Those who won their respective weight classes at the Kauai Interscholastic Federation championship meet earlier this month were named league wrestling all-stars.
The list of Kauai’s wrestling standouts was released by the KIF on Tuesday. A majority of these winners will go on to compete at the Chevron Wrestling State Championships, which begins Friday at the Neal S. Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu.
Kauai High School has nine all stars — five boys and four girls. The Red Raider boys won a fifth consecutive league championship this season.
“We’re excited to go (to states). It’s our fifth year going there. So, it’s time to start bringing home more medals,” said Kauai coach Matt Ballard on Tuesday. “But yeah, we had a good year. We had a great group of kids. They’ve worked very hard. It’s a long season.”
Among the Red Raiders all stars is senior Madison Leanio. Leanio placed fifth in the boys 152-pound class at states last year and was the only KIF representative to make the podium.
“This year, we’re looking to win it all,” Ballard said. “He’s put in a lot of work. He’s prepared and ready. It just comes down to execution.”
Kapaa High School has seven all stars this year — five girls and two boys. The Warrior girls won the year’s league title — the first in the school’s history.
“First and foremost, we’re super proud of all of them. They all worked really, really hard,” said Kapaa coach Larry Richardson. “The championship for the girls was well-deserved. They really put in the effort. It was exciting during the season to see people who had never wrestled before, over the course of the season, turn into really capable wrestlers. That was a lot of fun.”
Richardson added while he’s excited to see his wrestlers compete at states, he’s especially looking forward to see how they will fare in the next couple of seasons.
“They’re training hard. They’re getting ready to go battle it out. I’m really anxious to see how they’re going to do there,” he said. “We’ve got a couple of second-year wrestlers. I expect them to do good at the tournament, but I’m excited because they’ve got two more years to wrestle.”
Waimea High has four grapplers going to states this year — three boys and one girl.
“I think for what we had, we have a lot of good wrestlers come out from our small team,” said Waimea coach C.J. Threat. “Four of my five of my wrestlers are going to states. The young lady, (freshman Kaya Akana), this is her first year wrestling. So, expectations are low, but just her getting there and going through the whole season and everything like that — she made amazing strides throughout the season. I’m really proud of her getting this far.
“Got heavier expectations for (junior Corey Agena, sophomore Naikoa Simao and senior Andrew Evans). They’ve all been to states before,” he continued. “I think that overall, they have a chance. It just depends on how they are in their mindset and in their own personal prep. … It’s going to be tough. Either way, I’m proud of all of my wrestlers. I just hope we can have a good Friday and get to Day 2 on Saturday.”
Island School has one all star — 106-pound boys winner Marcus Charles.
“This is his first year wrestling. He’s come a long way,” said Island School coach Erin Cobb Adams. “I think the state tournament is going to be a big learning experience for him. We’ve really seen the light turn on for him, as far as being an athlete. He’s really focused a lot this year, and we’re hoping the best for him.”
2016-17 KIF Wrestling All Stars
97 pounds: Sarai Valdez, Kauai, freshman
102 pounds: Justice Funamura-Sasil, Kauai, sophomore
107 pounds: Kaya Akana, Waimea, freshman
112 pounds: Jordyn Kahananui, Kauai, junior
117 pounds: Jaylin McDowell, Kapaa, sophomore
122 pounds: Anna Malia Santos, Kapaa, junior
127 pounds: Shanayah Marshall, Kapaa, sophomore
138 pounds: Halle Sakai, Kauai, junior
145 pounds: Bryana Kawamura, Kapaa, freshman
155 pounds: Jolette Miner-Ho, Kapaa, freshman
106 pounds: Marcus Charles, Island School, sophomore
113 pounds: Mason Stoll-Tolentino, Kauai, freshman
126 pounds: Corey Agena, Waimea, junior
132 pounds: Naikoa Simao, Waimea, sophomore
138 pounds: Aukahi Kalama, Kauai, sophomore
145 pounds: Donovan Laborte, Kauai, senior
152 pounds: Madison Leanio, Kauai, senior
160 pounds: Braeden Jensen, Kapaa, junior
182 pounds: Benjamin Sommer, Kauai, freshman
195 pounds: Andrew Evans, Waimea, senior
220 pounds: Daniel Higa, Kapaa, sophomore