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Excel Wrestling Clinic slated at Lahainaluna High School

By Staff | Jun 23, 2011

The Lahainaluna High School wrestling teams took a large contingent to the 2010 state tournament.

LAHAINA — With six consecutive boys Maui Interscholastic League championships, two girls’ titles and top-five finishes at the state tournament in those years, Lahainaluna High School wrestling has firmly established itself as one of top programs in Hawaii.

Now, Luna wrestling will seek to further solidify that standing with the 2011 Excel Wrestling Clinic with Steve Knight and Travis Lee that will take place this weekend, June 25-27, at the Jimmie H. Greig Gymnasium on the Lahainaluna campus.

Coach Knight, who will bring in his son, Cornell University freshman Evan Knight, to this year’s clinic, is a renowned leader in the sport across the nation. The upcoming session will mark the tenth year he has brought his incisive instruction to the Valley Isle.

Lee was a three-time state champion out of St. Louis School in Honolulu who went on to become a two-time NCAA champion and four-time All-American at Cornell.

According to Lunas head coach Todd Hayase, the three-day Excel Clinic is open to all youth wrestlers from Maui County. The nominal fee is $75 for the top flight instruction from the elite staff gathered by Coach Knight.

“This will be an incredible opportunity for all youth wrestlers to come out and improve and grow in the sport. We urge the kids from not only the Lahaina side but from all over Maui County — Upcountry, Central, Hana, Kihei, Lanai, Molokai — and from the Neighbor Islands to reap the benefits of the Excel Clinic,” he said.

“We’ve had 50-plus kids come out for the clinics in recent years, and hopefully we’ll have more this year.”

The sessions will run from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sunday and Monday at Lahainaluna. Call Coach Todd at (808) 385-5154 for further information.

A group of Lahainaluna wrestlers are embarking on a separate journey to further mature in the sport with their sights set on the Asics Junior National Tournament in late July at Fargo, North Dakota.

Coach Hayase reported that the event will attract the top cadet and junior competitors as well as many coaches and representatives from the elite college wrestling programs across the nation.

“This is the largest and most prestigious junior tournament in the nation, and our kids have been working out since February to get ready for it. This is like a second season for them,” he said.

The dedicated wrestlers include Kiana Yamat, Precious Jaramillo, Christian Carbajal, Bodean Bates, Kahi Tihada, Joshua Coston, Justin Taylor, Chanse Uyeda, Nathan Inovejas and Mark Alamon.

“These kids have been practicing with Team Hawaii under Coach John Robinson of Mililani and Coach Matt Oney of Punahou and will compete in the Aloha State Games this month… then go on to Fargo for the Junior Nationals. They will compete in both freestyle and Greco Roman wrestling in the tournament,” Hayase said.

“This is a highly motivated group of kids, and doing this will be beneficial experience for all of them. Unfortunately, Chanse (defending state champion Chanse Uyeda) was injured while practicing in Honolulu and has come home, and a couple of the boys won’t be able to go up to Fargo,” he said.

“All in all, it’s terrific to see the commitment from the families and people like Coach Shane Cunanan from the Lahainaluna coaching staff — who is a former All-American wrestler from West Virginia and a teacher at Lahaina Intermediate School — who have gone over to Oahu to help the kids out over there. Especially Mike and JoAnne Bates, who have rented a house over there for the kids and have gone over to cook and care for them. Really amazing.”