WAIMEA — Hauoli Caparida of Molokai High School left Kauai undefeated after taking the inaugural Sam Silva Memorial Kauai USA Wrestling Championships title in the 135-145-pound weight class Saturday at the stifling Clem Gomes Gym in Waimea.
With four wrestlers — Kauai’s Matthew Tamanaha, Waimea’s Naikoa Simao and Corey Agena, and Caparida — in contention for the gold medal, Coach Mac Pigott, the Kauai USAW coordinator, said the title in the boys 135-145 class was up for grabs, with all of the Garden Island grapplers claiming victories over the five-match season.
Caparida, making his appearance at the Hawaii High School Athletic Association state meet twice in his high school career, opened with a 12-2 decision over Tamanaha in the round robin bracket format where none of the wrestlers won by pinfall.
The tight competition continued as Caparida faced Agena, who dropped his opening match, 10-0, to Simao. Following a Caparida 15-2 decision, the title match saw Simao facing the Molokai wrestler.
Caparida lost little time asserting himself and controlled the match, 14-4, for the inaugural Silva gold medal in the class.
“I gotta breathe,” Simao said. “My asthma was coming back. I’ve been wrestling since my freshman year. I should have gotten started (in wrestling), earlier like these younger wrestlers are doing.”
Pigott said the Sam Silva Memorial Kauai USAW championship match was a success, with 25 wrestlers from 6 to 17 years old competing in weight classes from 45 to 145 pounds over 27 matches.
“Our goal following the high school season was to provide current Kauai Interscholastic Federation wrestlers off-season training while exposing future KIF wrestlers to the sport,” Pigott said. “Under the guidance of coaches Larry Richardson and Jess Jensen on the Eastside, and coaches Bill Wilcox and Bobby Ritch on the Westside, grapplers enjoyed a five-week season of practices with bouts on Saturday tournaments. Including the Silva championships, wrestlers contested through more than 150 bouts. Mahalo to Ishihara Market who donated the food so wrestlers and spectators could enjoy a free lunch in the spirit of Coach Sam Silva.”
Coach Jess Jensen, whose stable wrestlers Giahna Gage, Addi Jensen, Mea Jensen, and Ini Marshall grabbed gold in their respective age and weight classes, was excited about the spring season.
“Overall, it is exciting to see so many students want to try this sport, and see our veteran wrestlers want to train and work outside of the regular high school season,” Jensen said.
“We had more than 25 wrestlers from 5 to 18 years old participate in practices at Kapaa High School and compete with the Eastside club. The wrestlers all did well and improved,” he said.
”I am a true believer in off-season wrestling, and believe the work put in will pay off when the regular high school season rolls around. It’s going to be fun to watch wrestling grow on Kauai in the coming years, and I look forward to doing this again next spring.”
Pigott said four Kauai wrestlers: Simao, Tamanaha, Marcus Charles and Seline Gage, are registered to compete in the Hawaii USA Wrestling championships this weekend on Oahu. Following the weekend championships, Simao and Tamanaha are planning to stay on Oahu to train with Team Hawaii, which will be going to the Western Regionals in Idaho later in June, and the USAW Nationals in Fargo, North Dakota, during the last two weeks in July.
The Westside Wrestling Club will host a two-day camp July 5 and 6 featuring two college coaches and a dual meet against an Oahu wrestling club. On July 5, the campers will walk to the historic Waimea Theater for dinner and watch the newly released film “American Wrestler: The Wizard.”
w Boys/Girls 6-8, 45-55 pounds: 1. Giahna Gage (Kap El); 2. Dane Jensen (Kap El); 3. Nahe Marshll (Kap El)
w Girls 8-10, 55-75 pounds: 1. Addi Jensen (King K El); 2. Avery Wilcox (Kal El); 3. Alyssa Agena (Eleele El)
w Boys 10-12, 105-130 pounds: 1. Harlem Niau-Hart (Kekaha El); 2. Napela Mokuahi (Kap El); 3. Lincoln Miner-Ho (King K El)
w Girls 13-14, 80-120 pounds: 1. Meah Jensen (KapMS); 2. Seline Gage (KapMS); 3. Karee Foley (KapMS)
w Boys/Girls 14-16, 110 pounds: 1. Marcus Charles (IS); 2. Ashlyn Agena (Wai Canyon MS)
w Girls 14-16, 135-165 pounds: 1. Ini Marshall (KapHS); 2. Joji Miner-Ho (KapHS); 3. Tessa Jensen (KapHS)
w Boys 16-17, 135-145 pounds: 1. Hauoli Caparida (Molokai HS); 2. Naikoa Simao (WaiHS); 3. Corey Agena (WaiHS)