KAPA‘A — When Jolette Miner-Ho first began her wrestling career as a freshman at Kapa‘a High School, she never envisioned it would be a move that would catapult her to earn a collegiate scholarship.
“I always thought that I would just wrestle in high school, but I thought to myself, ‘I could continue this in college,’” Miner-Ho said.
The Warrior senior, who was selected as one of the top wrestlers in her weight class, was one of the highlighted selections of this season’s Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation all-star team and can also add going to Midland University to her list of accomplishments.
This season, KIF made history with three wrestlers placing in the final day of state competition at the Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association Texaco Wrestling Championship.
Kaua‘i High had two state medalists, Alana Takata (155-pound girls) and Kaimiloa Padrones (195 boys), who both finished fifth at state.
Miner-Ho (168 girls) also placed fifth at state, marking the first time more than two wrestlers from Kaua‘i placed in the state championships.
Miner-Ho signed a letter of commitment to wrestle for Midland University, a private school in Fremont, Nebraska, for the 2020-21 school year.
She chose her education first despite the fact that the school has a total of 85% of their student population being student-athletes.
Miner-Ho had her fair share of choices to whittle through before deciding on a partial scholarship to Fremont.
“When I first was looking through colleges, my main priority was my major,” Miner-Ho said. “I didn’t have a location preference.”
The wrestler, who was in communication with Midland University in late October, made the choice partially based on the number of athletes coach Matt Atwood has recruited from Hawai‘i. There are five islanders on his roster.
Miner-Ho, who is one of the most successful wrestlers in recent KIF history, hopes to major in pre-nursing and become a nurse after she returns home from the mainland, and also a firefighter.
“My family and my parents were my No. 1 support and my rock throughout my entire wrestling career, and all of that credit goes to them,” Miner-Ho said. “Without their support of my high school career, I would not have gotten as far as I did.”
She hopes to give back to the athletic community after she completes her mainland education.
“I am looking forward to learning more about women’s wrestling at the college level,” Miner-Ho said. “In high school, you wrestle folk-style, but at college, we will be wrestling freestyle. I am looking to the future to learn from other seasoned wrestlers to add to my experience in the sport. Athletically, it is really exciting for more learning, and I hope to learn a lot more when I get there.”
Her father, Arlen Miner-Ho, said the family is incredibly proud of the new tradition she has created for them, and credited the Warriors’ athletic facility for helping her cultivate her skill set.
That skill-set will ideally allow her to now enter the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) competition, against some of the nation’s best.
She credits Kapa‘a.
“I credit the athletic department at Kapa‘a,” Arlen Miner-Ho said. “We don’t give enough credit to the coaches. Without them providing the opportunity, I don’t think it would have been possible for my daughter to get an athletic scholarship.”
The following were named Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation female wrestling All-Stars:
107: Kaya Akana, Waimea, 12
112: Ashlyn Agena, Waimea, 11
117: Anjoelina Miyashiro-Catbagan, Kapa‘a
122: Meah Jensen Kapa‘a, 10
127: Olivia Kelekoma, Kapa‘a, 12
132: Meleana Rita, Kaua‘i High, 10
138: Aisha Shimabukuru, Kapa‘a, 9
145: Tessa Jensen, Kapa‘a, 12
155: Alana Takata, Kaua‘i High, 11
168: Jolette Miner-Ho, Kapa‘a, 12
184: Kayana Niheu-Kamaka, Waimea, 11
Jason Blasco, sports reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or email@example.com.