KAPAA — Local high school wrestlers got their first taste of live action on the mat this season.
The second Kapaa Open preseason wrestling tournament took place Saturday at Bernice Hundley Gym at Kapaa High School.
Thirty-one Kauai Interscholastic Federation wrestlers competed in the non-sanctioned tournament, contesting in 36 matches across 10 divisions.
Among the tournament winners was Kauai High School senior Aukahi Kalama, who won the boys 160-pound bracket after defeating Waimea High School senior Noah Espanto via pinfall.
“I’m proud that I won, but it could be better,” Kalama said. “Cardio. With cardio comes better skill. I felt like I was missing a few moves out there. I was just kind of hanging on for dear life. This season, I hope to perform better at the next tournament and the next tournament after that.”
Kalama was 2-0 on Saturday. This will be his third year in KIF wrestling.
“I’m hoping to take states this year, and I’m hoping to go undefeated in KIF,” Kalama said. “I don’t know if I’m going to be wrestling this guy (Espanto) the whole season, but I hope he gets out of my weight class.”
Kapaa High School junior Tessa Jensen won the girls 155-pound bracket, after defeating Kauai High sophomore Alana Takata via pinfall.
“I think I did fairly decent. I feel like I could have done a little bit better, but I think I did good,” Jensen said. “I’ll definitely be working on my top game this year and being more in-shape. I think I did well with my setups to shots.”
Jensen, too, is in her third year of high school wrestling.
“I’m definitely hoping to do well in some of the preseason tournaments and make it to states,” Jensen said. “Hopefully, I’ll win a few matches at states.”
KIF wrestlers will compete in other preseason tournaments on Maui and Oahu next month. The KIF wrestling season will start in January.
Girls 122 pounds: 1. Ashlyn Agena, Waimea; 2. Kaya Akana, Waimea
Girls 132 pounds: 1. Ini Marshall, Kapaa; 2. Janessa Llego-Finney, Kauai; 3. Meah Jensen, Kapaa
Girls 145 pounds: Danielle Santos, Kapaa; 2. Alokele Kalama, Kauai; 3. Olivia Kelekoma, Kapaa
Girls 155 pounds: 1. Tessa Jensen, Kapaa; 2. Alana Takata, Kauai
Boys 126 pounds: 1. Mason Stoll-Tolentino, Kauai; 2. Jonah Sandal, Waimea; 3. Herman Santos, Kapaa
Boys 138 pounds: 1. Lucas Freitas-Diaz, Kapaa; 2. Michael John Andersen, Kapaa; 3. Trey Omura-Hernandez, Kauai
Boys 145 pounds: 1. Jaiden Ogata, Kauai; 2. Lester Garcia, Kapaa; 3. Greg Manintin, Kauai
Boys 160 pounds (novice): 1. Sumiyabies Javsandolgor, Kapaa; 2. Cayden Artaho, Kapaa
Boys 160 pounds: Aukahi Kalama, Kauai; 2. Noah Espanto, Waimea
Boys 220 pounds: 1. Malachi Sacramento, Kapaa; 2. Jess Cardenas, Kauai; 3. Zayden Sarmiento, Waimea
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.