Kysen Terukina had a lot of assists to hand out after pulling off the ILH slam at Kamehameha on Saturday.
Perhaps the biggest one went to his opponent.
Sure, Terukina mentioned his coaches, teammates and famous family after shutting out Elijah Kaawa of Saint Louis 5-0 in the final. But it was the Crusader who got most of the praise.
“I give him props, he comes out every week and wrestles, since my freshman year,” Terukina said. “He makes every weekend hard for me. I respect him as a wrestler. I know he’s good so I always prepare myself to wrestle him. We make each other better.”
Kaawa couldn’t push Terukina as much as usual in the final because of an injured knee, but Terukina will take it. He knows another war probably looms at states, where they met in the final last year and Terukina won 5-3 for his third state championship. Terukina also beat Kaawa in the semis in their freshman year and won 5-3 in the Officials final this year.
Kaawa is 2-2 against ILH opponents at states and 9-2 against boys from the other four leagues.
Terukina is the third Kamehameha wrestler to pull off the ILH slam, joining his brother Shayden Terukina and Jacob Luning-Hoshino. Every one of his state finals opponents has been a familiar ILH foe, suggesting that the league title might be the easy part.
“That’s special, right?” Kamehameha coach Rob Hesia said. “Kysen is only the third guy from Kamehameha history to do it, better that all of his brothers Shayden and Blaysen. The thing about Kysen’s one, they are all tough, but Kysen had Elijah Kaawa who is top three in the state every single year and Brady Hoshino, who is top three in the state every single year, so he is winning four against hammers.”
Part of what makes Terukina seem unbeatable is his mental toughness. He seems to not be bothered by anything. An Officials loss to Baldwin’s Kahiliwala Joy early in his career was met with a shrug and an ‘I need to get to work.’ But he admits that the stress of a state slam, when no boy has ever failed in his last attempt at it, has to be a part of the journey no matter how unflappable you appear to be.
“That’s my demeanor outside,” Terukina said after his victory. “But inside my friends know, we stress out together. My demeanor outside may not show it and that’s perfect, it’s exactly what I want, but it’s something I always have in mind since the beginning of the season. Just thinking about it gave me nerves all the way. It’s something I definitely stress about.”
Terukina split his season between wrestling and soccer this year, but it was the threat provided by Kaawa that sparked him to give grappling the attention it demanded. Hesia says Terukina got his timing back after soccer season ended and is ready to compete.
The soccer team not making states is one regret, but so is missing the prestigious Walsh Jesuit Ironman Tournament before the season. His invitation paved the way for teammate Kanai Tapia and Moanalua’s Boltyn Taam to participate in the tournament, but the cost of the trip to Ohio meant he had to keep his national ranking at home and hope to improve upon it in summer tournaments.
“Some people I wrestled and beat before made it to the finals (at Ironman) and I was like, ‘wait, I just beat that kid.’ ” Terukina said. “It’s kind of sickening because I know I can compete but I went on other good trips other than that so it equaled out. It’s far and I have two of my older brothers in college still so it didn’t work out.”
Teammate Brant Porter kept his excellence in Terukina’s shadow, taking his third ILH title while Tapia earned his third when Stone Fraczyk of Hanalani forfeited due to an ankle injury.
Josiah Hokoana and Manaia Wolfgramm won their first titles for the Warriors, who edged Punahou for the team title. Porter is just fine being in Terukina’s shadow.
“I kind of like it that way being kinda not known,” Porter said. “I feel a lot stronger than last year. I definitely went up a weight class. I am pretty ready, I just have to work on my setups and separating my leads more.”
At Kekuhaupio Gym
106—1. Hale Robinson, Pun; 2. Chaz Kuikahi-Molina, KSK; 3. Cyrus Bucsit, StL; 4. Joshua Frias, Iol; 5. Skyler Suzui, HBA.
113—1. Kaistin Vasquez, Pun; 2. Scott Fujishima, MPI; 3. Robert Frias, Iol; 4. Akoni Kaaialii, KSK; 5. Jarren Seson, HBA; 6. Zion Amerson, StL.
