The Maui News 2019-20 MIL Wrestling All-Stars
Best of the best: Estrella, Ravida combined for seven state titles to lead remarkable MIL senior class
Nanea Estrella and Coby Ravida are done as high school wrestlers, but they leave the Maui Interscholastic League in rarified air.
Lahainaluna High School’s Estrella became the second four-time state champion in MIL history — boy or girl — joining former Luna standout Lalelei Mataafa (2013-16).
Ravida is the fourth MIL boy to win three state titles, joining Lahainaluna’s Travis Okano (2006-08), Maui High’s Saia Lotulelei (1999-2001) and Baldwin’s Leigh Tonai (1973-75).
The pair leads one of the most decorated MIL wrestling classes in history to graduation. The class also includes multi-state champions Jahnea Miguel and Waipuilani Estrella-Beauchamp of Baldwin, and Shannon Jaramillo of Lahainaluna.
For the second straight year, Ravida and Estrella are The Maui News MIL Wrestlers of the Year.
“It feels like the same thing as winning a state title, honestly,” Ravida said via phone on Thursday. “Just, like, being proud and how amazing it is to be selected out of everyone else on the island. It just feels great.”
Ravida pondered the legacy of the 2020 MIL class of wrestlers.
“We all started together,” Ravida said, thinking of their beginnings in the Maui Style Wrestling program. “For me, it’s very inspirational because we all worked together, we all push each other even though we’re all from different schools.”
Baldwin coach Malakai Panuve will miss Ravida, who is still deciding between Warner Pacific University and Hawaii Manoa to pursue a nursing degree. If it is Warner Pacific, he will wrestle.
“Since he entered Baldwin High School, for myself as well as the coaching staff, we knew he was a great kid, we knew how much talent, how much knowledge he had, and how much passion he had for the sport,” Panuve said. “With those qualities we knew he was going to get real far. And for us, it’s very fortunate for us here at Baldwin High School that we got our second three-timer.”
The MIL teams all come together each year for a gathering on the center mat at the conclusion of the state tournament, a “Team Maui” moment. It is part of what Estrella will miss most as she goes on to college wrestling at Menlo College in California in the fall.
“It really puts a lot of things into perspective,” Estrella said. “It’s really cool that we’re such a strong community and it’s cool to see how in the end we all came together and all supported each other. We put all rivalries aside and just were Team Maui.
“It was really nice to be a part of that whole thing. It was an awesome experience.”
Estrella-Beauchamp is Estrella’s cousin and the two have beaten each other in matches over the last two seasons. Estrella also recalled their youth wrestling days.
“We all have trained together at one point in our careers and it’s really cool to see all of us and how we all have done in the state and how we all have done for these four years,” Estrella said. “It’s a family, it just ended with all of them, all of us are so close. It was a really good feeling, all of us placing and being part of this class.”
“It sounds pretty cool, it’s crazy to see how far I’ve come in these past couple of years,” Estrella said of her award. “That’s a really cool thing to hear.”
Todd Hayase was the Lunas’ head coach for both of Mataafa’s and Estrella’s four-year runs as state champions.
“We’ve had many wrestlers who have the same passion and commitment and the work ethic of Nanea — many wrestlers, boys and girls,” Hayase said. “I just think Nanea, obviously being a four-timer is something very, very special. The tenacity is the word that you use with her, just the mindset, the willingness to just battle, and wanting the best competition. Not afraid of losing matches, just willing to get the best competitive matches I think is what makes her really special.”
The MIL first teams are made up of the 14 league champions for boys and girls. The honorable mention list is made up of state medalists who did not win league titles.
The boys MIL first team is made up of Lahainaluna’s Jayse Koyama (106 pounds), Kanoa Lanoza (126), Dawson Nolasco (132), Jesse Dudoit (145) and Matai Mataafa (195); Baldwin’s Tobey Ravida (113), Coby Ravida (120), Bronson Adric (138), Nainoa Flores (152), Maake Panuve (220) and Nephi Laga (285); Kamehameha Maui’s Kanoa Aruda-Starwood (160) and Zachary Genobia (182); and Hana’s Thomas Momoa (170).
The MIL girls first team includes Lahainaluna’s Nalani Kirkman (102), Teani Medeiros-Maielua (107), Kivah Caballero (112), Alicia Frank (117), Estrella (132), Fayannie Rosario (155), Jaramillo (184) and Mikohu Hapakuka (225); Baldwin’s Liana Ferreira (97), Miguel (127), Estrella-Beauchamp (138), Tyeisha Takamori (145) and Shayna Kamaka (168); and Kamehameha Maui’s Ashlee Palimoo (122).
Baldwin’s Kamaka won her second state crown last month, while Tobey Ravida, Coby’s younger brother, won his first.
“He’s a really good wrestler, I wouldn’t be surprised if he does,” Coby Ravida said of his brother’s chance at state title No. 2 next year. “I’m just excited to see him try to reach that goal, knowing that he’s a hard worker. So, that’s something that I’m looking forward to seeing.”
Hayase noted the class of wrestlers who are leaving the MIL behind.
“It’s not just Nanea,” Hayase said. “I think of this generation, this class when you look at Nanea, Waipuilani, Shannon, Shayna. All of these boys and girls. What Coby’s done, all of them have done, for Maui is huge.
“They are setting the bar for all of our youth wrestlers on the island, something for them to aspire for, dream of. All of these wrestlers are making our youth wrestlers better because it’s in their grasp.”
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Girls–Baldwin: Kaceylee Pua; King Kekaulike: Michaelah Vasquez; Lahainaluna: Naiomi Kulukulualani-Sales, Kivah Caballero, Lydia Dudoit; Molokai: Alana Morris, Chaenel Deluna. Boys–Baldwin: Kahilihiwa Joy; Lahainaluna: Cael Yasutake; Lanai: Alan Sanchez Jr.