Wrestlers come home with hardware

Last weekend, four wrestlers and two coaches from Westside Wrestling Club went to the annual Radford High School junior varsity pre-season tournament on O’ahu.

Coach Mac Pigott and Coach Jojo escorted the four Waimea High School freshmen: Daniel Quinlan, Chris Kaiakapu, Evan Hurd and Cole Burton.

Quinlan went undefeated for the day earning first place in his weight class; Kaiakapu lost one match and took second place; while Hurd and Burton lost hard-fought matches.

The Radford High School gymnasium was packed full of wrestlers and spectators for the annual event. Most of the O’ahu high schools had JV teams at the tournament, with six wrestling mats in action all day long.

Since this may have been the first time high school wrestlers from Kaua’i have competed in an OIA tournament, there was a great deal of curiosity about the four wrestlers from Waimea.

Coach Mac has been pushing hard to get the KIF to adopt the sport of wrestling so that high school students on Kaua’i have the opportunity to compete for scholarship opportunities.

Coach Mac and the Westside Wrestling Club have donated a brand-new regulation wrestling mat to Waimea High School to help get the program going. Efforts are being made to get the sport sanctioned by the KIF by the next school year.

Last summer, Westside Wrestling Club took 11 wrestlers to the Aloha State Games on O’ahu and hosted Kaua’i’s first-ever USA Wrestling-sanctioned tournament at the Waimea High gymnasium.

Coach Patrick Garcia, membership director for Hawai’i USAW, and head coach at Waianae High School, has been very helpful in Westside Wrestling’s efforts to develop the sport on Kaua’i.

Garcia, who convinced the OIA to allow the four Waimea freshmen to enter the tournament, invited the boys to attend their practice the Friday afternoon before the tournament.

The wrestlers and coaches from the westside of Kaua’i had a good hard practice with the wrestlers and coaches from the westside of O’ahu and quickly bonded in the spirit of the “westside.” At the Saturday tournament, the Waimea boys warmed up with the Waianae team and sat with them while waiting for their matches.

Coach Reggie, the head coach from Kahuku High School as well as the president of the OIA, was so impressed with the efforts of the wrestlers from Kaua’i that he has invited them to a mini tournament in January. Any high school age wrestlers on Kaua’i who are interested in competing in the Kahuku tournament next month should contact Coach Mac at westsidewrestling@hawaii.rr.com

Westside Wrestling will be practicing at least three days a week as they train for the Kahuku tournament.

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