Hawaii’s Tiare Ikei won the 53-kilogram (116-pound) gold medal at the 2019 U.S. Open Senior Women’s Championship in Las Vegas on Friday.
It was Ikei’s first senior-level national tournament. She went undefeated with two tech falls and a pin en route to not only the gold, but also the honor of outstanding women’s wrestler of the tournament.
She is a former Hawaii Technology Academy student and the 2018 112-pound state wrestling champion for the Kaiser Cougars.
In the opener, Ikei defeated Kiersten Bush with a 10-0 tech fall.
Later, in the semifinals, Ikei scored a difficult come-from-behind victory over three-time collegiate national champion and third-ranked Senior National Team member Cody Pfau.
In that match, Pfau led 10-2 before Ikei put up 10 points in the second period and then finished it off with a pin at 5:16.
In the final, Ikei trailed 4-2 against five-time national team member and two-time national collegiate champion Katherine Shai.
But Ikei stormed back, scoring 12 points in the first 57 seconds of the second period to pull out a 14-4, tech-fall victory.
Ikei’s gold-medal performance has secured her a spot in the Women’s Senior World Team trials challenge finals in Raleigh, N.C., on May 18-19. Ikei will also be competing for a spot on the U.S. Junior World Team and U-23 World Team at the 2019 Women’s National Championships UWW Cadet/Junior/U23 World Team Trials in Irving, Texas, on May 10-12.
On May 17, Ikei will be graduating high school from the Springs Studio in Colorado Springs, Colo., where she has been a resident athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center under the Elite Accelerator Program of USA Wrestling since August 2018.