PUHI — Kauai High School freshman Justice Funamura-Sasil was exploring her options beyond football Saturday at the Wilcox Gym at Island School.
Funamura-Sasil had just finished her sixth and final year of eligibility with the Kauai Pop Warner Football League, and was looking to see what other options besides football lay ahead of her.
“My grandpa is familiar with wrestling and said I should check it out,” said the freshman, who finished her final year as a KPWFL scholar athlete. “I also signed up for softball so will wait to see what becomes of that.”
Funamura-Sasil, finishing the day with a win and a loss for second place in the 122-pound class, was among the 51 wrestlers who weighed in and were on the mats for competition as the Kauai Interscholastic Federation unfolded its 2016 wrestling season before a near-capacity audience at the Island School facility.
“This is the most wrestlers since the sport was sanctioned in 2012,” said Mac Pigott, the tournament director. “We had 63 bouts contested and some of the best technical wrestling in the short history of KIF wrestling. Keep in mind, there are only four seniors in the KIF this year, so we are developing a solid program.”
Matt Ballard leads the Kauai High School program who leads the KIF in terms of participation and victories. The defending KIF champions in both boys and girls divisions, weighed in 10 boys and 15 girls. Kapaa, under the coaching of Ian Verssamy and Larry Richardson, finished weighing in five girls and six boys while Waimea, under the coaching of Rich Cappelino, weighed in eight boys. Island School, host for the opening matches, weighed in five boys and three girls under the coaching of Erin Cobb Adams.
Braeden Jensen of Kapaa, finishing with an 8-0 record in 2015, matched up against Waimea’s Athens Acosta, moving up in the weight class from 153 pounds, in the 160-pound class, the match giving fans a match to cheer about.
Acosta scored first with a takedown in the opening period, but was quickly countered by Jensen for a 2-2 deadlock at the buzzer. Acosta jumped out at the start of the second round, quickly out scoring Jensen 5-1 to set up the third and final round with an 8-3 lead over the Kapaa wrestler.
Acosta out scrambled the Warrior for a fall in the first 15 ticks of the final period.
The next KIF wrestling matches start at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Kauai High School gym.
Full results of the Saturday matches:
102 pounds: Kaisa Ishikawa (Kau), Shaelin Manibog (Kau)
112 pounds: Jordyn Kahananui (Kau), Kaylin Marie Espada (Kap), Quinn Catlin (IS)
122 pounds: Shanayah Marshall (Kap), Justice Funamura-Sasil (Kau), Anna Malia Santos (Kap)
127 pounds: Nika Tapucol (Kau), Halie Sakai (Kau)
132 pounds: Sierra Sanoe Kalama (Kau), Naia Manintin (Kau), Audrey Warner (IS)
145 pounds: Sheena Juliano (Kau), Tiffany Applegate (Kau)
155 pounds: Jessica Dinnie (Kau), Sarah Matsunaga (Kau), Kimberly Yago (Kau)
168 pounds: Brianna Kaneshiro (Kau), Bernadette Lindsey (Kap)
120 pounds: Haiden Genegabuas-Hirakawa (Kau), Noah Espanto (Wai), Reyden Rull (Wai)
126 pounds: Naikoa Simao (Wai), Corey Agena (Wai), Aukahi Kalama (Kau)
138 pounds: Benymar Tapucal (Kau), Matthew Tamanaha (Kau), Ryan Joel (Kap)
145 pounds: Bryson Yoro (Kau), James Lindsey (Kau), Raffy Perono (Kap)
160 pounds: Athens Acosta (Wai), Chasen Alayvilla (Kau), Akio Tolenna (Kap)
170 pounds: Eosin Chelius (IS), Raycyn Aviguetero (Kau)
182 pounds: Kenneth Niheu (IS), Izaia Nitta (Wai)
195 pounds: Connor Donaher (Wai), Andrew Evans (Wai), Aidan Wilson (IS)