KAPAA — A boys 195-pound match determined which school would claim this year’s Kauai Interscholastic Federation boys wrestling title.
Between Waimea High School freshman Kawila Kaneapua and Kauai High School senior Jesse Cardenas, it was the underclassman who got the win via pin.
“He’s a freshman, and he’s had a lot of ups and downs. I just told him, ‘No pressure, no worries. Just try not to get pinned.’ Not really expecting much out of it,” said C.J. Threat, Waimea High wrestling coach. “That win was the difference between us winning and losing the KIF championship. It was a six-point swing. If Jesse would have won that by decision or by pin, they probably would have won by two or four points. Instead, with Kawila getting that win, it swung it back in our favor. That was huge.”
Waimea High won the KIF boys championship, and Kapaa High School won the league girls title at the KIF Championships wrestling tournament Saturday at Kapaa High School.
“It was a great day. I don’t think we as a team, I didn’t think we were going to win it today. It was definitely really close going back and forth,” Threat said. “We’re all pretty excited and glad it swung our way. It just came down to everyone having a good day wrestling. The last couple of weeks, we didn’t really wrestle that good. It’s nice to see when it really is the end, when it absolutely matters, that everyone came to wrestle. Just had a good overall team performance.”
The Waimea boys won with a team score of 78 points, and the Kapaa girls won with a total of 58 points.
Team points are awarded based on first-, second- and third-place finishes, and whether matches were determined via decision, pin or default.
“We’re excited for our girls. We’ve had a good group of girls that have come out all year,” said Jess Jensen, Kapaa High wrestling coach. “They worked hard, and I think they deserved it. So, I’m proud of them.”
Jensen added: “We had the numbers this year. Part of winning the league is having the numbers, but we’ve got some really good girls wrestlers this year that we’re excited to get to the state tournament. We think they have a good shot this year. Hopefully, we can see our first girls state placers from the KIF this year.”
Individual weight class winners will represent the KIF at the 2019 Texaco Wrestling Championships state tournament, which begins Feb. 20 at the Neal S. Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu.
“We got about another five, six practices before states. Just trying to get in work, and hope for the best,” Threat said. “We got a couple that I definitely see potential in, but I’m just in the mindset that as long as you put your heart into it and you give your all, I’m happy for you. I just want you guys to feel that you did everything you could to get there.”
Jensen said: “We’ll get to work again on Monday. One of the things about the state tournament, we want to make sure we’re in the best physical condition as possible — that we’re in good shape so it doesn’t become a factor. We’ll be drilling hard.”
KIF Championships results
Boys: 1. Waimea, 78 points, 2. Kauai, 68 points; 3. Kapaa, 26 points
Girls: 1. Kapaa, 58 points; 2. Kauai, 34 points; 3. Waimea, 20 points
Girls 102 pounds: 1. Shaelin Manibog, Kauai
Girls 112 pounds: 1. Kaya Akana, Waimea
Girls 117 pounds: 1. Ashlyn Agena, Waimea
Girls 122 pounds: 1. Janessa Llego-Finney, Kauai; 2. Meah Jensen, Kapaa
Girls 132 pounds: 1. Ini Marshall, Kapaa
Girls 138 pounds: 1. Jolette Miner-Ho, Kapaa; 2. Olivia Kelekoma, Kapaa
Girls 145 pounds: 1. Tessa Jensen, Kapaa
Girls 153 pounds: 1. Alana Takata, Kauai
Girls 184 pounds: 1. Bernie Lindsey, Kapaa
Boys 113 pounds: 1. Kylen Aana, Waimea; 2. Coby Lawrence, Kauai
Boys 120 pounds: 1. Mason Stoll-Tolentino, Kauai; 2. Barak Aviguetero, Waimea
Boys 126 pounds: 1. Ian Sok, Waimea; 2. Jonah Sandal, Waimea; 3. Herman Santos, Kapaa
Boys 138 pounds: 1. Jaiden Ogata, Kauai
Boys 145 pounds: 1. Lowen Matsusaka, Kauai; 2. Greg Manintin, Kauai; 3. Lester Garcia, Kapaa
Boys 152 pounds: 1. Adrienne Quetela, Kauai; 2. Cayden Artaho, Waimea
Boys 160 pounds: 1. Raffy Perono, Kapaa
Boys 182 pounds: 1. Zayden Sarmiento, Waimea
Bosy 195 pounds: 1. Kawila Kaneapua, Waimea; 2. Jesse Cardenas, Kauai
Boys 285 pounds: 1. Roger Dela Cruz, Waimea
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.