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Lahainaluna wrestlers to compete at state championships this week

By Staff | Feb 15, 2018

At the MIL championships, Ikua Tihada of Lahainaluna defeated Kolby Inouye of Baldwin, 9-3, in the 115-pound final. PHOTOS BY TOM COOPER.

LAHAINA – Any way you look at it, the top of the interscholastic wrestling mountain in Hawaii is a familiar stratosphere at Lahainaluna High School. Both the Luna girls and boys teams are consistent top five team finishers at the state tournament, and over the last 13 years, they have won 20 Maui Interscholastic League championships between them.

After the last whistle ended the MIL championships at the Lahaina Civic Center on Feb. 3, the Lahainaluna boys team had battled its way to first place, racking up 187 points to outdistance runner-up Baldwin.

For the Lady Lunas, the finishes reversed with the Lady Bears besting the hometown team 198-174 in a thrilling day of competition.

Leading the way for the Luna boys were gold medalists Ikua Tihada at 115 pounds, Kanoa Lanoza (122), Zeff Dudoit (126), Kainalu Estrella (134), Kawehi Gilcoat (140), Jesse Dudoit (147), Reeno Pascual (172) and Ty Bates (184), as well as silver medalists Cael Yasutake (108), Elijah Oliveira Kalalau (162) and Nyles Pokipala Waiohu (197).

By virtue of these top finishes, the Lunas thus qualified wrestlers in 11 of the 14 weight classes for the Hawaii High School Athletic Association State Wrestling Championships on Feb. 14-15 at the Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu.

Ira Navarro of Lahainaluna defeated Tiana Fernandez of Baldwin, 8-7, in the 104-pound final.

On the girls’ side of the mat at the LCC, the Lady Lunas’ charge was spearheaded by several defending MIL and state titlists, along with a contingent of high-performing newcomers.

Ira Navarro set the tone early for Lahainaluna with a first place finish at 104 pounds, later joined by Sami Saribay (109), Nanea Estrella (124), Kauanoe Keahi (134) and Fayannie Rosario at the top of the podium.

They will be joined at the state meet by medalists Michaelah Vasquez, Tayler Pelegrino Hayase and Shannon Jaramillo. The Lady Lunas send eight competitors to the state meet to attempt to defend the championship they won in 2017.

The time-tested assault to the top of the HHSAA championship mountain will once again be led by veteran head coaches Todd Hayase and Conrad Bolor and the dedicated assistant staff of Zane Monteleone, Kim Ball, Neal Nakata, Shane Cunanan, Donovan Feno, Sheldon Tateyama, Junior Boy Bolor and Steve Fisher.

“Once again, we thank the Lahaina community for their support of Luna wrestling. The expense of travelling and lodging at states and the preseason tournaments is enormous, and we simply could not do it without the help of the families, friends and businesses of the West Side. In particular, we say mahalo to Kimo’s Restaurant, Royal Lahaina Resort, Kaanapali Beach Hotel and Lappert’s Ice Cream for their contributions to the effort,” said Coach Todd. n

Sami Saribay of Lahainaluna pinned Madison Vierra of Baldwin in the 109-pound final.

Kawehi Gillcoat of Lahainaluna pinned Billy Treu of Baldwin in the 140-pound final.