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Upsets by Oshiro brothers lead surprising Spartans


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POSTED: Saturday, February 21, 2009

It would be easy to overlook the Maryknoll Spartans, who come from a small school without a gym to call their own.

There's no ignoring what three Spartans did yesterday in the opening rounds of the Chevron/HHSAA State Wrestling Championships.

While the girls brackets were without major upsets, surprises abounded in the boys tourney. Brothers Brandon and Cassidy Oshiro—both unseeded—pulled off upset wins to reach today's semifinal round. A third Spartan, Sean Tachibana, entered the weekend seeded No. 2 at 120 pounds and won both his matches to reach the semifinals.

Brandon Oshiro, wrestling in the heavily stacked 125-pound weight class, overwhelmed Isaac Johnson of Castle 18-3 before stunning Bill Takeuchi of Pearl City 7-5 in a comeback victory. Oshiro then downed Tyson Kam of Kaiser 11-2 in a quarterfinal. He will face Shayden Terukina of Kamehameha today in the semifinals.

Brandon, a senior, hadn't beaten Takeuchi, a nemesis of sorts, since his freshman year. Down 4-1, he tied the match on a takedown with 20 seconds left.

“;We stuck to the game plan,”; Oshiro said. “;Stay in a good stance and watch for the ankle picks and low singles (shots). I had to be offensive instead of defensive.”;

A simple shot, and finishing it, gave Oshiro the lead and the win.

“;Coach and I practiced that all the time,”; he said.

It was a heart-breaking defeat for Takeuchi, who was last year's 119-pound state champion and the No. 2 seed this year at 125.

The younger Oshiro, Cassidy, also trailed 4-1 in his key match against Christian Ornong of King Kekaulike. Cassidy rallied to force overtime and win 9-7.

“;I just knew I had to keep shooting and stop his offense,”; he said.

Once he got to overtime, instincts took over.

“;He shot on me and I defended him, and I got around,”; Cassidy said. “;I'm feeling good now.”;

Cassidy, a freshman, emerged as one of the youngest athletes to reach the semifinal round. Facing Ornong was a major challenge. He beat Ornong in the quarterfinals of the Maui Officials tournament, then lost to him in a third-place match.

“;His nickname is 'Buzzsaw,'”; Pac-FIve co-coach Aaron Sekulich said. “;He keeps pushing people to the very end.”;

At 120 pounds, Tachibana toppled Shan Tam of Roosevelt 10-6 and Ryan Tampon of Waiakea 15-3. Tachibana will take on No. 1 seed Michael Nakagawa of Kaiser this morning.

At 108, Cassidy Oshiro will battle No. 1 seed Jason Spiker of Kaiser. Spiker pinned his two foes yesterday.

Maryknoll, like other Pac-Five schools, competes as an individual team after the ILH season. The Spartans' support base, though, is always the orange and black of Pac-Five wrestling.

“;This is a great year for Pac-Five,”; Punahou coach Matt Oney said. “;It's too bad they can't compete as a team. I wish they could. I'd love to see that. Today, they had a great round, plus the consolation kids they've got. They come from all different schools, 15 or 16 of them. I give their coaches a ton of credit.”;

Sekulich and co-coach John Schmidtke took over the Wolfpack program in 2001 and have cultivated a culture of hard work and fun. That's a major reason why Brandon Oshiro stuck it out despite missing the hydration weight (119) in preseason.

“;I had to train harder on conditioning, speed, endurance. Practice more after (regular) practice, weight training, run sprints,”; he said.

Brandon Oshiro will face the third-seeded Terukina, the 112-pound state champion last year.

Though 125 is more of a natural weight for him, Brandon still restricted his diet.

“;No junk food. It makes the system junk,”; he said.

Snacking on watermelons and Korean pears works fine, but once the tournament ends today, Brandon has a new game plan.

“;Sushi. I love sushi,”; he said.

Other upsets yesterday included David Terao's win over third-seeded Logan Bucsit of Farrington in the 114 class. Terao will face Jordan Ng of Punahou in the semis.

At 189, Alan Brown of Kahuku, another unseeded entrant, knocked out No. 2 seed Imihana Ampong of Lahainaluna by pin (3:10) and outlasted Darren Kalulu-Sugai of Saint Louis to reach the semifinal round. Brown will meet No. 1 Tyson Tynanes-Perez of Campbell.

Unseeded Beau Yap of Kamehameha was another relative surprise at 215. Yap pinned Baldric Sellet of Kaimuki (0:24) and edged John Lotuleilei of Baldwin 5-4 before routing Lorenmiles Galo of Farrington 15-2. Yap will face Douglas Paahao of Kaiser in the semifinals.

Kahuku rallied late to take a small lead over Punahou in the girls team standings. Kahuku has 70 points, followed by Punahou (68), Aiea (45), 'Iolani (41.5) and Pearl City (40.5).

Campbell (36), Farrington (31), Kamehameha-Hawaii (30), Kamehameha (30) and Castle (29) round out the Top 10.