Motown Showdown kicks off the 2019-20 wrestling season on Saturday

It’s wrestling time again.

Some grapplers are grappling with weight. Others are aiming for league and state crowns come February. Still others are just trying to do the best they can in grueling practices and meets for the next few months.

To get things going in high-profile fashion, Moanalua has a special dual meet planned for Saturday at 6:30 p.m. called the Motown Showdown. It will put the spotlight on all competitors — literally.

The Moanalua bleachers will be lighted enough to see and get around in, but the gym lights will mostly be concentrated on the center mat.

Unlike most wrestling meets using multiple mats, this event will use one in the middle of the gym.

The matches are all unofficial exhibitions or as Moanalua boys coach Lucas Misaki calls them, “glorified scrimmages.”

But there will be referees and scorekeeping, a public-address announcer, individual winners and losers and team winners and losers.

It’s the second annual presentation of this glorified scrimmage, and it pits Moanalua’s boys against Kapolei and Moanalua’s girls against Mililani. A year ago, Moanalua’s two teams competed against Leilehua.

“Our goal was to bring in full teams who will probably be in title contention at the end of the year,” Misaki said.

A bunch of state placers will be there, but, according to Misaki, two boys state placers from Na Menehune will not be competing for precautionary reasons — Elijah Asuncion (113-pound state champ two years ago who placed fourth three years ago at 113 and fifth last year at 120) and Boltyn Taam (160-pound state champ a year ago who placed second in 2018 at 145 while with Saint Louis).

Taam finished No. 9 in the final Hawaii Prep World pound-for-pound rankings last season.

“It will be fun,” Misaki said about the Motown Showdown. “There won’t be a whole lot of key matchups, but it’s a cool event to start the season. Mililani has a lot of tough lightweight girls. That’s why we wanted to host them. They’re young and hungry.”

Among the other wrestlers to watch for on Saturday are Mililani’s Erin Hikiji (fourth at states at 97 pounds last year), Kennedy Javier (fourth at states at 102), Victoriana Kim, Makena Abe and Victoria Lee (third at states at 117), Kapolei’s Branden Pagurayan (two-time defending state champ at 152, No. 3 P4P), his freshman brother Brycen Pagurayan and Jamil Kelly, and Moanalua’s Lana Perez (third at states at 138), Codi-Jane Kamaka (sixth at states at 117), Blaze Sumiye and Andrew Adwiniwin (third at states at 170).

Perez is ranked third nationally by at 127 pounds and made it to the final match, placing second at the Junior Nationals in Fargo, N.D., in July.

A potential matchup at 182, Adwiniwin vs. Kelly, if it happens, is expected to be highly competitive, according to Misaki.

Matches will be five minutes instead of six.


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