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Estrella still excelling

Lahainaluna senior wrestler seeking to become 4-time state champion

Lahainaluna’s Makoa Palau-Agdeppa works toward a first-period pin of Benicia’s Angelo Tagadein a boys 195 bout at the Garner Ivey Invitational Wrestling Tournament on Friday. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

LAHAINA — Striving for her fourth state wrestling championship doesn’t make Lahainaluna High School senior Nanea Estrella nervous, even when a Maui Interscholastic League athlete has accomplished the feat only one other time.

After winning the 117-pound weight class as a freshman, and then the 122 and 127 classes the following years, Estrella is humbly determined to reach her ultimate goal.

“It would be really cool actually (to win four titles). It would be nice, you know, to be a part of a group that’s so exclusive, it would be really awesome,” Estrella said on the first day of the 52nd annual Garner Ivey Invitational on Friday at the Lahaina Civic Center. “I have the confidence, and I know I can do it, so it doesn’t make me nervous, but it’s kind of an eye-opener, like, I’m at the end of my road here, my career is ending, this is the end of my past and the start of my future right here.”

Lahainaluna’s Lalelei Mataafa is the first and so far only MIL competitor, boy or girl, to claim four state championships, doing so from 2013-16, and there have only been 10 four-time state champions statewide.

Estrella is the fifth Valley Isle wrestler, boy or girl, to win for three consecutive years.

Nanea Estrella cheers on a Lahainaluna teammate. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Accomplishing what she has thus far in her high school career, and what other wrestlers have done before her, isn’t always based on talent and strength, but rather willpower, Estrella said.

“I think it really all comes down to the mindset because you can train all you want and you wrestle from when you’re little and do everything that you can, but if you don’t have the mindset and you’re not strong in the head and know what you’re doing and just having that confidence, it doesn’t work,” she said. “You just have to have that confidence and that mindset to drive, drive, drive.”

But overall, Estrella said her goals as a senior is about doing “my best because I know a couple of times I’ve given up before, but this season, I really want to just try my best, not to give up and not let anything distract me,” she added.

Estrella also looks to her older brother Kainalu Estrella for advice — he was the 2018 state champion in the 132-pound weight class for the Lunas and now wrestles for Utah Valley University.

“He’s one of the main people I talk about wrestling with,” she said.

Benicia, California’s Jacob Dortch rides Lahainaluna’s Koli Latu on his way to a first-period pin in a boys 285-pound match at the Garner Ivey Invitational. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

“I like getting his input and his opinion on certain moves and certain people and who to watch.”

The soon-to-be graduate was also excited to announce on Friday about her commitment to attend Menlo College in California on an athletic scholarship.

“I feel good about that, it’s a nice stress relief off my shoulder,” she said. “I can just relax and just focus on my season now.”

While she would have preferred to have competed during the tournament’s quarterfinals — she earned a bye into semifinals today– Estrella was still seen cheering on her teammates from the stands.

“It’s OK though because I can sit here and support my team and see how they’re wrestling and help them fix it during practices,” said Estrella, who is set for a matchup against Maui High’s Azure Quitevis for a spot in the finals. “I think our team is looking good. We have a really young team, but they’re really strong and they have the right mindset, and they have the right drive and the work ethic, so I think if they just keep going and push through, I think we’ll do okay this season.”

Baldwin’s Renele Andrion scores a first-period takedown on Benicia’s Olivia Contreras in a girls 122 bout Friday at Lahaina Civic Center. Contreras won by pin in the second period. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

The Baldwin squad, whose girls team finished state runner-up last year while the boys were third, is also excited to start the season at the two-day Ivey Invitational.

Bears’ coach Malakai Panuve said that it’s too soon to tell right now, but the team looks to reach their potential.

“It’s still early in the season, you know, we don’t expect too much, it’s just the beginning,” Panuve said Friday afternoon. “Of course we have a lot of freshmen we want to take care of first and then we want to build them up.”

Baldwin returns two-time state champions Jahnea Miguel and Waipuilani Estrella-Beauchamp, both whom also had a by into semifinals today.

Two-time state champion Coby Ravida and last year’s state silver medalist Tobey Ravida also are back, and are competing in the 126 and 113 weight classes this weekend, respectively.

Waianae’s Madison Kelamau takes down Maui High’s Hayley Sedino on her way to a win by fall at 1:13 in their girls 102 bout. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

“The returnees, yes we do have high expectations for them as we go into the season, but for now, like I said, it’s just a one-step process,” Panuve said. “We’re just worried about this tournament for now as kind of our baseline and see where we’re at going into the season.”

Outer island teams Castle High School, Kealakehe, Kaimuki, Lanai, Kauai, Kapaa, and Waianae, as well as California’s Benicia High School are also competing in the Garner Ivey Tournament this weekend, which Panuve sees as “very beneficial.”

“Having any Mainland team here is big time,” he said. “They come from a bigger environment, they have greater and more competition, so it just makes us here on this small island better.”

In the girls team race, Lahainaluna and Waianae ended the first day tied for the lead with 46 points apiece. In the boys standings, Benicia leads with 96 points, while Lahainaliuna was second with 87.5.

