JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Lahainaluna's Lake Casco, top, defeated Kameona Hokoana of Kamehameha in the 160-pound final for his second state title.
Punahou boys collect a second straight titleSTORY SUMMARY »
Punahou captured three division titles en route to a runaway win and second team title in a row at the Chevron/HHSAA Boys Wrestling Championships yesterday at Blaisdell Arena.
Reid Oshiro, Daniel Chow and Rudie Schaefer captured the 125, 145, and 152 weight classes to lead the Buffanblu with a team score of 225.5 over runner-up Lahainaluna.
It's Punahou's fourth title overall.
The total is the highest ever going back to record-keeping in 1966, topping the 1977 Radford Rams by a point and a half.
The Lunas' Travis Okano and Lake Casco won the 130- and 160-pound categories, and the school from the Maui Interscholastic League took two more second-place finishes to finish second with 176.
Kamehameha took third behind 112- and 215-pound titles.
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FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Punahou's Daniel Chow, bottom, had his hands full with Keani Nishigaya of Saint Louis last night.
Make it three years, three weight classes, three titles for Punahou's Daniel Chow.
In his latest division, Chow absorbed and ablated the aggressive tactics of Saint Louis' Keani Nishigaya to win the 145-pound class, 8-5, in the Chevron/HHSAA State Wrestling Championships last night at Blaisdell Arena.
At the end of his high school wrestling career, Chow went out higher than he ever dreamed -- but that had largely to do with the success of his team as a whole. The Buffanblu dominated with a team score of 225.5 to take first overall.
"I think it's a lot better," he said. "A large part of it has been the contributions of the whole team. It's really great to see how everybody's doing."
Whereas Chow's style has remained more or less consistent over the last three years, Nishigaya went for a different approach in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu foes' third meeting of the season.
"This one was more physical," Chow said. "His tie-ups were different."
The Buffanblu team captain was ready for it, though. He locked the Crusader's leading leg with an arm several times to keep him off-balance and converted with two full-body pickups and takedowns for four points in the second and third rounds.
Nishigaya, who hadn't beaten Chow during the ILH season, stayed with his opponent with tied scores of 2-2 and 4-4 after the first and second rounds. But his early momentum, which included a takedown on Chow, played itself out and the Buffanblu senior exerted control late. Nishigaya, a second-team all-state running back for the Crusaders, earned his final points on escapes and mistakes after the early takedown, but never got another crucial two-point score awarded.
Punahou coach Matt Oney chalked up Chow's reign to some increased aggressiveness, excellent preparation and an unflappable nature that comes with being a veteran of countless judo matches.
"It helps with balance, and maintaining position on the mat," Oney said. "But it also helps that he's had so much competitive experience -- he's more mature than an 18-year-old senior in high school. He's a great kid, very coachable."
Chow, who took previous titles in the 135- and 140-pound classes, thought that his muscle development caught up to his ability this year. At last, he had the strength to back up his savvy.
"For the majority of the time I've been just a little weaker (than opponents) physically," Chow said. "But I made up for it with technique and leverage. This season, though, I feel I'm a little stronger than some of my opponents."
It allowed him to lift Nishigaya bodily during the takedowns for a little added flair.
Before his match, Chow got to watch his freshman sister, Chrissy, win the girls 114-pound division over Iolani's Megan Morisada 3-2.
Individual championship capsules reported by Paul Honda
Def. Keani Nishigaya (Saint Louis) 8-5
One of the most physically punishing matches of the tourney came in this final between ILH rivals.
The match between the top seed (Chow) and unseeded Nishigaya was tied at 4-all entering the final period, when Chow scored three points in a row.
"His tie-ups were a little different this time," said Chow, who captured his third state title in a row. "I just wanted to finish strong."
Chow used leg drives, something the team has worked on recently. "This is probably the first match I've been able to get that. I've (usually) been scoring on my takedowns. I was able to capitalize on more things."
Chow was unbeaten this season after winning the 140 championship last year and the 135 crown in '06.
Def. David Terao (Mid-Pacific) 6-3
The second-seeded Medeiros used all his guile and experience to outlast the unseeded Mid-Pac challenger. Medeiros, seeded second, beat Terao for the fourth time in five matchups. It was a loss to Terao before the ILH tourney, however, that sharpened his resolve.
