Farrington graduate Ader a national wrestling champ


POSTED: Friday, February 06, 2009

Tani Ader made the journey north to chase history.

The 2008 Farrington graduate decided to be a part of the first women's wrestling team at Jamestown College in North Dakota this year.

Braving temperatures that hover below zero during the winter, Ader was motivated to become the school's first national champion.

That dream came true last weekend when she claimed the 130-pound title at the Women's College Wrestling Association national championships in Missouri.

“;To win that national championship was unbelievable,”; Ader said. “;It was a dream come true. I had lots of ups and downs this year.”;

A three-time state champion in high school, Ader began the season wrestling at 121 pounds. Before the second-to-last meet of the season, coach Cisco Cole had her move up to 130.

“;He said I would perform better at 130,”; Ader said. “;At first I was hesitant to move up a division, but it worked for the better.”;

Because she wrestled at 121 most of the season, Ader didn't expect to be seeded in the national championship meet. To her surprise, she was seeded fourth, but was on the same side of the bracket as the top seed.

It wasn't a problem. Ader became the school's first national champion, beating Missouri Valley's Jenny Germany in the final. Her performance helped Jamestown place fourth overall, the highest finish among the three schools competing in women's wrestling for the first time.

“;It's an honor to be a part of the first women's wrestling program here,”; Ader said. “;I'm just really excited to show people that girls do wrestle.”;

Ader is one of five local girls on the 20-woman Jamestown roster, and all are freshmen.

In last week's tournament, Raquel Paaluhi (Waianae '08) finished fourth at 147.5 pounds, Piikea Kalalau (Baldwin '08) placed fifth in the same division and Chaelyn Tan (Kapolei '08) was sixth at 130 to all earn All-America status.

The only local girl not to compete was Kuuipo Badayos (Mililani '08), but all have been instrumental in each other's success in college.

All five of us wanted to wrestle in college and we all wanted to go to the same school,”; Ader said. “;We all talked about Jamestown and we all agreed wrestling together would be really fun.”;

A typical day for Ader involves waking up at 7 for an hour workout. After a day of classes, she'd head back to the gym to work out for 30 minutes before a 2-hour practice from 6 to 8. If she felt she needed it, she'd stay after for another hour-long workout before heading back to the dorms to study.

Generally, she'd get about 7 hours of sleep a night, leaving no time to do much else.

“;It sounds tough, but I've gotten used to it,”; Ader said. “;The hard part is doing it in such cold weather.”;

Temperatures have dropped below zero this winter, and for five girls from Hawaii, wearing layers upon layers of clothes around campus isn't fun.

Showering after practice is even worse.

“;It's so cold, our hair would literally freeze when we'd get out of the shower,”; Ader said.

Ader and her Hawaii teammates are taking a month off after a long season, but they all wrestle for a club team that competes in the summer, so it won't be long before they all are back to cutting weight.

If Ader stays competing at 130, it won't be quite the battle it is trying to drop to 121 like she was doing at the beginning of the season.

“;It's definitely easier,”; Ader said. “;Originally I was sucking so much weight. Now I feel comfortable and not as weak going into tournaments.”;

Until then, Ader will enjoy a nice break from the sport, although at a small school in the middle of North Dakota in frigid temperatures, there isn't much to do.

“;Yeah, I don't know what exactly we're going to do,”; Ader said. “;It feels awkward not going to practice, but it's a good break. We definitely need it.”;