Lunas boys win; girls take second
WAILUKU – Lahainaluna High School did not miss a beat Saturday night during the Garner Ivey Maui Invitational Tournament at War Memorial Gym.
The Lunas claimed the boys’ title and were a close second in the girls standings.
There were nine individual state champions at the meet, including Lahainaluna’s Bubba Jaramillo and sister Carly Jaramillo.
“It was a good learning experience for everyone; how these state champions warm up and how they prepare for their matches and what they do to win,” Bubba Jaramillo said.
The senior won three of his four matches by technical fall, including his 145-pound final, and helped the Lunas boys team pile up 231 points. Runner-up Mililani finished 72 points back and Waianae took third (152).
Carly Jaramillo needed less than 30 seconds to win her 140-pound final, as her team fell four points shy of a sweep for the West Maui school. The Waianae girls won with 141 points, and Molokai took third with 107.
Although defending champion Lalelei Mataafa of Lahainaluna was absent for the two-day tournament, a pair of freshmen – Iverly Navarro and Alexis Encinas – helped keep the Lunas close with the Seariders.
Navarro began Saturday night’s series of finals with a triple-overtime 1-0 win over Waianae’s Alexis Nelson.
“I was tearing (up) because I felt like giving up,” Navarro said. “(But) I told myself I have to win.”
The match was scoreless until Navarro executed an escape in the third overtime.
“I was so happy I was crying,” she said.
Encinas had an equally dramatic win Friday after beating Mililani’s Kelly Rivera, who placed third at the state tournament in the 105-pound division last year. The freshman went on to face defending state champion Aarica Barcina of Kahuku in the final, but lost 7-1.
“It’s a really great experience to face state placers,” Encinas said. “I really just had the mindset to not get pinned and keep it going because I know this is my first high school match, so the experience was really crucial.”
Other Maui County girls capturing titles included Jenna Mauliola (113) of King Kekaulike, Desiree Corpuz (117) and Rizpah Torres-Umi (135) of Molokai, Shayna Boteilho (130) and Courtnie Taua (175) of Baldwin, and Karina Arroyo Haro (155) of Lahainaluna.
The Lunas boys captured their title thanks to wins by Izaak Panlasigui Domingo (106), Christian Balagso (120), Thomas Rosen-St. John (170), and Connor Mowat (285).
Rosen-St. John, who was competing in the invitational for the third time, captured his first title in his weight-class with a 4-2 win over Pearl City’s Kristian Vaana Kikuyama.
“It feels great,” Rosen-St. John said. “Me and my workout partner, Bubba (Jaramillo) – he has been working with me a lot and going all out for that state title.”
Rex Hazuka of King Kekaulike was the only other Maui County boy to capture a title (195).
Baldwin sophomore Thomas Stevenson found himself outside of the 138-pound final match after losing to Pac-Five’s Joshua Terao – a three-time state and junior national champion – in the semifinals.
“It was a stacked weight and a great opportunity,” Stevenson said. “If you want to be the best you have to take out the best and I won’t run away from anybody.”
Evaluating the talent assembled at the gym, Lunas assistant coach Shane Cunanan was proud of how his team fared against the tough Oahu wrestlers.
“We’re so grateful for the Oahu teams to come over and the competition they bring is at another level,” he said.
* Chris Sugidono is at firstname.lastname@example.org