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Punahou outclasses field to claim boys, girls team titles


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POSTED: Sunday, February 15, 2009

Punahou delivered a dominant performance at the Interscholastic League of Honolulu wrestling championships yesterday.

The Buffanblu boys won individual titles in 11 weight classes and amassed 267 points to easily defend their ILH team title at Hemmeter Fieldhouse. Kamehameha took two individual titles and finished a distant second with 184.5 points. Pac-Five tallied 92 points to finish third.

The Punahou girls posted 178 points—winning six gold medals in the 11 contested weight divisions—to capture their own team title, followed by 'Iolani (133 points) and Pac-Five (107).

“;The kids did a good job today,”; said Punahou coach Matt Oney, noting that his wrestlers had acquitted themselves well for state championship tournament bracket seedings. “;We did what we needed to do to put ourselves in a position for (the state tournament).”;

In the day's championship round, the Buffanblu's Jordan Ng pulled off a late reversal to score a dramatic 4-3 decision over Truong Vu of 'Iolani in the 114-pound division, and teammate Reid Oshiro, the defending ILH and state champion at 125 pounds, fought off a determined Shayden Terukina of Kamehameha in a taut match that went down to the wire.

Terukina, the defending state champ at 112 pounds, managed an escape to tie the match late at 1-1 before Oshiro toughed out a 5-2 win.

“;I knew that (Shayden) would fight all the way,”; Oshiro said. “;I just kept my energy high. I knew I had to finish strong.”;

“;When you're banging heads with a kid of that quality, anything can happen,”; Oney said. “;Reid did a great job of finishing the match well, which he had to do.”;

Bryant Fukushima (108 pounds), Andrew Hirai (120), Maika Nagata (130), Galen McCleary (140), Evan Johnson (152), Patrick Sheehan (171), Passi Iafeta (189), Kolu Buck (215) and Sani Fuimaono (285) also captured individual championships for Punahou.

Sheehan and Buck were aggressive from the get-go and scored pins and the six points that went with the wins by fall. Sheehan defeated Bryce Nakamoto of Saint Louis, and Buck pinned Damien's Marcus Finau.

Meanwhile, the Punahou girls turned the meet into a pin party.

The Buffanblu's Nicole Taniguchi pinned Meghan Chun of St. Andrew's Priory to win the 98-pound division. Teammates Mindy Chow (120 pounds), Jenny Ojerio (140), Ilima-Lei McFarlane (155) and Kaimana Lundquist (175) also racked up team points by fall.

Ojerio pinned all three of her opponents en route to claiming her second straight ILH individual title and racking up 20 big points.

“;We know that the state tournament is going to come down to the most pin points, so we've been working hard at that the last several weeks, getting (our wrestlers) to be accustomed to be on top,”; said Oney.

Chrissy Chow, who won ILH and state championships as a freshman last year, defended her title at 114 pounds with a controlled win over 'Iolani's Kari Watase.

Chow's sister Mindy, a freshman, followed with a quick pin of the Raiders' Rebecca Kagami to take the 120-pound title.

“;Since last year, everyone's been telling me, 'Oh, you're next,' so it's kinda of lot of pressure,”; said Mindy Chow, referring to her sister and older brother Daniel, a three-time state champion now at Boston University. “;I just want to help the team and carry on the family (tradition).'

Hawaii Baptist's Risha Mishima, competing for Pac-Five, and 'Iolani's Keiko Akamine and Olivia Fatongia also defended their individual league titles.

Mishima, the defending state champ at 130 pounds, won her division, as did Akamine (103 pounds) by her opponent's forfeit due to injury, and Fatongia (220), who scored a decisive win over Kamehameha's Miyamoto Wilson.

Akamine will shoot for her third individual state championship while Fatongia is aiming to defend her title.

“;It's a little nerve-racking, but I think if I work hard, I can win that second state championship,”; Fatongia said.

The top four finishers in each weight class qualified for the Chevron/HHSAA Wrestling State Championships on Friday and Saturday at Blaisdell Arena.