It was a whirlwind senior year for Saint Louis’ Corey Cabanban.
The four-time state championship wrestler who graduated with the school’s class of 2018 last week will be taking his craft and trying to improve on it in the nation’s heartland.
Cabanban will wrestle as an invited walk-on for Iowa State, where he plans to major in business management.
“I want to get through college and win a national championship title, represent myself and Hawaii,” he said via cellphone Sunday afternoon. “My coaches helped in getting me to Iowa State. They contacted the coach (Kevin Dresser) about me and the coach started watching me and contacted me. We kept in contact and he always wanted to know how I was doing.”
Cabanban chose Iowa State over Fresno State, Idaho, Northern Colorado, Virginia and Menlo (Calif.) College.
“I picked (Iowa State) to keep the trend of Hawaii athletes going there,” Cabanban said. “Dane Pestano (former Kamehameha wrestler) went there. We needed another Hawaii kid up there.”
The first of two calls to Cabanban’s cell phone revealed a lengthy message spoken in Hawaiian.
“I’m not fluent,” said Cabanban, whose ethnicity is one-quarter Hawaiian along with Filipino and Chinese. “It was a homework assignment for Hawaiian class.”
Cabanban will be honored tonight at the Dole Cannery’s Pomaikai Ballroom as one of 12 senior athletes chosen to the Hawaii High School Hall of Honor.
In addition, Cabanban is the state’s winner of the David Schultz national award for high school wrestling excellence.
The Cyclones have won eight national Division I championships, with the latest one in 1987, and 69 individual national titles by 45 athletes, according to the team’s website.
Pestano finished up his wrestling eligibility at Iowa State this year. He went 58-39 overall, including 21-14 as a senior. In 2016, he finished in fourth place in the Big 12 Championships and qualified for the NCAAs. In 2018, he took sixth place (184 pounds) in the Big 12.