The Punahou boys wrestling team is getting pretty tired of second place.
The Buffanblu had more ILH champions (seven) than Kamehameha (five) on Saturday at the league championships held at Kamehameha, but still could not wrestle the crown from the defending champions. Punahou also finished second to Kamehameha last year at states, and hasn’t won it all since Matt Oney‘s dynasty drew its final breath in 2012.
“It’s amazing after last year, coming in second in the ILH and second at states,” heavyweight champion Legend Matautia said. “Hopefully we can win this year as a team. It’s a lot of stepping stones to get over.”
Matautia’s title was his third, and Vincent Terrell joined him with No. 3 as well. They are the first to join the long list since Cameron Kato in 2016.
Hale Robinson (106 pounds), Kaistin Vasquez (113), Hudson Pak (160), state champion Zander Manuel and John Egami also won the ILH’s coveted seed at the state championships and their seven individual titles are the most for the school since it had 11 just over a decade ago in 2009.
Matautia made his milestone win look easy, finding an opening early against Kamehameha’s Jonah Kahuli-Apo and turning it into a slam and first-period pin. Because of a dearth of heavyweight opponents in the ILH coupled with Marautia’s penchant for quick stoppages, the champ relishes the chance to try to defend his state title over multiple matches. Sometimes he goes weeks without getting on the mat for competition, but when he does he always puts on a show.
“I am glad I wasn’t in that throw,” Punahou coach Yoshi Honda said. “That throw was a little crazy.”
While Matautia puts the ILH three-peat second on his list of accomplishments behind his state championship, saying one would not mean much without the other, Terrell doesn’t have that luxury.
Despite being a top seed for the last three years, Terrell’s best finish in the big tournament is sixth as a sophomore. He failed to place last year but hung with Kapolei’s Branden Pagurayan in a 12-6 loss at Officials this year.
“It feels good,” Terrell said. “Hopefully I can carry this on to states but it feels good to be in a class that not too many people are in.
“I feel great, I went down a weight class because I was sick but I do feel good. I feel like I’ve got my energy back and I am excited.”
Terrell’s historic win didn’t come nearly as easily as Matautia’s. Now at 145 pounds, Terrell and Maryknoll’s Devin Shimabukuro were tied at 4 entering the third period before Terrell attacked and turned the match into a 13-6 major decision. He credited a newfound maturity for his strong third period, saying he was a hothead when he was younger and probably would have lost it before Punahou’s coaches got through to him.
“I’ve been working for this the whole season, trying to get the three-peat at ILH,” Terrell said. “I knew that it was going to come down to the third period. Because of all of my coaches I knew I could take it and had to keep the pressure on him and keep him down and get the major for our team points.”
That short break between periods might be looked back at the moment Terrell went from an All-State football player who wrestlers to a standout in both sports in the spirit of Gerald Welch, Richard Torres, Dayton Furuta and KJ Pascua.
“Terrell’s an athlete, right?” asked Honda, who lettered in both sports in his prep days. “The speed, don’t we all wish we had that speed? He’s on a mission.”
Punahou’s football players started the year behind the full-time wrestlers from other schools, but they will be competing at the state level, unlike football. The ILH always has enough seats at the table in this sport.
“We start late but we start the Monday after because we know that as a team we have to show leadership and get out there,” Terrell said. “We are lifting during football season but it is a whole different animal with wrestling. We are definitely playing catch-up at some point but coach Yoshi does a great job of getting us to our peak for ILH and states.”
At Kekuhaupio Gym
106—1. Hale Robinson, Pun; 2. Chaz Kuikahi-Molina, KSK; 3. Cyrus Bucsit, StL; 4. Joshua Frias, Iol; 5. Skyler Suzui, HBA.
113—1. Kaistin Vasquez, Pun; 2. Scott Fujishima, MPI; 3. Robert Frias, Iol; 4. Akoni Kaaialii, KSK; 5. Jarren Seson, HBA; 6. Zion Amerson, StL.