* Dakota Grossman is at dgrossman@mauinews.com

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GARNER IVEY INVITATIONAL WRESTLING TOURNAMENT

GIRLS

Team scores–1 (tie). Lahainaluna and Waianae 46 points, 3. Molokai 36, 4 (tie). Baldwin and Benicia (Calif.) 34, 6. Kealakehe 24, 7. Kapaa 14, 8 (tie). Kamehameha Maui and King Kekaulike 13, 10. Castle 10, 11. Lanai 6, 12. Maui High 3.

Semifinal matchups

97 pounds–Liana Ferreira (Bal) vs Kadie Kron (Lah); Eliza Torres (Ben) vs Naiomi Kulukuluanlani (Lah).

102–Nalani Kirkman (Lah) vs Arellano Shanen (Kea); Madison Kalamau (Wai) vs Mia Cruz (Ben).

107–Janessa Abisia (Ben) vs Leialoha Kaili (Bal); Tihani Kahoalii-Kalilikane (Mol) vs Jaunisty Malaia-Naehu (Wai).

112–Barbara Simon (Mol) vs Teani Medeiros Maielu (Lah); Devina Ayala-Billings (Wai) vs Kivah Caballero (Lah).

117–Keeya Bicoy (Mol) vs Taimane Cajudoy (Lah); Michaela Vazquez (Kin) vs Mia Bonotan (Ben).

122–Alicia Frank (Lah) vs Olivia Contreras (Ben); Pualani Louis (Kea) vs Lydia Dudoit (Lah).

127–Ashlee Palimoo (Kin) vs Jaiyah Imamoto (Lah); Laieikawai Tancayo (Lah) vs Chloe Chung (Ben).

132–Nanea Estrella (Lah) vs Azure Quitevis (Mau); Lilata Sansone (Han) vs Waipuilani Estrella-Beauchamp (Bal).

138–Jahnea Miguel (Bal) vs Olivia Kelekoma (Kap); Destiny Tuisano (Wai) vs Ariez Igato (Cas).

145–Tiare Carlson (Wai) vs Chaenel Deluna (Mol); Claudia Keanini (Mol) vs Tyeisha Takamori (Bal).

155–Sadie Antoque (Cas) vs Maile Kaahanui (Mol); Nanea Kahoonei-Awai (Wai) vs Kaceylee Pua (Bal).

168–Shayna Kamaka (Bal) vs Leina Balancio-Sadama (Wai); Jolette Miner-Ho (Kap) vs Fayannie Rosario (Lah).

184–Shannon Jaramillo (Lah); Janvier Bentley-Smith (Mol) vs Kaitlynn Costa-Villiamu (Wai).

225–Sierra Vida (Bal) vs Alexandra Endo (Wai); Mikohu Hapakuka (Lah) vs Tuupua Helekahi (Han).

BOYS

Team scores–1. Benicia (Calif.) 96 points, 2. Lahainaluna 87.5, 3. Waianae 86, 4. Baldwin 77.5, 5. Molokai 30, 6. Lanai 29, 7. Maui High 24, 8. King Kekaulike 23, 9. Castle 21, 10. KauaI 20, 11 (tie). Kamehameha Maui and Kealakehe 10, 13. Kaimuki 7, 14. Hana 4, 15. Kapaa 3.

Semifinal matchups

106–Nicholas Cordeiro (Wai) vs Jayse Koyama (Lah); Marcus Marinas (Bal) vs Bruce Christensen (Ben).

113–Tobey Ravida (Bal) vs Jaeden Dumlao-Ranis (Lan); Andrew Bushong (Wai) vs Lorenzo Gunn (Ben).

120–Alan Sanchez Jr (Lan) vs Branson Magsayo (Wai); Keanu Kamai (Bal) vs Miguel Acuna (Ben).

126–Kahilihiwa Joy (Bal) vs Brandon Marlin (Ben); Cael Yasutake (Lah) vs Coby Ravida (Bal).

132–Kanoa Lanoza (Lah) vs Kolee Pedro-Tabilanga (Mol); Brandon Reynolds (Ben) vs Arron Sumabat (Bal).

138–Kalana Pahinui (Wai) vs Dawson Nolasco (Lah); Daniel Branigan (Wai) vs Bronson Adric (Bal).

145–Jesse Dudoit (Lah) vs Greyson Lee (Cas); Kekoa Catiel (Lan) vs Basil Othman (Ben).

152–Michael Jiminez (Ben) vs Jonah Renaud (Bal); William McLaughlin (Ben) vs Breeze Keolanui (Wai).

160–Enoch Vierra (Wai) vs Malachi DeVera (Mau); Jet Li Lam (Wai) vs Ryan Crivello (Ben).

170–Justin Mina (Mau) vs Ganen Silva-Cardenas (Kau); Kahiau Kaniho (Kam) vs Jian Perseveranda (Ben).

182–Zachary Genobia (Kam) vs Kyairese Diego-Pula (Mau); Keawe Kane-Keahi (Lah) vs Akulia Koloamatangi (Bal).

195–Enoka Phillips (Lah) vs Solomon Ohira (Cas); Makoa Palau-Agdeppa (Lah) vs Louis Cambra (Mau).

220–Maake Panuve (Bal) vs Xylar Newman-Matutino (Wai); Tysyn Estrella (Lah) vs Nephi Laga (Bal).

285–Jace Filipo-Rodrigues (Wai) vs Kaeo Pedroza-Kanemitsu (Lah); Harry Lloyd (Kai) vs Jacob Dortch (Ben).