title. A loss in last year’s 112 finals to Kaiser’s Tiare Ikei ended her hopes of a state slam. The Kamehameha girls last won a team title in 2016, which remains another goal in Gooman’s final prep season.
“Because it’s my last time, I want to go out with a win, especially because we haven’t done it since my freshman year,” she said. “I know that we’re completely capable of doing it. I just want to make sure that not just myself, but the whole team is ready for it and still pushing ourselves as much as we can for the last 10 days.”
Hesia was asked about his two stars afterwards and the leadership they bring. Although each has their own style, he sees both as equally effective tone-setters.
“Kysen’s silent, he’s not as much of a vocal leader. He’s more of a doer. But his wrestling speaks volumes, and the standard he sets with his wrestling speaks volumes,” Hesia said. “He’ll push himself in the room and he’ll go with the 126-pounders all the way up to the 170-pounders. He’s not afraid to go out there and put himself out there.
“With Ashley, Ashley’s a leader. She’s been doing that from her freshman year. She’s a vocal leader but they’re in there pushing each other every day. The girls are self-driven and they’re all leaders in their own right and Ashley’s right up there with them.
“For her to win four ILH championships, it’s awesome for her. She works hard and she deserves it.”
ILH TEAM STANDINGS
1. Kamehameha, 188
2. Pac-Five, 80
3. Punahou, 45
1. Kamehameha, 223
2. Punahou, 168
3. Saint Louis, 117