KIF takes steps to add wrestling

The Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation took a step forward in adding wrestling programs in the schools.

The KIF executive board, consisting of the three public high school principals, voted at its most recent meeting late last month, to add wrestling as an exhibition sport for the 2009-2010 school year provided certain conditions could be met:

• There must be at least one qualified wrestling coach for each of the three geographic areas — Waimea, Kapa‘a, Kaua‘i.

• There must be three certified officials on-island.

• Each site must use certified wrestling mats.

Ray “Mac” Piggott, head of Westside Wrestling Club, said yesterday that although this is better than not having wrestling in the schools at all, this was a “sad news for students who were hoping to compete in scholastic wrestling next year.”

Piggott said that each year, he and petitioning parents ask the executive board to sanction the sport and make official. That was their goal again during the most recent meetings.

“I feel like I speak for a lot of people (regarding this issue) and we really wanted sanctioning for this coming school year,” he said. There are students who wanted the opportunity to compete before they graduated. Each year we ask them to sanction it and to please consider it with an open mind and open heart. But on the other hand this is a step forward.”

Daniel Quinlan of ‘Ele‘ele took second place in the Chevron/Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association Boys State Wrestling Championships in March at the Neal Blaisdell Center in Honolulu. He was able to compete because he attends Lahainaluna School on Maui. Wrestling played a role in his transferring out of Waimea High School and to Lahainaluna.

“I think it’s good they’re adding it, but I’d rather have it so they can wrestle at states,” Quinlan said.

Quinlan is the reigning Maui Interscholastic League champion for the 152-pound weight class and won the 140-pound weight class the year before. He will be a senior this fall and said he would have moved back to Kaua‘i if wrestling was sanctioned.

Kapa‘a High School Athletic Director Greg Gonsalves said he is willing to support the sport.

“I think it’s great,” he said. “We’ve got talented kids and we can be competitive. I know we’ve got some people excited about it in our community.”

By wrestling being an exhibition sport, it means that students can participate and compete but will not be eligible for post-season state championship.

The executive board also decided that wrestling would be evaluated at the end of the season. Whether or not the sport would be officially sanctioned by the school year 2010-2011 would be determined by the participation of the students.

Students interested have the opportunity to wrestle with clubs and the Kaua‘i Police Activities League program, but there are no programs affilliated with the public schools. The KIF is currently the only interscholastic league in the state without wrestling.

Phone calls to each of the executive board members were not immediately returned.

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