As the whistle blew to end Richard Torres' final high school wrestling match, the Kahuku senior jumped up, let out a small yell, and thrust his arms victoriously in the air.
It was more emotion than you might expect from the usually soft-spoken Torres, but this win had a little extra meaning to it.
Fourteen boys earned individual titles in yesterday's Chevron/HHSAA Boys State Wrestling Championships at Blaisdell Arena, but no win could have been as rewarding as Torres'. He had two second-place finishes and one third-place in his three previous state-tournament appearances before finally breaking through in last night's 145-pound final.
"It just goes to show that hard work does pay off," Torres said. "In the previous years, I was nervous going into my last matches, but this time I just tried to keep my mind at ease and be as mentally prepared as I could."
Torres conceded he didn't sleep much the night before, tossing and turning in his bed. His focus wasn't on winning a state title, however. He was strictly focused on his semifinal opponent, Kamehameha's Kameona Hokoana, whom he defeated 9-2.
"I knew he was a really tough guy and I didn't want to get caught up into thinking ahead," Torres said. "I didn't have a very good day (on Friday), so I was just thinking on how to rebound from a bad first day."
Torres entered the final against Punahou senior Josh Plechaty, who was no stranger to the state tournament, either. The second-seeded Plechaty won the 103-pound title as a freshman and finished fourth in the 140-pound division last season. The two had wrestled each other since the eighth grade, and this was the fifth meeting between the two this season alone. Torres won three of the four matches, but Plechaty's lone win came on Torres' home turf at Kahuku gym, adding a little revenge factor to an already intriguing state final.
Torres was shut out in last year's state final, but didn't take long to get on the board in this one, scoring a single-leg takedown for two points right off the bat. After controlling Plechaty for a minute, the Punahou senior evened the match with a reversal, but Torres took a 3-2 lead with an escape at the end of the first round.
Torres increased his lead to four points with an escape and takedown and seemed like he was rolling to a state title, but Plechaty made a late run, cutting the lead to a single point midway through the final round. Plechaty let Torres score on an escape in order to try for a match-tying takedown, but Torres used the same single-leg takedown to score the final two points to hold on for that elusive state championship.
"I wasn't thinking about the (last) takedown as much as I just didn't want to give up two points," Torres said. "Facing a guy like Josh who I've wrestled so many times, it's harder when you know the guy and I just tried to come up with some new techniques."
1. Punahou, 161.5; 2. Kamehameha, 141; 3. Saint Louis, 128.5; 4. Kahuku, 112; 5. Kaiser, 86.5; 6. Lahainaluna, 76; 7. Pearl City, 66; 8. Campbell, 60; 9. Aiea, 59.5; 10. Iolani, 59; 11. Moanalua, 50.5; 12. Kealakehe, 50; 13. Waipahu, 42; t14. Baldwin, Konawaena, 41; 16. Roosevelt, 39; 17. Leilehua, 37; 18. Mililani, 36; 19. King Kekaulike, 32.5; 20. Farrington, 29; 21. Molokai, 23; 22. Waialua, 22; 23. Waianae, 21; 24. Kamehameha-Maui, 19.5; 25. Pahoa, 19; 26. Kapolei, 18; 27. Word of Life, 16.5; t28. Honokaa, Waiakea, Kalani, 15; 31. Keaau, 13; 32. Damien, 11; 33. Hawaii Prep 10; 34. Radford, 9; 35. Hilo, 4; 36. Hawaii Baptist, 3.5; t37. Anuenue, Kalaheo, 3; t39. Hana, Kau, University, 2; t42. McKinley, Kamehameha-Hawaii, Lanakila Baptist, 1; t45. Academy of the Pacific, Assets, Castle, Christian Academy, Christian Liberty, Kailua, Kaimuki, Kohala, Lanai, Lutheran, Maryknoll, Maui, Mid-Pacific, Nanakuli, St. Anthony, 0.
Def. Jason Spiker (Kaiser), 10-2
Lai pinned his way to the state final, but couldn't hold a stubborn Spiker down after a near-pin in the first minute. He finished the season undefeated. The future is still bright for Spiker who is only a sophomore.
Michael Nakagawa (Kalani) def. Robbie Herbst (Baldwin)
Dallas Collier (Aiea) def. Roger Ramones (Kahuku)
Def. Bryson Fukushima (Punahou), 5-3
Caberto (34-1) scored two takedowns in round one to jump out to an early lead. Fukushima scored on two escapes and had the majority of the third round to try to tie the match, but couldn't take Caberto down. Fukushima was last year's 103-pound champion.
Bill Takeuchi (Pearl City) def. Richie Mitchell (Honokaa)
Gino Pelosi (Damien) def. Cody Gomes (Kamehameha)
Def. Branden Mina (Waipahu), 9-6
The unseeded Mathewson scored a quick takedown to start the match, but from that point on it was all Mina, the defending champion at 112 pounds.
