One Hawaii Prep World top-10 pound-for-pound wrestler was injured and had to leave his match for medical attention Thursday at the Moanalua duals.
Another top-10 pound-for-pound wrestler is just getting back to the mat while still nursing an injury.
The first one, No. 3 Makoa Cooper of Pearl City, the reigning state 152-pound champion who is now wrestling at 160, hurt his knee.
Chargers coach Todd Los Banos said initial reports of Cooper’s condition are good and that it’s likely he is not hurt badly. But it’s still too early to tell.
Kamehameha’s Ashley Gooman (No. 3 p4p), the defending state champion at 107, got a taste of real action, finally. She missed last weekend’s Officials tournament due to a hand injury she suffered a week earlier in practice.
“I’m feeling good,” Gooman said after a pin Thursday in one of her matches. “First I want to heal, and then I can improve on everything. I still have so much to work on. This is my first time going live in two weeks. I haven’t practiced at all.”
People have been wondering where Leilehua’s Brett Barefoot (No. 8 p4p and defending 182-pound state champ) has been.
Mules coach Kevin Corbett had the easy answer.
“He is in Pennsylvania right now, visiting his mother for the holidays,” he said.
Corbett’s daughter, Kelani Corbett (No. 2 p4p), led the Mules’ girls team to a second-place finish. She was in a tight match against a California state champion from Hillcrest of Riverside, Calif., on Wednesday.
“It was a tough match for both of them, a good first match for the beginning of the tournament,” the coach said.
Corbett prevailed in overtime, 6-4.
Corbett leaves tomorrow to take part in the Canada Cup for the U.S. Cadet team. It will be in Vancouver, British Columbia.
“She asked me to go, but I said no thanks,” the dad said. “I’ll pass on Canada in the winter time.”
The Mules’ Keanu Punley, who placed first at 170 pounds at the Officials tournament last weekend, outlasted Kapolei’s Gianni Oyadomari in a Thursday morning triple-overtime match.
“He (Oyadomari) was strong and very technical,” said Punley who came back from four points down to win by two. “We both battled to the end.”
Punley really wanted a rematch against Pearl City’s Cooper, who moved up to face him at 170 earlier in the season. Punley lost that one 5-2, but he was unable (due to hydration rules) to get down as low as 160 for the possible rematch.
“I gave him a couple of takedowns,” Punley said about an early deficit in the early-season match against Cooper. “I was slowly gathering myself together. By the time I did it, it was too late. I went back to work on that (the following) Monday, started grinding, found all the mistakes that I recorded.”
Punahou’s Mason Canonico and Pearl City’s Kasey Kikuyama moved up from 170 to 182 to face each other, with Canonico winning 5-4. Kikuyama recently dropped out of the pound-for-pound top 10.
“Going into the match, I didn’t know what to expect,” Canonico said. “I tried to do my shots and work some of by standups and I pushed through it all and came out with the win. I was down for some of the match, and toward the end, I had to get my mental game up and had to focus and get the sprawl to get the winning takedown and control. A takedown in the last 20 seconds was the one that won it.”
Mason’s brother, Andrew Canonico, lost to Kapolei’s Oyadomari at 170 on Thursday afternoon.
“That was a tough match,” Oyadomari said about meeting Andrew Canonico, who usually wrestles at 160. “He was real light on his feet. I had him (more) in the beginning. I need to work more on conditioning and can’t wait to face him again. I just came back from a (knee) injury and wasn’t able to get on the mat in the summer and preseason.”
One day earlier, Oyadomari lost to childhood friend Kikuyama at 170 and got pinned.
“He got me,” Oyadomari said. “I was up in the first period, but … again … my condititioning.”
Kaiser sisters —- No. 9 Tiare Ikei (112 pounds) and Roselani Ikei (132) —- fared well in the tournament. Their older brother, Chance Ikei, is wrestling for Arizona State.
“Both girls are relatively new to wrestling and other girls are ahead of them technically,” said Kaiser assistant Chad Ikei, who is also the father of the two girls. “Tiare has come a long way in her three years of wrestling. She had the opportunity to face (Roosevelt’s) Macy Higa at Officials and lost. But to really gauge where she is, she has to go after Ashley Gooman, who she has never beaten. If she can beat Gooman, great. If she can’t, it’s another loss to her to add on top of that. Win or lose, you want to wrestle the best.”
Higa was second in the state at 112 last year, followed by Tiare Ikei in third. They were both behind Lahainaluna’s Alexis Encinas … while Gooman (now at 112) was winning states at 107.
“And I’m really proud of Roselani,” Chad Ikei continued. “She was hesitant to try the sport at first and last year she went all the way to the state final and lost to (Kahuku’s) Teniya Alo (132).”
Moanalua’s Logan Garcia (No. 9 p4p), who placed second at states last season to three-time state champion Corey Cabanban (No. 1 p4p) of Saint Louis at 120, is at 126 this season, but wrestled at 132 Thursday to help Na Menehune win the Boys Silver Division.
“I’m looking at the bigger picture, not just states, but maybe nationals in Fargo in the summer,” Garcia said. “Try to win that.”
Asked if he’s been thinking about a possible rematch with Cabanban at 126, he said, “Not really.”
According to the two officials handling the mat in the Boys Gold Division finals, four from Kamehameha did a great job keeping score — Dayne Hall, Jonah Kahuli-Apo, Cody Bollig and Ariston Bartley.