Kato ascends to top of boys P4P


Before last year’s state seeding meeting, state wrestling coordinator Carl Schroers made an impassioned plea to his fellow coaches to go to their athletic directors and demand a reduction in the number of weight classes in Hawaii.

His argument, which was repeated at HIADA but shot down, was that wrestlers from the 50th state have enough challenges to join the nation’s best to take January off because of a lack of competition and that beating the same kids over and over was not acceptable and holding the sport back.

Cameron Kato was not in the room for either plea, but he took Schroers’ theory into his own hands.

Last Saturday the 126-pound state champ moved up to 132 to test himself. He passed, beating Kamehameha’s Blaysen Terukina 10-8 after a tough match with Joseph Fong of Pac-Five.

The gym was buzzing all day when they learned of the potential matchup, much like when Josh Terao and Brayden Akeo met at Officials a few years back, and they got a show that was well worth waiting for.

Here is Nick Abramo‘s video of two of the best wrestlers Hawaii has to offer butting heads. Kato won 10-8.

Kato entered the gym No. 3 in the boys Pound-for-Pound rankings. The next time he enters the circle it will be as one Web Site’s choice as the best wrestler in the state.

He took the place of Leilehua’s Liam Corbett, who has been at the top of the list all season. Like Corbett, Kato comes with serious credentials as a state champion and two-time league boss. He has beaten ‘Iolani’s Jake Nakasone, who is ranked No. 6, this season in addition to his win over Terukina. He was the only boy to place in Greco Roman at Junior Nationals over the summer and left the Freak Show in Las Vegas with first place in his weight class over Nakasone.

Corbett is still untouchable at 160 pounds, but the biggest move was in one weight class below him.

Iolani 152-pounder KJ Pascua has obliterated anyone in his path this year and rises to No. 3 over Terukina. At this point in the season much of the pound-for-pound is based on style points and Pascua has plenty to spare. In the last two weeks he pinned three opponents including Campbell’s Josh Gallarde and won the other two matches by scores of 23-8 and 25-10.

But should that really be enough to take the shine off Terukina’s star? The Kamehameha champion very well could have packed his bags and went home when he saw Kato in his bracket, knowing he had nothing to gain an everything to lose in accepting such a challenge. But he took it in, the same as he did in a win over Shandon Ilaban-Totten in December. Terukina has always been one of the state’s elite, he lost 9-8 to Christian Balasco in the state tournament as a freshman and 6-4 to Chance Ikei as a sophomore before winning it all last year.

Still, a loss to Kato drops him down to No. 4 ahead of Ilaban-Totten, whose only loss this season was to Terukina. He hasn’t been challenged since but is currently fending off an injury.

Iolani’s Jake Nakasone and Corey Cabanban of Saint Louis swapped spots after being tested by touch opponents. Nakasone beat Kalani’s Draten Morisato 5-3 and Cabanban took out Andre Pagurayan of Kapolei by three points. Both are heavy favorites in their weight classes.

The rest of the top 10 stayed the same except for the last spot, where Waianae’s Sheldon Bailey took the place of Mililani’s Zack Diamond, who is still injured.

How tough is this list to crack? Wrestlers who are at the top of their weight classes who didn’t crack it include Troy Waki of Baldwin, ‘Iolani’s Saiga Fautanu and Kanai Eldredge of Punahou. Lahainaluna’s best hope, Justin Inovejas, was the top of his class until losing to Baldwin’s Alika Delos Reyes at 145 pounds last week.

Micah Tynanes of Campbell is looming to join the list should anyone slip, he pinned both of his opponents last week and has looked dominant.

1. Cameron Kato, Punahou (126 pounds)
Career: state champ, two time ILH champ.
Season: First at Officials
Last week: Ranked No. 3
Recent results: Beat Kamehameha’s Blaysen Terukina at 132 pounds, beat Joseph Fong (Pac-Five) 9-7. Second to Ian Murakami in another tournament due to forfeit (he had another engagement) after pinning Ti-Jey Asano (Farrington)

2. Liam Corbett, Leilehua (160)
Career: state champ, state second, state fifth, 2 time OIA champ.
Season: First at MIT, first at Officials
Last week: Ranked No. 1
Recent results: Did not compete (placed third) or results missing

3. KJ Pascua, Iolani (152)
Career: state champ, state second, two time ILH champ.
Season: First at Officials
Last week: Ranked No. 5
Recent results: Won a round robin tournament, both matches by pins including Makana Tapia (Kamehameha ) in the final; Pinned Josh Gallarde (Campbell), Beat Micheal Watson (Radford) 23-8, Beat Andrew Olson (Mililani) 25-10.

4. Blaysen Terukina, Kamehameha (132)
Career: state champ, state third twice, three time ILH champ
Season: First at Officials over Ilaban-Totten
Last week: Ranked No. 2
Recent results: Lost to Punahou’s Cameron Kato 10-8 at 132 pounds, pinned Jacob Montes of Pac-Five. Pinned Kealohi Graycochea (Kahuku).

5. Shandon Ilaban-Totten, Kapolei (132)
Career: state champ, state third, two time OIA
Season: First at MIT, second at Officials behind Terukina
Last week: Ranked No. 4
Recent results: Moved up to 138 and went unbeaten with pins over Victor Carillo (Leilehua) and Kalae Correa (Saint Louis)

6. Jake Nakasone, Iolani (120)
Career: Fourth at states twice, fifth at states, ILH champion.
Season: First at Officials
Last week: Ranked No. 7
Recent results: Won a mini tournament, pinning Josh Matsumoto (Pac-Five) and beating teammate James Mizota by friendly forfeit; Pinned Elijah Diamond (Mililani), Beat Draten Morisato (Kalani) 5-3.

7. Corey Cabanban, Saint Louis (106)
Career: state champ, ILH champ
Season: First at Officials
Last Week: Ranked No. 6
Recent results: Pinned Tyler Jordan Lacar (Moanalua), beat Andre Pagurayan (Kapolei) 7-4.

8. Thomas Stevenson, Baldwin (152)
Career: state second, state third, two time MIL
Season: First at MIT, second at Officials behind Pascua
Last week: Ranked No. 8
Recent results: No results reported

9. James Sullivan, Campbell (220)
Career: State second, OIA champion
Season: First at Officials
Last week: Ranked No. 9
Recent results: Pinned Hunter Kam (Iolani), Pinned Charles Kam (Iolani)

10. Sheldon Bailey, Waianae (145)
Career: Third at states, OIA champion.
Season: First at MIT, first at Officials
Last week: Unranked
Recent results: None reported


Zack Diamond, Mililani (138)
Career: state fourth, state second twice, OIA champ
Season: Did not place at Officials after suffering an injury
Last week: Did not wrestle or no results reported

Micah Tynanes-Perez, Campbell (195)
Career: Third at states.
Season: First at Officials
Last week: Pinned Isreal Sagapolutele (Damien), Pinned Josiah O’Sullivan (Kamehameha)


  1. Koamalu January 20, 2016 11:14 pm

    Diamond will be back from injury very soon and should add some excitment to whatever weightclass he goes from 138-152.

  2. AOK January 20, 2016 11:24 pm

    Corbett took FFTs. I believe it was reported right here on HPW that he didnt shave. Which imo is inexcusable for a wrestler of his pedigree, as well as his dad the coach. Kato deserves #1

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