Freshman Shayna Kamaka had an upset in view, but she couldn’t pull it off in the Officials wrestling tournament at Leilehua on Friday.
The Baldwin wrestler at 168 pounds was in front of two-time state champion Kelani Corbett of Leilehua by two points with 39 seconds left in the quarterfinals.
Corbett scored with an escape to make it a one-point deficit. Kamaka needed to hold on to Corbett’s leg for the final 10 seconds, but she let go, and Corbett — No. 2 in Hawaii Prep World’s pound-for-pound rankings — pulled off a reversal for a 6-5 victory as time ran out.
Kamaka went to sit down and cry the disappointment away and soak in a learning moment.
“She (Corbett) yelled stop because I was hurting her knee, so I stopped and she took the reveral on me,” Kamaka said. “I wanted to do it for my family. I want to put my name out there. People say you can’t live forever, but if you know their name, then your name will go on.
“My auntie was holding the video camera for Facebook live so my parents could watch. I was doing it for them. They’ve sacrificed a lot for me and, at first, I didn’t appreciate it until I realized how much effort they put into me so I can improve in the sport. I will remember to never take anything for granted and keep on going no matter what anybody says or anybody does because I’m working hard for something that I deserve.”
Corbett, who won states at 155 last year, said she didn’t come into the match as prepared as she should have been.
It was possible that Kamaka’s hold on Corbett’s leg could eventually have been construed by the officials as twisting and that would have been scored as a penalty.
Corbett said her knee was bent inward but it wasn’t due to any wrong intent by Kamaka. Corbett also said she didn’t yell stop.
Corbett could be headed for a showdown Saturday against Pearl City’s Jennie Fuamatu, the defending 184-pound state champion who is dropping down a weight class. Fuamatu is ranked No. 6 pound-for-pound.
“You have a target on your back,” Corbett said. “People chase you and challenge you. I want to get my name known — to let everyone know I’m the best. You gotta put pressure on yourself and wrestle the best to be the best. First off, we both gotta make it past semifinal matches. If we do meet in finals, I have a game plan already and I’m prepared.”
Corbett is also looking up at No. 1 Teniya Alo of Kahuku in the pound-for-pound rankings. Alo missed the officials meet due to an ankle injury, but will likely be at 138 as the season progresses.
“I’m not calling Teniya out or anything,” Corbett said. “A lot of times when you’re No. 1, you’re not trying to chase somebody. You’re staying where you are and people are chasing you. I would like to be No. 1. I just wrestle. Rankings don’t mean anything to me.”
Fuamatu is looking to go up against the best competition possible.
“(Corbett) is the only competition I have,” she said.
Pearl City’s Wynter Brown, a sophomore, came through with a major upset, pinning defending state champion Kauanoe Keahi of Lahainaluna in the quarters. Keahi came in No. 10 in the pound-for-pound rankings.
“I was listening to my coaches and was really excited,” Brown said. “My coaches were telling me she was the state champ. In the beginning that was kind of scaring me. She had me in a cradle, so I did a move we call the 911. I flipped her over on her back and I held on and got a pin. She’s a really tough wrestler. It makes me a lot more confident to think that I just beat the state champ. You shouldn’t doubt yourself. Don’t doubt yourself and try your best. You gotta go in there confident and you gotta always stay humble.”
Eight of 10 boys and seven of 10 girls in the pound-for-pound rankings were in action and all of them made it into Saturday’s semifinals except Keahi.
Hawaii Prep World caught up with a bunch of them, and here are their early-season thoughts.
No. 2 Zayren Terukina, Campbell, 145 pounds
“I feel good right now, but I know I can always get better,” Terukina said. “Training hard in the room every day, getting myself better and better. It’s just the beginning.
“I don’t know if I’ll stay at 145. It depends on how I do in this tournament. I might go down to 138.”
If he does go down, he’ll be in line to go up against Radford’s Christian Tavares, who is No. 10 and who Terukina beat in the 132-pound state final a year ago.
“We battled all last year,” Terukina said. “Every single tournament, it was always me and him. I beat him every time, but every single one was harder and harder and he was getting better and better.”
No. 4 Kysen Terukina, Kamehameha, 120 pounds
“I feel good so far, but it’s still the beginning of the year,” said Terukina, the 113-pound state champion last year. “There are still a lot of people out there. You don’t know who’s dropping weight classes, so you always have to be ready for whoever comes your way. My conditioning is always good, so now it’s about finishing my shots. I can get my shots, but I have to finish it. These people know how I wrestle now that I’m a sophomore. They’re wrestling a lot more defensive, so I have to perfect my moves and do them a lot better this year.”
No. 4 Ira Navarro, Lahainaluna, 102 pounds
“Being in a new weight class (up from 97, where she won the state title) is something different,” Navarro said. “The ultimate goal this year is that it’s my last year of high school and I want to get that title again. It doesn’t come easy and I will have to work hard for it. There are a lot of things I need to work on — it’s only preseason, and one of them is being more confident on the mat.”
No. 7 Macy Higa, Roosevelt, 117 pounds
“I’m moving up in weight, so, that is one thing less to worry about — not having to manage my weight so much like last year,” said Higa, last season’s 112-pound state champ. “The girls are bigger and stronger than what I’m used to wrestling, but we’re working on it. My final goal is states, but I want to see how much I can improve my wrestling before then. I want to wrestle in college.”
Three places — Lyon College in Arkansas, Eastern Oregon University, and Campbellsville in Kentucky — are among the possibilities for her in collegiate wrestling.
No. 7 Kainalu Estrella, Lahainaluna, 132 pounds
“Right now, I feel pretty good,” said Estrella, who lost to Campbell’s Triston Santos in the 126-pound final last season. “I like where I’m at, but there’s always room to improve. It’s early in the season, so it’s hard to tell where I’m at.”
Estrella talked about his tough quarterfinal match against Mililani’s Elijah Diamond in which he got a pin with only a 4-2 lead.
“He was scrappy, so it was hard to score really clean on him, so I just had to gut it out,” he said. “I was hitting with a lot of combos and was able to get to his legs.”
The winning move, he said, was a cradle.
No. 8 Jahnea Miguel, Baldwin, 138 pounds
“The season is just started, but I’m feeling good, pretty strong,” said Miguel, who is going to miss out on a chance to meet reigning state champ Kauanoe Keahi of Lahainaluna, who lost in the quarters. “I think I need to work on my technique and getting my moves down and all smooth.”
No. 9 Nanea Estrella, Lahainaluna, 122 pounds
“This year, I’m coming out with a bang and feeling pretty good,” said Estrella, the reigning 117-pound state champ. “I not only moved up because of my weight, but because of my strength. I moved up because I know I can excel in this weight class.
“We have a really good girls team. It’s still the preseason and we’re trying to get them on track and realize how good of a team we are and if we work together we can do great things.”
No. 10 Christian Tavares, Radford, 138 pounds
“I was talking to Zayren (Terukina) earlier and he said he plans on dropping down,” said Tavares, the state runner-up to Zayren at 132 pounds last year. “I kind of want a rematch just to see where I’m standing.”
Tavares said he was “humbled a little bit” in a loss earlier this season to freshman Brandon Pagurayan of Kapolei.
“I’m happy for that,” Tavares said. “It made me practice harder. I was gassed after the first period when he was up by one. I didn’t have much cardio, but I’ll be working on that.”
While Tavares was speaking with reporters, Pagurayan was getting pinned by Moanalua’s Chase Wusstig in the 145-pound quarters.