COURTESY OF MISSOURI VALLEY COLLEGE
Members of the Missouri Valley College wrestling team include six grapplers from Hawaii. They are, from left, Selina Perez, Clarissa Calibuso, Tanya Miyasaki, Stephany Lee, Angelee Homma, and Chaneal Meletia.
Missouri Valley girls
Six Missouri Valley College wrestlers, including captains Stephany Lee and Clarissa Calibuso, hail from Hawaii
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CLARISSA Calibuso and Stephany Lee are enjoying college life in Marshall, Mo., as co-captains of the women's wrestling team at Missouri Valley College.
"They were selected by a team vote and run team meetings that are apart from me," said Missouri Valley coach Carl Murphree.
"Stephany is an exercise major and she has taken it upon herself to talk about nutrition and sports psychology (match preparation) and how to break down the season. She has helped me a lot in this area."
The captains are joined by four more Hawaii women -- Chaneal Meletia, Selina Perez, Tanya Miyasaki and Angelee Homma -- on the Vikings roster.
Lee, Perez, Meletia and Miyasaki will compete this weekend in the College Nationals at Williamsburg, Ky.
This is the first of three important spring meets. The other two are the U.S. Senior Nationals in April at Las Vegas and the Body Bar FILA University Nationals at Colorado Springs, Colo., in May.
"We are only taking the top two wrestlers in each weight class on our team to the nationals," Murphree said.
Lee, a junior from Moanalua, has been ranked No. 1 in the 158-pound class in the themat.com collegiate poll every month since the first poll in November.
Perez, a junior from Baldwin, is in the same weight class and was the national collegiate champion last year when Lee was sidelined with an ACL injury to her right knee.
Lee suffered the injury in a match against the Russian National Team in Moscow in January 2005.
"I PLANTED MY FOOT and the girl turned me and my foot stuck in the mat," said Lee.
She returned to action last October and won her class at the Sunkist Kids/Arizona State International Open.
"Stephany's strength is her big-scoring moves, usually throwing moves," Murphree said.
"I think her judo background is a big advantage. She does a good job of combining judo moves with wrestling tactics and not everyone is able to do that well."
Lee is a physical education major and Perez is majoring in criminal justice.
Meletia, a sophomore from Hawaii Baptist, is No. 2 in the 128-pound class on the team behind Rachel Billerbeck, who is No. 5 nationally.
"Chaneal has a lot of tricks that she pulls out. Some are high school techniques, but she is able to catch people in bad positions," said Murphree of the psychology major.
Miyasaki, a junior from Castle majoring in exercise science, competes in the 105-pound class. She is a clever wrestler, according Murphree.
"I don't want it to sound bad, but Tanya is somewhat lazy, but she knows how to win," Murphree said. "Tanya catches people off guard. She even does it to her teammates and they know it is coming.
"She frustrates her opponents, then pulls something out of her bag and puts them on their back."
Homma also competes in the 105-pound class, where she is No. 3 in the Vikings' pecking order. The junior business major is from Aiea.
"Angelee has been to a number of tournaments. She is doing all right," Murphree said.
BOTH LEE AND Calibuso delayed starting college after graduating from Moanalua. Lee had shoulder surgery following her senior season and coached at Farrington for a year.
She had talked with Murphree, but there was a concern about the amount of her scholarship.
"In the spring of 2003, I went to the junior worlds and did pretty good. Then I went to the Senior Nationals in Vegas and came in third," Lee said. "After that I talked to Missouri Valley even more."
A national judo champion prior to entering Moanalua, Lee did not wrestle as a freshman.
"Joel Kawachi (then the wrestling coach) kept bugging me about coming out. I came out my sophomore year because I wanted to get better mat work for judo," Lee said. "Then I got my black belt and decided to just wrestle."
Being ranked No. 1 does not bother Lee.
"I've always been under pressure, I like pressure, I don't break when it comes to pressure," she said.
LEE IS POINTING to the U.S. Senior Nationals, a qualifier for the world team. She has been on the world team the past two years and wants to stay there. Lee's long-range goal is to make the U.S. team for the 2008 Olympics in China.
Calibuso graduated in 1999, then continued in the sport, helping coach at Mililani and Moanalua while working at Foot Locker.
She was offered a scholarship to Missouri Valley her senior season but decided not to go to college then.
"I kind of wanted to, but my mom thought it was too far. She didn't think I would get anything out of the education if I got homesick," said Calibuso, an exercise science major, who is minoring in business and wants to be a personal trainer.
However, she missed the competition, missed the feeling of wrestling on the mat.
"I knew I needed to get an education and figured I might as well wrestle and get an education a the same time," Calibuso said.
"During the four-year layoff, I was focused on coaching. I enjoyed coaching, but I wanted to wrestle again and I did something about it."
IN THE JANUARY themat.com rankings, Calibuso was No. 3 nationally in the 121-pound weight class, but dropped out in the last two months.
"I suffered a concussion toward the end of January. I had headaches and nausea and didn't practice," Calibuso said. "I just got better a week ago, got back on the mat, then sprained my left ankle."
Murphree indicated Calibuso would be fit to wrestle later this year.
"Clarissa knows how to work hard in a match and score the points she needs," Murphree said.
Murphree said he is looking at five or six Hawaii girls from this year's senior class.
One is Desiree Memea (University), who wrestles for Pac-Five and won the state 175-pound title last Saturday.
"There are about 80 students from Hawaii on campus. I think a lot of Hawaii's athletes. I think some NCAA schools ignore them. We don't ignore them," Murphree said.
"Marshall is about as non-Asian as you can get, but on campus that doesn't make a difference," added Murphree.
"We've had loco moco and musubi on our menus here and the Polynesian club goes around to schools in the area. With the Asians, Hispanics and northern whites on the team, we have some of the best potlucks anywhere."