Leanio makes podium

WAHIAWA — Kauai High School wrestler Madison Leanio was the sole Kauai Interscholastic Federation grappler to end up on the podium of the Officials Scholarship Tournament that wrapped up Saturday night at the Leilehua High School on Oahu.

Mac Pigott, the KIF wrestling director, said Leanio, who finished in the medal count last week, ended the two-day tournament in fourth place in a 27-wrestler 152-pound class.

Matt Ballard, the Kauai High School wrestling coach, said the Red Raiders took four boys and three girls to the match.

“We are proud of our kids to go battle with the best in the state,” Ballard said. “Our inexperience leads to mistakes and missed opportunities that cause us to fall short in the ‘win’ column.”

Kauai’s Matthew Tamanaha, wrestling in the 132-pound class, defeated Aiden labrech of Canada with a fall at 3:47 before being downed by Jhael Jose of Leilehua and Blake Tadaki of Castle.

Lowen Matsusaka was victorious in an exhibition match against Maui before being downed by Tahj Ressureccion of Leilehua and Noa Wussig of Moanalua.

Benjamin Sommer was victorious in an exhibition match against Maui before being defeated by Ty Bates of Lahainaluna and Andrew Stewart of Radford.

According to results on the Hawaii Prep blog, Leanio finished with a 6-7 decision by Kim Nichols of Mililani High School. Makoa Cooper of Pearl City took Nicholas Mair of Kaiser for top honors in the division.

In the girls’ arena, Kauai’s Shaelin Manibog, grappling in the 102-pound class, dropped matches to Ruby Massey of Pac-5 and Jordyn Angelo of Kapolei by falls.

Jordyn Kahananui, wrestling in the 117-pound class with Rhea Michelle Gambeng, dropped two matches against Katie Reyes of Waianae and Jessica Sawai, both by falls. Gambeng dropped her two matches against Nanea Estrella of Lahainaluna and Katie Reyes of Waianae.

Rick Williams, the Officials tournament director, said there were 319 boys and 191 girls representing 35 high schools, the largest participation in years.

Pigott said in addition to the large representation, the tournament format followed a different format with the third and fifth place matches wrestling prior to the break for the first place championship matches.

KIF girl wrestlers will travel to Oahu Thursday for the two-day Paani Challenge hosted by Punahou High School.

“Now in its seventh year, the Paani Challenge has grown to be one of the largest all-girls wresting tournament in the nation with 247 participating girls last year,” Pigott said. “The unique format matches the girls not only by weight class, but also by skill level, combining sporting competition with a focus on guiding the girls to make good choices in life following high school.”

During the tournament, Hawaii’s own Clarissa Chun, an Olympic medalist, will teach a clinic, along with college, career and job fairs with more than 30 booths and inspirational speakers.

Ballard said Kauai High School will take six girls to the Pa‘ani Challenge, and six boys to the Moanalua Duals Tournament.

The KIF will inaugurate its season on Jan. 7 at Island School with wrestling expected to start at 10 a.m.

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