HIGH SCHOOL WRESTLING
GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Lanai wrestler Jervy Vila picked up Aiea wrestler Jack Oliveros in a 112-pound bout yesterday.
Ahlo shows up in boys semifinals
Saint Louis senior Shane Ahlo walked into Blaisdell Arena yesterday with the lingering disappointment of a fifth-place finish in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu championships last weekend still fresh on his mind.
After all, only the top four finishers in the league qualified for the Chevron/HHSAA State Wrestling Championships that began yesterday, leaving Ahlo on the sidelines to cheer on his teammates.
But after two kids didn't show up in time for the morning weigh-ins, Ahlo found himself wrestling as a last-minute replacement in the qualifying round of the 152-pound division. Three victories later, he is one of five Crusaders who advanced to the championship-bracket semifinals that get under way today at 10:30 a.m.
"My coaches told me that crazy things always happen in the state tournament, so I prepared for the worst and got ready for the best," Ahlo said. "I can't say I expected this though."
Ahlo's stunning run has the Crusaders in third place of the team standings after the first day with 55.5 points. The ILH owns the top three spots as Punahou (65.5) has a half-point edge over Kamehameha (65) for the lead. Kahuku (53) and Aiea (46.5) round out the top five.
The Warriors have six wrestlers still alive in the championship bracket, one more than both Saint Louis and Punahou. Kahuku, Kaiser, and Aiea all have four finalists still in the running for a state title.
After dominating Konawaena's Marwin Palea 14-2 in the qualifying round, things got even sweeter for Ahlo, as he drew fourth-seeded Shane Irish from Iolani in the preliminary round. Irish defeated Ahlo on his way to the 152-pound ILH title, but the Crusaders senior avenged that loss with an 8-5 decision victory.
"I think I was more focused and mentally prepared this time around," Ahlo said.
Ahlo then knocked off Kahuku's Drake Auna 16-8 in the quarterfinals to complete a long and tiring day. He will take on Lahainaluna's Lake Casco, who is the top seed, in the semifinals.
"Each match takes a lot out of you, and I was just trying to hold on at the end," Ahlo said. "If I can just do (today) what I did (yesterday), I think I've got a shot."
Undefeated Crusaders teammate Jordan Lai advanced to the semifinals of the 103-pound weight class by coming from behind to defeat Edison Hidalgo of Lahainaluna. Lai hasn't been tested much throughout the season, but found himself down 6-1 after the first round. He managed to regroup by opening the second round strong, scoring on a reversal and a near-fall before eventually scoring the pin.
"I just kept telling myself its my senior year and there's no way I can lose," Lai said. "I knew he was going to get tired and once I put him on his back, I knew I had it."
Kamehameha's Cody Gomes also rebounded from a tough ILH tournament to lead six Warriors into the championship semifinals. The 112-pound division may be the most important division, as all three ILH schools at the top have a wrestler in the semifinals.
After an early qualifying win, Gomes knocked off second-seeded Richie Mitchell of Honokaa in the first round. In his third match of the day, Gomes scored a point in the final seconds to defeat Aiea's Jack Oliveros 8-7 to advance to a key semifinal against Punahou's Bryson Fukushima, who is the reigning 103-pound state champion.
Saint Louis senior Mark Caberto is the top seed in the division, and needed just 18 seconds to pin Farrington's Ramsey Machado in the quarterfinals. Caberto finished fifth in the same division last season, which helped him believe he could come back and win the whole thing this year.
"Mentally I didn't think I belonged here, but after placing in states last season, I realized I can do it and have the confidence of knowing that I'm that much better," he said.
Kahuku's Richard Torres, who has three top-three finishes but no wins in the state tournament, kept his dreams of a championship alive with tough wins over Iolani's Bryce Kato and Lahainaluna's Ryley Mayo. Torres squeaked by Kato 4-2 and then snapped a scoreless tie in the final round against Mayo by scoring on an escape and a takedown to win 3-0.