Some of the best wrestlers are known to live in the gym. Such is the case for Sami Saribay and the rest of the Lahainaluna wrestling team, who slept overnight on wrestling mats in Leilehua’s Paul T. Kobayashi Gymnasium between the first and second days of the Hawaii Officials Tournament.
Air mattresses and hung towels were visible behind the back exit, but the temporary arrangements didn’t deter Saribay, the defending girls state champion at 107.
“There’s actually something wrong with the ceiling in the back of the gym so we slept on the mats this year,” she said. “It didn’t really change how I come into the tournament but it was really cold. I’m from Lahaina and it’s way hotter in Lahaina than it is here.”
Saribay outlasted Kapolei’s Allicia Mahoe 8-6 in the 107-pound final with a takedown in overtime in what was a true test of endurance. After four matches in two days, the senior feels that her conditioning is up to par for those aiming to take her spot.
“Being a state champ last year, I know everyone’s trying to beat me. I’ve just been working hard, hard, hard, hard, so I can stay on top,” Saribay said. “Personally, I know it’s hard to focus getting on top, but staying on top is way harder.”
Other Lunas who took individual titles were Nanea Estrella at 127, Tayler Peligrino-Hayase at 145 and Shannon Jaramillo at 184.
For complete finals results, click here.
On the boys’ side, Kamehameha junior Kysen Terukina has accomplished plenty so far in his prep career, but fell short of an Officials title last year. The two-time ILH and state champion and current No. 1 in Hawaii Prep World’s pound-for-pound rankings won it as a freshman but not as a sophomore.
On Saturday night, he added another title to his resume with a dominating 10-2 win over ‘Iolani’s Brady Hoshino in the 126-pound final.
“I just always had that memory of me getting pinned (at last year’s officials),” Terukina said. “It always helps me remind myself to stay in good position, never take anybody lightly and just go in and give my best effort.”
Leilehua’s Kelani Corbett, No. 1 in the girls’ P4P, took the 168 division after beating Moanalua’s Alexis Tupuola 13-3 in the finals.
But not before some injury adversity for the three-time state champion. Corbett hurt her foot in a semifinal victory over Kaiser’s Katherine Heim and had to ice her ankle before taking on Tupuola. After picking up the title, she was back at the trainer’s table for another round of icing her ankle. Her father and coach, Kevin Corbett, says she really had to gut out her matches today but that she’ll ultimately be fine.
Kamehameha won the team title in both the boys’ and girls’ divisions. The boys picked up a total of 304 points, far ahead of runner-up Punahou, who had 168.5. The Kamehameha girls had 207, while Baldwin finished in second with 169.5.
Warriors coach Rob Hesia liked what he saw out of his teams in what was essentially a dress rehearsal for the state tournament, but he knows that a lot can change between now and Feb. 20-21 at the Blaisdell Center.
“I think it helps them because it gives them looks of people they’re not gonna see until probably states. Outer-island teams won’t be at a lot of the tournaments we’re gonna be at. The OIA teams, we’re maybe gonna see them once or twice,” Hesia said. “It’s a good opportunity for us to see what the field looks like and how much we need to elevate from there. It’s a good experience but it’s at the beginning of the year.
“It’s good to have a showing like this at the beginning of the year but what really counts for us is states and ILH championships. We just gotta keep pressing and elevating. Now that the rest of the field also got to see us, they’re obviously gonna elevate, too.”