Lahainaluna wins both team titles at Chevron Wrestling Championships
LAHAINA – The summit has been reached, but for the Lahainaluna High School ‘ohana, the enormity of the achievement will be an afterglow that will live long into the future within the hearts of the West Side faithful.
Riding the backs of steel of its 22 state qualifiers, the Lahainaluna girls and boys wrestling teams captured both titles at the 2015 Chevron Wrestling Championships two weeks ago at the Neal Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu to become the first Neighbor Island school to win a state title in either side of the draw.
The Lady Lunas totaled 203.5 points to easily win the girls team title over Kamehameha Kapalama and Campbell. For the boys, there four teams in contention going into the finals, with the Lunas coming out on top with 158.5 points to defeat Punahou, Kamehameha Kapalama and Campbell.
Of the 22 Lahainaluna competitors that made the journey, 19 will put their names on the Honor Wall in the wrestling room on campus as state placers – meaning that they battled their way among the top athletes in the state to finish in the top six.
On the boys’ side of the Blaisdell floor, Robert Campos (135 pounds) and Thomas Rosen St. John (170) won state championships; Kainalu Estrella (113), Christian Balagso (120) and Connor Mowat (285) all took home third place bronze medals; Wayne Alibin (182) finished fourth; Izsak Domingo (106) and Josten Saribay (126) came in fifth; and Conrad Bolor (225) finished in sixth place.
For the Lady Lunas, Kapu Jaramillo (145 pounds) and Lalelei Mata’afa (225) each won their third consecutive state championship to lead the Lahainaluna scoring barrage, along with gold medalists Breanna Dudoit Vasquez (138) for her second state championship, Alexis Encianas (107) and Diamond Freitas (112).
Iverly Navarro (102) won a bronze medal for third place, Karina Arroyo Haro (168) finished in fifth place, and Kaile Kron (117) and Hannah Miyamoto (184) both placed sixth.
It has been a long, bittersweet trip for head coach Todd Hayase, who has been at the epicenter of the Lahainaluna program for 21 years and counting.
The Lunas have piled up ten straight Maui Interscholastic League team titles, and the girls have won six consecutive crowns. At states, both teams finished second last year, with the boys in the top three for seven straight seasons and the girls in the top four for five.
It has, indeed, been a long and emotional journey.
“Our goal was to have no excuses this year, and the kids really came through for us. We have always been adamant about wanting them to succeed and to create the best opportunity for the kids to do so. It was crucial that we made the commitment to compete in four top-rated preseason tournaments and also to travel to California, Oregon, Nevada and North Dakota for training and competitive matches. Everybody put in a lot of hard work and sacrifice; everybody stayed the course with the determination to win the state title. Some of them were denied the individual glory but maintained their focus to win in the backside of the brackets to get the points for the team,” said Coach Todd from his counselor’s office at Lahaina Intermediate School last week.
“Our thanks goes out to all of the parents, the school, Athletic Director Scott Soldwisch, Trainer Jon Conrad and the entire community. To Tom Bell at the Royal Lahaina Resort, Mike White of the Kaanapali Beach Hotel, Chris Almeroth from Kimo’s Restaurant, Lulu’s, Starbucks Cannery Mall and Gary Lincoln Construction, our sincere mahalo for all you’ve done,” he continued.
“To all of the coaches – Kim Ball, Neal Nakata, Conrad Bolor, Shane Cunanan, Zane Monteleone, Sheldon Tateyama and Lindsay Ball – along with alumni coaches Robbie Kudlich, Jansen Domingo, Precious Jaramillo and Holden Mowat, thank you. We couldn’t have done it without you.”