Punahou’s Zander Manuel is gunning for a first state title.
After upsetting second-seeded Vance Keliihoomalu in the 182-pound division of the Texaco/HHHSA Wrestling State Championships at Blaisdell Arena on Thursday, Manuel heads to the final later in the afternoon against Kamehameha’s Kainalu Huddy, the top seed.
Keliihoomalu was disqualified after an illegal headbutt in the final seconds after he fell way behind and was visibly frustrated.
“I came into this match with the coaches telling me to wrestle my best,” Manuel said. “That’s what I did. I got a few pokes to the eye and a couple of head butts. Every time I came back to the circle, I took a deep breath in and a deep breath out and restarted the match.
“I’m pretty stoked being able to make it to the final, being unseeded and not many people know my name and thinking I’m going to be a pushover.”
Huddy beat Manuel twice earlier this season, including once in a match that went to overtime.
Keliihoomalu finished second at states at 182 pounds last year and swept the OIA and OIA West tournaments.