One of the things that makes a slam so coveted is that you have to be perfect as a freshman and stay that way for four years.
Paige Respicio is an example of that excellence, starting with the Kamehameha wrestling team in the seventh grade and reaching the top of the league just two years later. Respicio finished off the career ILH slam with a win over teammate Tessia Mauia on Saturday. She is the third Kamehameha girl in a row to achieve it, following Ashley Gooman last year and Zion Grace Vierra in 2018.
“It just shows how much work I have put in since the beginning in this program,” Respicio said. “States is the real goal here, but ILH is a good way to get in a couple of matches. I am ready.”
It is Respicio’s second slam this year after completing the trick at Officials in December. Despite her excellence, she will not be going for the state slam in two weeks because of an 8-1 loss to Baldwin’s Jahnea Miguel when she was a freshman.
She is 10-0 at the tournament since the loss so long ago with wins over current standouts Sadie Antoque of Castle and Moanalua’s Lana Perez. She emphatically avenged her loss to Miguel in last year’s state final when she blitzed Miguel from the first whistle and won 15-4 in what could be described as the performance of the evening.
“I’m ready, I want to wrestle already, I am ready to give it my all,” Respicio said.
If the state sets up the finals matches to save the best for last, Respicio can expect to be in the main event if she makes it to the final with Baldwin’s Waipuilani Estrella Beauchamp. Both are two-time state champions who finished third in their freshman years and seeding is going to be a toss-up unless Estrella-Beauchamp gets credit for winning the preseason MIT when Respicio stayed home.
Fans were supposed to have a preview of the epic match in January when Estrella-Beauchamp and Nanea Estrella jumped on a plane and entered the tournament together with the express purpose of testing themselves against Respicio.
Estrella-Beauchamp and Respicio didn’t get to face each other when Estrella, who is going for the state slam at 132 pounds, pinned Respicio in the semifinals. Estrella then went on to beat her cousin in the final. With only two losses in her career, they are easy to remember.
“You know, for me, I don’t think that was my best when wrestling Nanea,” Respicio said. “I wasn’t there mentally before my match because of how the situation was. Before the match I wasn’t there mentally and I like to prepare mentally. States I am always there.”
So even though Estrella-Beauchamp provides a more than legitimate chance of ending Respicio’s celebrated career with a rare loss, there is part of Respicio that wishes it was set up to be even more difficult.
Yes, she would have liked the cousins to repeat their Paani ambush with a showdown at states. But it is not to be, at least at the high school level. Estrella is already committed to Menlo College and Respicio is considering following Gooman and five other Hawaii wrestlers to Midland in Nebraska. Menlo has five Hawaii girls on its roster.
“She is playing it smart so she can get her slam,” Respicio said. “I mean, I will see her at college wrestling.”
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.