120—1. Josaiah Hokoana, KSK; 2. Oliver Nishigawa, Pun; 3. Raffe Pereirra, DMS; 4. Breyson Chang, Mryk; 5. David Cunningham, Iol.
126—1. Brant Porter, KSK; 2. Dreddin Villalpando, StL; 3. Ammen Tawfik, MPI; 4. Kekoa Young, Pun; 5. Micah Shibuya, HBA; 6. Kolsen Tanaka, Iol.
132—1. Kysen Terukina, KSK; 2. Elijah Kaawa, StL; 3. Josiah Lum, HBA; 4. Micah Tabar, Pun.
138—1. Brady Hoshino, Iol; 2. Ansen Ursua, StL; 3. Jonah Chew, KSK; 4. Matt Sugiki, Pun; 5. Joseph Higuchi, DMS.
145—1. Vincent Terrell, Pun; 2. Devin Shimabukuro, Mryk; 3. Isaac Ignacio, StL; 4. Kaimalu Kahalioumi Vinluan, KSK; 5. Cody Yamashita, DMS; 6. Logan Geronimo, StL.
152—1. Kanai Tapia, KSK; 2. Stone Franczyk, Han; 3. Noah Takeyama, Pun; 4. Isaac Peterson, DMS: 5. Jake Lee, Iol; 6. Justin Baker, Mryk.
160—1. Kahekili Pahio, KSK; 2. Hudson Pak, Pun; 3. Blaze Holani, StL; 4. Nathan Mason, DMS.
170—1. Manaia Wolfgramm, KSK; 2. Boston Opetia, StL; 3. Joshua Arcayena, Mryk; 4. Andrew. Jung, Pun.
182—1. Blaze Pascua, Iol; 2. Andrew Cananico, Pun; 3. Dustin Dano, KSK; 4. Hoala Meyer, StL; 5. Andrew Mimura, MPI; 6. Jayden Williams, PBA.
195—1. Zander Manuel, Pun; 2. Viliamu Tongotea, StL; 3. Andrew Smith, KSK; 4. Keola Teves, PBA.
220—1. John Egami, Pun; 2. Jeremy Pangelinan, StL; 3. Scotty Dikilato, KSK; 4. Wyatt Kaauanui, DMS; 5. Rigz Ornong, Mryk.
285—1. Legend Matautia, Pun; 2. Jonah Kahuli-Apo, KSK; 3. Anthony Sagapolutele, StL.
97—1. Zoe Omura, Iol; 2. Nanci Nakagawa, Pun; 3. Jenesis Pereirra, DMS.
102—1. Madison Kogachi, Pun; 2. Kelcie Ito, HBA.
107—1. Nohea Moniz, KSK; 2. Lindsey Ligsay, DMS; 3. Faith Inatsuka, Mryk; 4. Jade Retuta, MPI; 5. Kelly Ichimura, Pun.
112—1. Haley Nakahara, KSK; 2. Lillie Awaya, Iol; 3. Kimi Nelson, MPI.
117—1. Aliya Takano, KSK; 2. Emma Ito, Pun; 3. McKensen Fuata, KSB; 4. Milika’a Wells-Whittle, MPI; 5. Gina Wang, Iol; 6. Shalia Lautele, Mryk.
122—1. Jaycee Ichimura, Pun; 2. Laamea Harbottle, KSK; 3. Kwan Valynn, MPI.
127—1. Krystal Puahala, KSK; 2. Breylin Dano, KSB; 3. Allie Riel, Iol.
132—1. Skye Realin, KSK.
138–1. Paige Respicio, KSK; 2. Tessia Mauia, KSB.
145—1. Charlize-Jazmine Pascual-Tabuyo, MPI; 2. Isabella Wong, Pun; 3. Mehana Kapoi, KSK.
155—1. Kylee Bartholomew-Tangaro, KSK.
168—1. Amy Sotoa, KSK.
184—1. Dylan Huddy, Mryk; 2. Harley Ceberano, Pun.