"That helped me. Before that, I wasn't there mentally," he said. "I changed. Instead of powering up and lifting up the guy, trying to outmuscle, I used more technique and listened to my coaches."
Medeiros, a junior, plans to move up in weight. "I can't make 103 next year," he said.
He finished the season with a 30-3 record.
During the state tourney, he had one close win but dominated the rest of the field.
Def. No. 1 Michael Nakagawa (Kalani) 6-3
The No. 2 seed upended the No. 1 decisively. Terukina had lost to Nakagawa twice in his 29-2 season.
The loss to Nakagawa at Kamehameha's preseason tourney was a turning point for Terukina.
"I had to push myself. I worked on my moves and shots, my single leg and duck-under," he said.
He jumped to a 5-0 lead on Nakagawa, who had been solid through the tourney. "I took my shots and committed to them. My riding, he couldn't get up," he said.
Terukina imposed a training regimen during the regular season that included running the tough hills of Kapalama Heights three times a week while still lifting weights twice a week.
"I couldn't hold (Nakagawa) down before. That's why I'm shocked," he said.
Def. Dallas Collier (Aiea) 12-4
The junior Charger was in total control to stifle the upset hopes of the unseeded Collier. Takeuchi had beaten Collier in six previous meetings.
"I knew how to play him. I used an aggression technique and kept putting the pressure on him, going at him," Takeuchi said. "I just had God on my side today."
Collier had toppled No. 3 Rodrigo Tabladillo Jr. of Lahainaluna and No. 2 Jacob Luning-Hoshino of Kamehameha by pin to reach the final. However, Takeuchi put his knowledge to good use.
"The ankle pick. I saw him using it (earlier in the tourney), so I told myself, just watch out. Don't get caught," he said. "When I was on top of him, that gave me the most points."
Takeuchi plans to move up to 130 or 135 soon. "I'm bumping up for judo," he said.
Def. Tyler King (Kaiser), pin
What was expected to be a tight battle between Oshiro, the top seed, and No. 2 King turned into a quick win for the unbeaten junior.
Oshiro had beaten King at the officials tourney, but only 5-2. Still, that gave Oshiro the notion that King would come after him hard. Maybe too hard.
"He tried to throw me. I knew he was gonna come after me. I just kinda knew," he said. "I gave him a judo move. I had his arm in a weird position, then I got under him."
Just like that, the match was over and Oshiro became a state champion for the first time.
"I'm kinda dazed by it. I'm kinda relieved, too, about finishing the season," he said. "This tournament went really well for me. I wrestled my best that I have all year."
Def. Byron Apo (Kaiser) 5-2
Okano joined an exclusive club by capturing his third state championship. His previous crowns came at 119 in '06 and 125 last year.
"It hasn't hit me yet. I just know that you don't rest upon your past accomplishments," he said. "This is history, pretty much. All my teammates have been role models. Hopefully, somebody from Lahainaluna can beat (three titles)."
Okano, the top seed, had it tough against Apo, the OIA champion and No. 2 seed. They faced off in two preseason matches.
"He came out tough like he always does," Okano said.
He clung to a 3-1 lead before scoring a 2-pointer with 31 seconds left.
"I spun behind and it was open. I used a double-leg," Okano said.
Def. Chad Diamond (Mililani) 17-16
The wildest, oddest match of the tournament came in this final. Diamond, the unseeded Trojan, had No. 2 Higa down for much of the match. Diamond led 11-9 with 31 seconds left when the lead official stopped the action and lifted Diamond's hand in victory.
However, after a conference with his fellow official, the decision was reversed. The 3-minute delay did little to cool the action, however. Higa tied the match at 11 going into the third period.
Seconds into the third, another stoppage and questions about the actual score held the match up for 8 minutes. The score was finally adjusted to 12-11, in favor of Diamond.
Higa rallied and took a 17-14 lead after a wild skirmish in the final minute.
Def. Matthew Higa (Aiea), pin
The top seed pinned his foe at 1:13 to finish his season 23-0.
In all five meetings with Higa, Mathewson won, including pins in the last four. "I was expecting a battle, but my coaches were worried a little bit," the Searider senior said. "I knew I could beat him."
The win was especially sweet considering Waianae's hunger for champions. "They haven't had a state champ in a while on the girls side," Mathewson said.
