The Maui News 2018-19 MIL Wrestling All-Stars
Going for more gold: Juniors Estrella, Ravida have won multiple state titles, but look to join elite company with one more
Nanea Estrella and Coby Ravida will enter their senior years of high school with chances to join some very short lists in Maui Interscholastic League wrestling history.
The pair of standout juniors are The Maui News’ MIL Wrestlers of the Year after adding to their list of state crowns last month.
Lahainaluna High School’s Estrella will have the chance to become just the second wrestler ever from Maui County to win four straight state titles, a feat that would match what former Luna standout Lalelei Mataafa did from 2013-16.
“That’s honestly amazing to me, it’s just amazing,” Estrella said of the award that came after her state crown at 127 pounds. “I never thought I would be where I am today. I know that I’m just going to grow to such a bigger wrestler and such a bigger person — and I know that I’m not done yet.
“So, just having that feeling and see where I am now and how much I’m going to grow, it’s an amazing thought to me.”
Baldwin’s Ravida can become just the fourth three-time boys state champion ever from the MIL — he could join Baldwin’s Leigh Tonai (1973-75), Maui High’s Saia Lotulelei (1999-2001) and Lahainaluna’s Travis Okano (2006-08).
“It’s really cool,” Ravida, the state champ at 113 pounds, said of being named MIL Wrestler of the Year. “I wasn’t expecting to get it … It’s very surprising.”
The state championship match, a 6-4 win over Kamehameha Kapalama’s Sheydon Tamisato, “felt like just another match that I won, but, then again, being on the podium it was really breathtaking. It was an exciting moment for me and I will really remember it.”
The MIL is loaded with wrestling talent and family ties abound. Estrella’s cousin, Waipuilani Estrella-Beauchamp, won her second state crown for Baldwin, at 132. Ravida’s younger brother, Tobey Ravida, finished second at 106.
The MIL won seven of the 28 individual state titles, 18 boys state medals in the 14 weight classes and 16 girls medals. In the 113 boys weight class, the MIL put all three of its state qualifiers on the podium — Coby Ravida, Lanai’s Alan Sanchez Jr. (third) and Lahainaluna’s Cael Yasutake (fifth).
There were intriguing stories all over the place, too, including senior Darius Mynar winning the first state boys title ever for Kamehameha Maui, at 195.
It was Estrella and Ravida who emerged at the top of the group. Ravida was 20-0 after an injury kept him off the mat for the first month of the season, and Estrella was 30-1 — she won two of three meetings with her cousin during the season.
Ravida finished No. 5 on the state pound-for-pound rankings list compiled by HawaiiPrepWorld.com, while Estrella was No. 3 among girls, both the top spots for the MIL. Estrella-Beauchamp is No. 5 on the girls list.
Both wrestlers of the year have big plans for their senior seasons and beyond — each own impressive academic resumes and appear to be well on their way to college careers.
“After winning states for the second time, I wanted to go for three, so all I’ve just been doing after states was working out, trying to get bigger,” Ravida said. “Trying to bump up to that next weight class (120) and win that state title again and become a three-timer.”
Baldwin coach Malakai Panuve said Ravida “can do it, he definitely can. He can accomplish that third state title, if, again, if he works hard and puts in all the hard work, commitment. He’s very passionate about the sport and that’s what I like about him.”
Estrella’s older brother Kainalu, a state champion in 2018, is currently a freshman who has an 8-10 record for Utah Valley University, a wrestling member of the Big 12 Conference.
“He constantly reminds me that I am who I am,” Nanea Estrella said. “He constantly just tells me, ‘Keep you head up, you know who you are.’ He reminds me, ‘You’re good enough to do this, you can do it.’ He’s just a constant reminder.”
Estrella never underestimates herself nor her opponents.
“I know every time I step on the mat the score is 0-0 and I know that they’re coming for me and I will come for them just as hard,” she said.
Lahainaluna coach Todd Hayase knows just how good Estrella can be. She routinely works out against boys who are state medalists.
“The scary thought is that she can only improve and get better, which is incredible,” Hayase said. “She’s just a beast. Her preparation and her work ethic is just incredible. She is probably the hardest worker in the wrestling room and I think all the boys would probably agree, too.
“She’s pretty incredible, she’s got a very strong mind and is very confident, but she prepares, she prepares 100 percent. That makes her very confident.”
College wrestling is the next step, but Estrella dreams of bigger things than that.
“I want to dominate the world,” she said. “I want to be a world champ. That’s my ultimate goal, I just want to dominate the world.”
The other state champions from the MIL were Baldwin’s Tianna Fernandez (102) and Shayna Kamaka (155), and Lahainaluna’s Shannon Jaramillo (184).
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Girls–Baldwin: Tyeisha Takamori, Siera Vida, Sequoia Warren. Lahainaluna: Lydia Dudoit. Molokai: Sunni Chow. Boys–Baldwin: Kahilihiwa Joy, Jules Marinas. Kamehameha Maui: Kanoa Aruda-Starwood, Zachary Genobia. Lahainaluna: Cael Yasutake. Lanai: Alan Sanchez Jr.