120—1. Josaiah Hokoana, KSK; 2. Oliver Nishigawa, Pun; 3. Raffe Pereirra, DMS; 4. Breyson Chang, Mryk; 5. David Cunningham, Iol.
126—1. Brant Porter, KSK; 2. Dreddin Villalpando, StL; 3. Ammen Tawfik, MPI; 4. Kekoa Young, Pun; 5. Micah Shibuya, HBA; 6. Kolsen Tanaka, Iol.
132—1. Kysen Terukina, KSK; 2. Elijah Kaawa, StL; 3. Josiah Lum, HBA; 4. Micah Tabar, Pun.
138—1. Brady Hoshino, Iol; 2. Ansen Ursua, StL; 3. Jonah Chew, KSK; 4. Matt Sugiki, Pun; 5. Joseph Higuchi, DMS.
145—1. Vincent Terrell, Pun; 2. Devin Shimabukuro, Mryk; 3. Isaac Ignacio, StL; 4. Kaimalu Kahalioumi Vinluan, KSK; 5. Cody Yamashita, DMS; 6. Logan Geronimo, StL.
152—1. Kanai Tapia, KSK; 2. Stone Franczyk, Han; 3. Noah Takeyama, Pun; 4. Isaac Peterson, DMS: 5. Jake Lee, Iol; 6. Justin Baker, Mryk.
160—1. Kahekili Pahio, KSK; 2. Hudson Pak, Pun; 3. Blaze Holani, StL; 4. Nathan Mason, DMS.
170—1. Manaia Wolfgramm, KSK; 2. Boston Opetia, StL; 3. Joshua Arcayena, Mryk; 4. Andrew. Jung, Pun.
182—1. Blaze Pascua, Iol; 2. Andrew Cananico, Pun; 3. Dustin Dano, KSK; 4. Hoala Meyer, StL; 5. Andrew Mimura, MPI; 6. Jayden Williams, PBA.
195—1. Zander Manuel, Pun; 2. Viliamu Tongotea, StL; 3. Andrew Smith, KSK; 4. Keola Teves, PBA.
220—1. John Egami, Pun; 2. Jeremy Pangelinan, StL; 3. Scotty Dikilato, KSK; 4. Wyatt Kaauanui, DMS; 5. Rigz Ornong, Mryk.
285—1. Legend Matautia, Pun; 2. Jonah Kahuli-Apo, KSK; 3. Anthony Sagapolutele, StL.
97—1. Zoe Omura, Iol; 2. Nanci Nakagawa, Pun; 3. Jenesis Pereirra, DMS.
102—1. Madison Kogachi, Pun; 2. Kelcie Ito, HBA.
107—1. Nohea Moniz, KSK; 2. Lindsey Ligsay, DMS; 3. Faith Inatsuka, Mryk; 4. Jade Retuta, MPI; 5. Kelly Ichimura, Pun.
112—1. Haley Nakahara, KSK; 2. Lillie Awaya, Iol; 3. Kimi Nelson, MPI.
117—1. Aliya Takano, KSK; 2. Emma Ito, Pun; 3. McKensen Fuata, KSB; 4. Milika’a Wells-Whittle, MPI; 5. Gina Wang, Iol; 6. Shalia Lautele, Mryk.
122—1. Jaycee Ichimura, Pun; 2. Laamea Harbottle, KSK; 3. Kwan Valynn, MPI.
127—1. Krystal Puahala, KSK; 2. Breylin Dano, KSB; 3. Allie Riel, Iol.
132—1. Skye Realin, KSK.
138–1. Paige Respicio, KSK; 2. Tessia Mauia, KSB.
145—1. Charlize-Jazmine Pascual-Tabuyo, MPI; 2. Isabella Wong, Pun; 3. Mehana Kapoi, KSK.
155—1. Kylee Bartholomew-Tangaro, KSK.
168—1. Amy Sotoa, KSK.
184—1. Dylan Huddy, Mryk; 2. Harley Ceberano, Pun.