Waianae's last champ was Chastity Molina, in 2003. The last Searider boys champ was Matt Landford in 1997.
Still, Mathewson took every precaution against Higa. "I went out there, tried to be relaxed. I caught him off-balance," he said. "I got the half, got him on his back."
Def. Daniel Quinlan (Lahainaluna) 9-5
The top-seeded Schaefer captured his first state crown with a hard-earned win over No. 2 Quinlan, the MIL champion.
It was a 4-all match until Schaefer got back-to-back 2-pointers in the final period.
"I just kept driving," Schaefer said. "Earlier in the season, I'd pick my shots, but I wouldn't drive. Coach (Matt) Oney said to keep driving. You gotta finish."
Schaefer hadn't wrestled Quinlan this season, but had some idea of what to expect.
"I did a little research. He was second at the Maui Invitational. I saw him here just a little bit," he said. "I couldn't take it easy. I shot with every opportunity I saw. Once you go easy, that's when you get taken advantage of."
Schaefer won all four of his matches by decision.
Def. Kameona Hokoana (Kamehameha) 11-3
Top-seeded Casco captured his second state title, matching his older brothers Kawika and Kainoa as two-time winners.
He faced a tough competitor in Hokoana, the No. 3 seed, but had an answer for every challenge. Hokoana got as close as 4-2 in the second period before Casco pulled away.
"It's relief, excitement, pride. (My family) told me, no matter what, they'll be proud of me," said Casco, who will play football at Penn this fall.
He relied on a double-leg move to keep Hokoana at bay. "I didn't wrestle Oahu guys before this," he said, referring to Lahainaluna's long football season. That cut into his preseason wrestling preparation.
"I felt pretty nervous coming into this tournament," he said.
Def. Cole Loewen (Lahainaluna) 13-4
Tynanes-Perez was, perhaps, the most dominant wrestler in any division this weekend. Though the MIL champion, Loewen, had won his tournament matches by pins every time, Tynanes-Perez was in total control.
"He's real good. He brought his 'A' game," he said of Loewen. "I had no game plan at all. I kinda heard he was a thrower, so I used a lot of takedowns."
Tynanes-Perez gained plenty of momentum with his quickness and explosion. "I wanted to tech him," he said.
It was a slightly unexpected final for Tynanes-Perez, who had been looking forward to a title showdown with good friend Kala'e Parish of Kapolei. Parish fell in an early round.
Def. Truman Chun (Kamehameha) 7-3
Santiago used his strength to withstand the explosive shots of Chun, the top seed.
Santiago, the No. 2 seed, became the second boys champion from Kealakehe. Alex Molina was the first.
His loss to Chun in the preseason officials tournament was a lesson learned well.
"I was training to deflect his shot and pin him back," the 6-2 senior said.
Extra training all season long was triggered by that loss to Chun.
"I did sprints in the morning, lift (weights) after practice to catch up to him," Santiago said. "It's my last year, so I'll take something."
Santiago, a two-time BIIF champion, placed third at states last year. He had only two losses this season.
Def. Matthew Sasaki (Punahou) 5-2
The battle between two underdogs -- both wrestlers were unseeded -- went to the Kamehameha senior. He was certainly happy after losing in the ILH tourney to Sasaki, who had emerged at states to help boost Punahou's team championship run.
Meletia even had fun with constant mispronouncing of his first name, which is pronounced 'Jay-min.'
"It's OK. I like 'Jammin'," he said.
It was 3-2 in Meletia's favor in the third period when he came up with two crucial points.
"He took a poor shot on me. We both were tired. I just capitalized on it, saw the arm open to come around," Meletia said.
Def. Scott Suapaia (Aiea) 3-2
Second-seeded Lauifi took a 3-0 lead and hung on for dear life against his OIA West rival.
With less than a minute left, Suapaia got away and scored two points to bring the deficit to just one. With 9 seconds left, Suapaia had one more chance to break out and almost did it. He was on his way out of bounds, but Lauifi pulled out a last-gasp trick.
"I saw him run left of the circle. I was scared he was gonna get out," Lauifi said. That would've tied the match and forced overtime.
"I got him by the side and tripped him. I just hoped he fell," Lauifi said.
Suapaia overcame a shoulder injury suffered early in the match, but couldn't get out of the grasp and weight of Lauifi. They spent most of the match on the mat, with Lauifi on top.