Estrella captures fourth state title
Lahainaluna senior among five MIL wrestlers to win state gold
The Maui Interscholastic League won five state titles at the Texaco/HHSAA Wrestling Championships on Saturday, but none was bigger than Nanea Estrella’s.
The Lahainaluna High School senior entered the record books with a 99-second pin in the final of the 132-pound weight class at the Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, winning for the fourth straight time. She beat Skye Realin of Kamehameha Kapalama in a rematch of last year’s 127-pound state final.
Estrella is just the second wrestler from the Maui Interscholastic League — boy or girl — to win four state wrestling crowns, joining Lahainaluna’s Lalelei Mataafa, who did it from 2013-16. There have been 12 four-time state champs total — boys and girls — in state history.
“It feels honestly amazing,” Estrella said. “It’s an unreal experience. There was definitely a lot of pressure because this was my last shot, my last turn, but in the end it was that pressure that helped me, it was that pressure that really pushed me.”
Estrella’s state crown helped the Lunas finish second in the team standings with 161.5 points, just 7.5 behind Kamehameha Kapalama. Baldwin finished fifth with 133.
“It’s huge,” Lahainaluna head coach Todd Hayase said. “You know with the girls that we brought up and the girls that we do have, it’s a fairly young group of wrestlers. So, it’s really exciting to just think about the next few years with these girls.”
The Lunas won girls state team titles in 2015 and 2017.
“It’s just really nice to come up here and be in the hunt and to even compete for a title. It just takes the state tournament to another level, as a level of stress for everybody,” Hayase said.
Estrella lost to her cousin Waipuilani Estrella-Beauchamp of Baldwin in the finals of the Garner Ivey Maui Invitational Tournament in December, but did not lose again in her high school career.
“That was a real eye-opener for me, it really showed me that whatever I have to do I have to push, like there’s nothing, I can’t stop,” Estrella said. “So that was a real eye-opener for me and it really showed me that it wasn’t going to be an easy year. I couldn’t take anybody lightly.”
There was a family theme on this night and Estrella was part of it. She talked to her brother Kainalu, a redshirt freshman wrestler at Utah Valley University and former state champion for the Lunas. He watched from Utah via live stream.
“I was talking to him before and after my match,” said Nanea Estrella, who will continue her career at Menlo College in the fall. “Before my match we weren’t really talking about my match. He was just kind of keeping me a little bit distracted. … He just told me to relax and it’s the last one, so might as well just go for it.
“Afterward, he just told me that was really proud of me and that that was a really good match. He was just super proud of everything that I’ve accomplished.”
Hayase will miss his second four-time state champ.
“I wasn’t surprised at how she won,” Hayase said. “It’s not that she makes it easy, but she’s just a battler, she’s just a competitor. She’s very confident, very headstrong. To win one is incredibly difficult and to do four, it’s a special feat.”
Another touch of MIL history also came with a family feeling.
Minutes after his sophomore brother Tobey Ravida won the 113 state title, Coby Ravida of Baldwin became just the fourth MIL boy wrestler to claim three state titles, joining Leigh Tonai of Baldwin (1973-75), Saia Lotulelei of Maui High (1999-2001) and Travis Okano of Lahainaluna (2006-08).
“It means a lot, especially since this is my third title,” Coby Ravida said after beating Elijah Asuncion of Moanalua 2-0 in the 120 final. “It’s really cool, especially because I basically made history being the second person from Baldwin to win three times. So, I surprised myself.”
He said that his brother’s crown “got me motivated. It boosted up my confidence. I basically told myself that I have to chase after him.”
Tobey Ravida won the 113 final 6-0 over Lahainaluna’s Cael Yasutake. Tobey Ravida finished second last year at 106.
“It really feels good — I really wanted it more than the other wrestlers and I got it,” Tobey Ravida said. “It was fun, it was fun to go out there and compete in front of everybody.
“My brother’s match was really good — we always try to push each other.”
The Ravidas led the Bears to fifth in the boys team standings, with 106.5 points. Lahainaluna was sixth with 88.5. Kamehameha Kapalama won the boys title with 207.5, which was 42.5 more than Punahou.
Baldwin’s Shayna Kamaka won her second straight state crown, this one at 168 on a 30-second pin over Nanakuli’s Shannlynne Mahoe. It helped the Bears finish fifth in the team standings with just seven wrestlers in the event — four starters were not on Oahu for various reasons.
“It feels relieving, now I can sit back and rest,” Kamaka said. “I’m a junior, so it’s relaxing for a week. This season was a rocky season, especially for our team. Me, I just came out of a knee injury a week prior to MIL championships. So it was kind of a mental thing more than a physical thing for us.
“Other than that, I thought all of our girls did amazing.”
Lahainaluna’s Shannon Jaramillo finished the family theme for the night with her second straight state title at 184 — that ran the Jaramillo family record to 7-0 in state finals. Bubba Jaramillo won two state titles and Carly Jaramillo won three.
“For me, I didn’t want to come in thinking that my brother was a two-time state champ, my sister was a three-time,” Shannon Jaramillo said. “I just wanted to build a name for myself.”
She won her final with a 28-second pin of Maryknoll’s Dylan Huddy.
“Stepping on the mat knowing the history I have with my family on the mat with wrestling just gave me a confidence boost,” Shannon Jaramillo said. “Just having that mindset when stepping into this tournament was the biggest thing for me.”
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com.