MIL places 25 in state semis
Lahainaluna, Baldwin in contention for girls team championship
The Maui Interscholastic League advanced 25 wrestlers to today’s semifinals of the Texaco/HHSAA State Wrestling Championships — 15 girls and 10 boys — at the Blaisdell Arena on Oahu on Friday.
Baldwin and Lahainaluna high schools appear to be in contention for the girls team title, each team notching six semifinalists.
Lahainaluna leads the girls standings going into today with 85.5 points, six ahead of Moanalua. Baldwin is sixth with 61.
Finals are set to start at 3:30 p.m. and will be televised on OC16.
Baldwin traveled with just seven wrestlers after one qualifier from the MIL championships did not make the trip.
“We brought seven, you know, that’s all we had — we had eight, but right at the last minute … so we just brought seven,” Baldwin coach Malakai Panuve said. “Out of the seven, six made the semis.”
After losing four starters to various issues this season, Panuve was not going to count on anything to do with the team title. Baldwin won the girls team crown in 2018.
“I’m not going to think about that,” Panuve said. “I just want to focus on the girls match by match, whatever the outcome is at the end. If they do well, I would say maybe. I’m just taking it one match at a time.”
The six Baldwin girls to advance to the semifinals were two-time state champions Jahnea Miguel (127 pounds) and Waipuilani Estrella-Beauchamp (138) — Liana Ferreira (97), Tyeisha Takamori (145), Kaceylee Pua (155) and Shayna Kamaka (168) also made the final four.
Lahainaluna’s Naiomi Kulukulualani-Sales (97), Kivah Caballero (112), Alicia Frank (117), Nanea Estrella (132), Fayannie Rosario (155) and Shannon Jaramillo (184) all made the semifinals.
Estrella is trying to become the second MIL wrestler ever to win four state titles — the first was Lalelei Mataafa, who won the 225 title from 2013-16.
Molokai advanced Alana Morris (122) and Chaenel Deluna (145) to the girls semifinals.
Kamehameha Maui’s Ashlee Palimoo (122) also made the semifinals.
Among the boys, Baldwin’s Ravida brothers — Tobey Ravida (113) and two-time state champion Coby Ravida (120) — made the semifinals. Later in the evening, the Bears’ Maake Panuve (220) also made it into today’s semifinals.
Kamehameha Kapalama leads the boys standings with 89.5 points. Lahainaluna is sixth with 48.5, while Baldwin is seventh with 47.
Lahainaluna’s Cael Yasutake (113), Kanoa Lanoza (126), Dawson Nolasco (132), Jesse Dudoit (145) and Matai Mataafa (195) are into the semifinals.
Lanai’s Alan Sanchez Jr. is in the final four at 120, while Kamehameha Maui’s Zachary Genobia made the semifinals at 182.
The action was delayed in the afternoon after a wrestler from Leilehua was disqualified for several infractions in a round-of-16 match against Baldwin’s Nephi Laga at 285.
HawaiiPrepWorld.com reported that the Leilehua wrestler was arrested at the scene after allegedly threatening a referee and grabbing his shirt, and pushing down a security guard. Several adults can be seen coming out of the stands in still photos on HawaiiPrepWorld.com and video posted on Facebook. HawaiiPrepWorld.com reported that several friends and adult family members were escorted from the arena by HHSAA officials, causing a five-minute delay on all six mats.
“After speaking with the coaches of the kid, you know, it is what it is,” Malakai Panuve said. “Here’s what it is — you will get penalties, you will get calls. So what happened was the kid got four penalty calls. When you get numerous penalty calls you get DQ’d. He had four or five, so that’s how that happened.”
Panuve said things quickly got somewhat out of control — it was a scene he said he has never seen in his wrestling career as a competitor or coach.
“The kid was OK with it,” Panuve said. “He was pissed off, but he walked off and he left. But it didn’t go well with the family. So it didn’t go well with the family, but the boy was just, like, ‘I just want to let it go. Never mind, never mind, just let it go.’ Man, the family came down and, man, it just started causing a scene.”
Maui referee Bob Vickers can be seen near the melee in still pictures and on video posted to Facebook.
“The family started shoving referees and pushing guys,” Panuve said. “It was crazy.”
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com