Tales from the mat
The finals of the Chevron/HHSAA Wrestling State Championships on Saturday provided some pristine moments. There were also some cerebral thoughts from champions, and at least one shocking experience for a would-be champ.
» Keiko Akamine, Iolani, 103-pound girls champion, on her match with unseeded Macy Yonamine of Kamehameha: "I had a hard time getting my shots against her. She has really good balance."
Akamine now has back-to-back titles at 103, and could make it three in the same weight class as a senior.
"I haven't grown since fifth grade," Akamine said.
Risha Mishima, Hawaii Baptist
"I changed my defense," said the 130 girls champion -- pictured beating Anela Santiago, right, of Kahuku in the final -- of some technique work she did after the ILH tourney. "My coaches (Kelli Furutomo and Ryan Oshita) both told me my stance was way too open. I had to fix it."
» Travis Okano
, Lahainaluna 130 boys champion: "I've stayed with the basics. I didn't add anything, just kept to the basics," he said.
Okano joined an elite club of three-time state champs. As a sophomore, he won the 119 title; then he captured the 125 crown as a junior.
» Chad Diamond, Mililani runner-up in the boys 135 division: Diamond thought he had a lead in a wild battle with Waiakea's Ryan Higa. The Waiakea wrestler emerged with a 17-14 lead in the final minute, but Diamond was confused and thought he had the lead.
He wound up losing, and was incredulous about the finish.
"I thought I had 17. That's why I didn't do anything in the last 10 seconds," he said. "I thought I won."
Lake Casco, Lahainaluna
The 160 boys champion, pictured picking up Kamehameha's Kameona Hokoana in Saturday's final, joined brothers Kawika and Kainoa Casco as two-time champions. Even when Lake had a 7-2 lead down the stretch, he kept shooting for points.
"Coach said to have fun and get one more takedown. He said that's what Kawika would do," Casco said.
Though he is on par with his brothers on paper, Casco likes to think that he wound up a step ahead.
"When they were sophomores, they took fourth in state," he said. "When I was a sophomore, I took third."
» Lowen Tynanes-Perez
, Kailua, 171 boys champion: His perfect senior year could be a launching pad to a collegiate career. He plans to attend a junior college, but if that doesn't pan out, he may follow in the footsteps of his father, who is an ultimate fighter.
» Jamin Meletia, Kamehameha, 215 boys champion: Meletia was upset in the ILH tournament by his eventual state-final foe, Matthew Sasaki.
"That woke me up to see that championships are earned. It's not about thinking you have to do something," he said.
"It's about desire."