Practice partners Lana Perez and Rachel Oshita cash in at OIAs

Moanalua's Lana Perez, top, took home a second OIA crown on Saturday. Photo by Darryl Oumi/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

When Lana Perez and Rachel Oshita next clash in the Moanalua wrestling room, they will do so as fellow OIA champions. 

Perez pinned Leilehua’s Brooke Cabinian in 1:54 for her second OIA crown and Oshita stuck Marcella Reynolds of Radford in 5:23 for her first on Saturday in Wahiawa. Their effort led Na Menehune to their third OIA title in a row, matching a streak set by Reggie Torres and Kahuku from 2003-05. No school has won four in a row.

“(Oshita) trains with Lana every day,” Moanalua coach Sean Sakaida said “It just shows when you have an excellent partner in the wrestling room that pushes her, you can’t do it all on your own. She pushes right back, they have done it all year every single day and I think it is paying off now.”

Perez won at 127 pounds and Oshita is queen at 132. Perez floated around during the season to find better competition, causing other teams to guess where she would settle. But she told her coach at the beginning of the season that 127 is her weight and she will not budge come tournament time because it is her home.

That two-time Baldwin state champion Jahnea Miguel and two-time state finalist Krystal Puahala of Kamehameha is there didn’t matter. Perez pinned Miguel at the Paani Challenge and beat Puahala 17-5 at Officials. 

And if the OIA Championships are any indication, she is getting better every day with help from Oshita and her coaches.

“She has been super determined all year to improve,” Sakaida said. “I mean that ankle pick that she did, we kinda went over it a couple of weeks ago and she just did it in the final match. She is literally soaking up everything, she wants to learn things and still improving. I admire that, she is a senior already and she could be like ‘I know it all’ but she wants to still improve. 

Isabelle Asuncion‘s dominant undefeated season ended with a 2-0 loss to Brianna Funakoshi of Aiea in the 102 final, one of four finalists to fall for the champions. Castle’s Sadie Antoque pinned Kira Jhun in 5:09 at 155 pounds, Chloe Yuen fell in 32 seconds to Jacinta Fonoti at 184 and Princess Leota lasted 4:24 before being pinned by Tangiteina Niutupuivaha of Kahuku. Asuncion suffered an injury in the semifinals but talked her way onto the mat for the final.

“I think a loss is always good,” Sakaida said. “As long as it doesn’t happen at states because you get to learn from it. (Asuncion) is going to be really motivated. She is the type who doesn’t need extra motivation. She is always motivated to get better and asking the right questions at practice. She is always trying to soak things up.”

But with multiple losses in the finals, Sakaida won’t have to do anything extra to get the girls to listen since there is urgency to improve before the big show. He says one of the most important things he wants to get across to his girls is to trust their training and know that they don’t have to do anything they haven’t been taught when stories hit the media in the days before the bright lights come on at the Blaisdell Arena.

“Some of our girls got out of it, too hyped for the match,” Sakaida said. “It’s how society is now, they have to adapt with it. Don’t read anything on the internet, just treat it as another tournament. Yes, it is important but you can’t get overly hyped on it, just be calm and relaxed and treat it like practice.” 


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