Reid Oshiro (Punahou) def. Nicholas Matayoshi (Iolani)
Nick Lafarga (Kealakehe) def. Joshua Tingman (Moanalua)
Def. Arnold Toriumi (Punahou), 6-2
After falling behind a point for stalling in the second round, the defending 119-pound champion responded with a near-fall to give him the lead. Okano added another point on an escape in the third round and finished the deal with a takedown with 40 seconds left. Okano has one more year to win a third state championship.
Chad Diamond (Mililani) def. John Sanchez (Keaau)
Ryan Higa (Waiakea) def. Ronnie Herbst (Baldwin)
Def. Jaysen Patao (Baldwin), 8-5
Nishigaya became the first second seed to win, overcoming two takedowns in the final minute by Patao to beat him for the second-conseuctive year in states.
Andrew Chung (Iolani) def. Jared Panlasigui (Lahainaluna)
Maika Nagata (Punahou) def. Chayne Chang (Farrington)
Def. Kevin Tomita (Kaiser), 5-3
Palencia ends his high school career with a state title after finishing second last year. Palencia scored on two takedowns, but let his opponent right back up both times. Tomita struggled to takedown Palencia which proved to be the difference.
Matthew Higa (Aiea) def. Kamaehu Matsuoka (Konawaena)
Tyler Diamond (Mililani) def. Cody Sawyer (Saint Louis)
Def. Reynell Transfiguracion (Kealakehe), 8-2
Transfiguraction took the early lead on the Buffanblu junior with a takedown 20 seconds into the match, but the reigning 135-pound champion controlled the rest of the match by scoring eight unanswered points.
Omar Mirza (Kamehameha) def. Shane Yakabe (Kaiser)
Kainoa Terukina (Moanalua) def. Brock Bal (Aiea)
Def. Josh Plechaty (Punahou), 9-5
After three top-3 finishes without a state championship, Torres ended his career on top by pulling away from Plechaty late. The Punahou senior, who was the 103-pound champion as a freshman, pulled to within one point in the third round. After giving up an escape, Torres executed a single-leg takedown to pull out the victory.
Joseph Brandin Lawrence (Roosevelt) def. Kameona Hokoana (Kamehameha)
Cameron Gorospie-Antolin (Farrington) def. Ryley Mayo (Lahainaluna)
Def. Kekoa Rosales (Kamehameha), 5-4
Casco took early 2-0 lead and controlled Rosales for the majority of the first round and extended the lead to 4-1 to end the period. Rosales scored three points in the final 30 seconds to make it close. Casco defeated Rosales in the third-place match last year at 145 pounds.
Kenny White (Punahou) def. Shandon Augustus (Word of Life)
Shane Ahlo (Saint Louis) def. Tyson Tynanes-Perez (Campbell)
Def. Clinton Manley (Molokai), 6-3
It's the second consecutive runner-up finish for the top-seeded Manley, who last in last year's final in sudden death overtime. Perez finished third last year and took a 2-0 lead into the final round after Manley nearly pinned Perez from his back in the final seconds. Perez took down Manley twice in the final 2 minutes to pull away.
Nicholas Pait (Pearl City) def. Rudie Schaefer (Punahou)
Kalae Parish (Kapolei) def. Keola Williams (Iolani)
Def. Truman Chun (Kamehameha), 7-3
Kerbow overcome a stunning loss in the state final last year to hold off Chun. The match lasted nearlty 20 minutes as it was stopped for cuts many times. Kerbow scored on a reversal in the opening 15 seconds and was never really challenged as a last-second takedown in round one gave him a comfortable lead.
Clinton Criado (Kaiser) def. Ira Casey (Kahuku)
Luke Knittle (Konawaena) def. Christian Pavo (Pearl City)
Def. Nelson Fernandez (Roosevelt), 4-2
The top-seeded Carr won the Red Raiders' second individual title by holdind off Fernandez for the second time in a week. He also beat him in the OIA final. Carr finished fourth in states last year while Fernandez came in fifth.
Brandon Kingsbury-Santiago (Kealakehe) def. Keloni Kamalani (Kamehameha-Maui)
Kalena Herrera (Moanalua) def. Harrison Flores (Aiea)
Def. Joshua Schippman (Waialua), 4-3 overtime
The match was tied at one going into overtime. Both wrestlers scored on escapes but Ikehara scored on a reversal for the victory. The win was gratifying for Ikehara who had lost in last year's final in the final 10 seconds.
Roman Pearl (Kahuku) def. Weston Mcintosh (Pahoa)
Aaron Paahana (Waipahu) def. Brian Gosset (Pearl City)
Def. Miles Tynanes-Perez (Campbell), 1-0 overtime
This was a rematch of the OIA championship that Mullen won 7-4. The match was scoreless in the first overtime when Tynanes-Perez took down Mullen in the final seconds, but the clock ran out before he could control him for the points. Mullen won with an escape in the final 10 seonds of the third overtime.
Ana Tuiasosopo (Saint Louis) def. Tyler Lauifi (Pearl City)
Daniel Kinikini (Kahuku) def. Tonu Tuimalealiifano (Farrington)