PUHI — Archilles Singson of the Westside team won two of his matches, but Central edged the Westside 24-20 in the first K-PAL Wrestling tournament Thursday night.
Mark Ozaki, director for K-PAL who doubled as the scorekeeper, said the intent is to expose the island’s youth wrestlers to a tournament atmosphere in preparation for the state tournament later this year.
The matches are “a collaboration of the East, West, and Central Districts to promote a wrestling ‘community’ on the island of Kaua’i,” read the K-PAL Coaches Statement in a press release.
The matches have a “common vision of starting wrestling as an official KIF high school sport while at the same time enabling the youth of Kaua’i with positive life skills as well as preparing them with wrestling fundamentals to challenge at a competitive level.”
Earlier in the year, K-PAL procured enough wrestling mats to equip sites on the Eastside as well as the West-side.
The Eastside youngsters meet at the Kapa’a Armory while the Westside students meet at the Boys & Girls Waimea Clubhouse.
In addition to providing another athletic avenue for Kaua’i’s students, Ozaki noted that this is in preparation for the day that the Kaua’i Interscholastic Federation (KIF) adopts wrestling as one of its sports programs.
Singson is currently a student at Waimea High School, where he will be leaving as part of their Electron Marathon Electric Car Racing Team next week.
In the audience, a group of students from Kaua’i High School were on hand with their video equipment to cheer on two Central wrestlers, Tyler Nakashima and Carter Coulombe.
“I don’t wrestle,” said one student, a freshman. “I grapple.”
During the tournament matches that run in two-minute rounds for the older students and one-minute for the younger wrestlers, points are accumulated for various moves.
These include two points for a takedown, one point for an escape, two points for a reversal, two points for a three-second nearfall, and three points for a five-second nearfall.
Tom Perry served as referee for all matches, his wrists bearing either a red (Central) band, or a blue (Westside) band, and the scorer recording based on which hand is raised with the corresponding points.
Although the flip cards planned to help spectators keep track of the scoring had not arrived in time for the Thursday night tournament, spectators quickly adapted to keeping an eye on the action as well as Perry’s hands for came against Bendan McNicholas, coinciding with the first match of the tournament. He took that match by a 10-2 decision to give Westside an early 3 team points.
Singson followed that up with a pin of Gage Gusman that yielded 6 team points towards the close of the tournament.
Gage Gusman got the first Central points with an 8-3 decision over Jacob Jimenez before falling to Singson.
Adam Gusman, taking his match on a pin of Mathew Jimenez, finished with two wins for Central, his second victory coming on an 11-7 decision over John Pearson.
According to a schedule released by K-PAL, the next wrestling matches will be held on Thursday, March 16 at the Kapa’a Armory starting at 6 p.m. That match will feature Central against Eastside. There is no admission charge.
This will be followed by a match on Mar. 23 featuring the Eastside and West-side teams meeting at the Chiefess Kamakahelei School.
Apr. 29 is the date K-PAL will hold its island championships at the Chiefess Kamakahelei School with a time for those matches to be announced.
The state championships will be held on Maui in mid-May.
Full tournament results can be found in the Scoreboard section on page B2.