Kapaa’s Marshall 1st KIF female to get wrestling scholarship

  • Nick Celario / The Garden Island

    Shanayah “Ini” Marshall stops for a photo Saturday at Kapaa High School.

  • Parish Kaleiwahea / Contributed photo

    In this Feb. 20 photo, Kapaa High School’s Ini Marshall, bottom, wrestles against Kanani Chan of Kamehameha Schools-Hawaii in a girls 132-pound bout at the 2019 Texaco Wrestling Championships at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island file

    In this Jan. 12 photo, Kapaa’s Ini Marshall works to pin Thesa Lindsey in a girls 127-pound match during a KIF wrestling meet at Kauai High School.

KAPAA — Kapaa High School graduate Shanayah “Ini” Marshall is looking forward to what is ahead of her.

Her goal was to continue on to college, and in doing so, she perhaps unintentionally accomplished a little bit of local history.

“It was like, ‘Wow, I’m actually going to go to school and wrestle in a higher level,’” Marshall said Saturday. “It was my goal throughout high school, to get a scholarship to wrestle up in the mainland.”

Marshall received a full scholarship and will wrestle for Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay, Oregon. She signed her letter of intent nearly two weeks ago.

Upon signing her letter, Marshall became the first female wrestler from the Kauai Interscholastic Federation to receive a college scholarship, according to KIF tournament director Mac Pigott and Kapaa High School wrestling coach Jess Jensen.

“Coach Jess told me that. I didn’t realize that until he told me,” Marshall said. “I was excited. Like, ‘I’m actually the first girl from Kauai to sign to wrestle.’ It was different.”

Jensen added Marshall is the first KIF female wrestler to continue on to the college ranks, whether on scholarship or as a walk-on.

“I’m very excited for her. I think she’ll do great,” Jensen said. “Girls wrestle freestyle. We wrestle folkstyle in high school. But when girls go to college, they wrestle freestyle, which is one of the Olympic styles. I think that’s more suited for her, so I’m really excited for her. I think she’ll do well.”

The Warriors coach praised Marshall for her athletic talent and takedown ability.

“She has a really good double-leg (takedown). She’s fast, and she’s just really good in her movement — scrambling and things that are hard to coach. I think that goes back on her natural ability. But her double-leg, she has a fantastic double-leg. She can get it in, and she can hit it on anybody. I think she’ll do really well in the takedown part, which freestyle lends itself a little more to that than folkstyle.”

Marshall is a four-year wrestler for the Kapaa Warriors, competing in the 127-pound and 132-pound weight classes.

She was also an outfielder and pitcher for Kapaa High’s softball team for four years, playing varsity for three years.

Marshall competed in the girls 132-pound weight class at the 2019 Texaco Wrestling Championships state tournament in February at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu. She ended up going 1-2 at state.

Some of Marshall’s career accomplishments are:

  • two-time placer at the Maui Invitational Tournament (placed third in her junior year and sixth in her senior year)
  • placed fifth at the Hawaii Wrestling Officials Association Scholarship Tournament this past season
  • won her weight class in the novice division at the Pa‘ani Challenge all-girls tournament in her sophomore year

She said her career highlight was reaching the podium at the Officials tournament.

“That’s one of the hardest tournaments other than the state tournament,” Marshall said. “Being able to place over there was really important to me.”

Marshall met Southwestern Oregon’s wrestling coach during this year’s state tournament.

“He came up to me after one of my matches and introduced himself to me, then we’ve kept in contact after that,” she said. “He was talking about the school and a little about his wrestling program, and that they’re looking for wrestlers to come to their school.”

Though she’s already graduated, Marshall will still see action on the mat before she goes off to college. She will be traveling with Jensen and his family to Pocatello, Idaho for the “Turf Wars” tournament.

“It’s a pretty big tournament. There’s people from all over,” Marshall said. “I guess my goal is to see how good I actually am and see if I can compete with other people from all over the US.”

Jensen said Marshall, though not the most talkative, was a joy to coach.

“She’s a great kid. I’ve loved coaching her,” he said. “She’s just one of those quiet kids that just works. I’ve really enjoyed her. She has a really easy personality. She’s easy to get along with and really coachable. I’ve really enjoyed my time coaching her.”

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Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or ncelario@thegardenisland.com.

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