KIF wrestlers heading to Aiea Open tournament

PUHI — The Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation will make history Saturday when it sends a delegation to the Aiea Open wrestling tournament on O‘ahu, said Coach Mac Pigott of the Westside Wrestling Kaua‘i club.

Kapa‘a High School has 18 grapplers, Waimea High School has three wrestlers and Kaua‘i High School has two wrestlers scheduled to participate in the Aiea Open, the first Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association wrestling tournament of the 2012-13 season.

Pigott coordinated a special wrestling clinic at Island School Saturday. The clinic was headed by Jake Clark for about 25 high school grapplers and four coaches as well as individuals who are interested in officiating the KIF wrestling matches.

The instruction and insight offered by Clark — a Greco Roman World Champion and 2016 Olympic hopeful — prepared the field of KIF wrestlers for the upcoming tournament on O‘ahu where HHSAA rules and officials unwrap the season. Clark is also the head instructor at the BJ Penn UFC gym and owner of Hi Flyer wrestling club of O‘ahu.

Opening with a talk on life values gleaned from the sport of wrestling, Clark offered instruction with hands-on demonstrations on different techniques and moves specific to high school wrestling.

On the officiating arena, Max Miura, a veteran wrestling referee, offered a rules clinic as well as offering on-the-mat training to KIF wrestling officials Tom Perry and Paul Zina.

During the training, Miura reviewed the National Federation of High Schools and the HHSAA rules and requirements for sanctioned wrestling tournaments with KIF coaches, scorers and time-keeping officials.

The clinic wrapped up with the first-ever KIF coaching field being treated to on-the-mat exercises, utilizing what was presented during the clinic.

Elija Koga of Kapa‘a got the first-ever KIF win, getting past Nicholas Gabriel of Kaua‘i. Storm Haire of Kapa‘a defeated Kala Dusenberry of Waimea, and Kainalu Gandia of Kapa‘a chalked up Kapa‘a’s third straight win, getting past Shawn Taguas of Kaua‘i.

Jeremiah Obrero of Kapa‘a added to the “W” list, defeating Jeremy Manibog, also of Kapa‘a.

Ronnie Perono of Kapa‘a split his series, taking Bryson Yoro of Kaua‘i before falling to Athens Acosta of Waimea in his second appearance on the mats.

Nika Tapucal of Kaua‘i earned the Red Raiders’ sole win after besting her teammate Sanoe Kalama in the only girls matchup of the day.

“Most high schools in the state of Hawai‘i have well-established, long-running wrestling programs, some going back nearly 50 years,” Pigott said in an email. “It will be a chicken-skin moment for those of us who have been waiting for this day when KIF wrestlers make their debut and put Kaua‘i on the map of HHSAA wrestling at the Aiea Open.”

The KIF wrestling program will debut  Jan. 12 at 10 a.m. at the Kapa‘a High gym.


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