Waimea High School junior Connor Donaher was the sole Kauai Interscholastic Federation wrestler to touch the podium at the Chevron Hawaii High School Athletic Association Hawaii Wrestling state championships.
Coach Mac Pigott, the KIF wrestling tournament director, said this is the second year a Menehune has made it to the podium at the state meet which wrapped up Saturday in Honolulu.
“During the two-day meet, Connor had six matches, finishing with a 3-3 record,” Pigott said in an email. “Connor placed in sixth place in the 195-pound division.”
Joining Donaher on the mats during the final day, Kauai High School sophomore Madison Leanio was able to advance past the first day.
“Both Madison and Connor made it to the second day of the tournament by finishing with two wins, one loss records,” Pigott said. “Madison fell one match short of making it to the medals round in the very tough 138-pound class, finishing the two-day tournament with a 2-2 record.”
Pigott said the preliminary round on the first day was touch for the KIF who fielded 20 wrestlers.
“Every wrestler suffered a defeat,” Pigott said. “Things looked up for the KIF in the second round as eight wrestlers got wins and stayed alive to fight in the third round. By the end of day one, it was just Leanio and Donaher qualifying for day two.”
Pigott said this is only the third year the KIF has had wrestling as a sanctioned sport and sent wrestlers to the state meet.
During the first year, every KIF wrestler was eliminated from the tournament by the second round of the double elimination format with the exception of Waimea’s Marissa Hesapene who made it to the third round, ending with a 1-2 record.
Hesapene’s victory demonstrated the KIF’s ability to win in wrestling at the state tournament, setting the stage for the second year then the KIF wrestlers won matches and Waimea’s CJ Kehepuu advancing to finish in sixth place.
“The KIF has a relatively young group of wrestlers with only three seniors graduating this year,” Pigott said. “You can be sure the underclassmen will learn and continue to improve. The 2015 season ended with Waimea’s Donaher making it to the podium at states, and the quest to get more KIF grapplers on the podium in 2016 starts Monday.”