Akamine suffers 1 of many early upsets


POSTED: Sunday, February 22, 2009

Upsets were the order of the day in the girls bracket during yesterday's HHSAA/Chevron Wrestling State Championships at the Blaisdell Arena.

The shocker occurred in the 103-pound weight division, as Keiko Akamine, an 'Iolani senior trying for a third straight state title in the weight class, failed to get past the quarterfinals.

In Friday's opening-round action, Akamine easily defeated Farrington's Shayna-Marie Oliver and Aiea's Heaven Fines. But Akamine fell to Konawaena's Alexandria Aoki 6-3 in her quarterfinal match yesterday, and did not continue through the consolation bracket after going to the hospital for intravenous fluids.

According to 'Iolani coach Carl Schroers, Akamine suffered from the flu all week, and the effects led to her being dehydrated.

“;She just didn't have the energy - she did her best, but she's been sick and dehydrated”; said Schroers. “;It's from a flu bug, or something. It's heartbreaking.”;

Aoki ended up finishing second in the weight class to Kamehameha-Maui's Malia Medeiros.

Akamine was attempting to become the 24th prep wrestler in state-tournament history to win three state titles, and just the ninth girl to accomplish the feat, according to HHSAA records. The most recent grappler to accomplish the three-peat was Farrington's Tani Ader, who claimed state crowns in each year from 2006 to 2008.

“;I caught some kind of stomach virus because I was super dehydrated,”; said Akamine. “;But my team did super good, and my brother won, so I'm pretty happy. It's not the way I wanted it to end, but it's fine. Everyone we put in the finals took first, so I'm really proud of my school.”;

Only five wrestlers in Hawaii prep history have claimed titles in all four years of competition, two of which were girls: Caylene Valdez of Moanalua (2000-03) and Randolyn Nohara of Kamehameha (2004-07).

A pair of highly touted Punahou wrestlers also fell short of reaching the championship rounds of their respective weight classes.

Buffanblu sophomore Christina Chow, the defending state champion at 114 pounds, fell to Pearl City junior Kelly Ancheta, 5-4, in an overtime period.

“;I was so afraid, because (Chow) is so good at judo, and I was afraid of getting thrown, so I was so happy to beat her,”; said Ancheta, who went on to win the state crown by pinning Campbell's Kailin Curran with 45 seconds remaining in the opening round of the title match.

Chow went on to claim third place, defeating Kahuku's Kehau Kamakaala via pin with 14 seconds remaining in the third and final round.

“;After the match that I lost, I was really sad and dreary, but I started thinking about my team, and that's what pushed me through,”; said Chow, who while disappointed, was proud that she could bounce back to help her team in the overall points standings. “;During the (third-place match Kamakaala) got me on my back, and I was like 'Oh no.' But I just found it in myself to reach up, grab her head, and pull her over.”;

Chow's younger sister, Melinda, the defending Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion, also failed to claim gold in the 120-pound division. The freshman fell in the semifinal round to Aiea junior Joy Yamashita by way of a second-round pin.

“;I really wanted to win this championship, because last year I lost in (the quarterfinals), and I wasn't going to do that again,”; said Yamashita, who claimed the title by default after her opponent, Kalani's Megan Yamaguchi, could not continue after dislocating her elbow with 58 seconds remaining in the second round.

The younger Chow sibling also went on to claim third place in her division with a convincing victory coming by way of a third-round pin of Baldwin's Kayla Giannotto. Following her sister's lead, Melinda tried to put her disappointment behind her, and instead, focused on gathering valuable team points.

“;I tried to work around my disappointment, and come back to finish hard,”; said Melinda Chow. “;It makes me more motivated than if I had actually won, because next year, I'm not going to let anything stop me.”;



98 pounds

Taylor Ibera


Championship match

Def. Anrian Auna (Kahuku) by fall

The Farrington senior and defending state champ wasted no time defending her title, pinning Auna with 45 seconds remaining in the first round.

“;My plan was to not give her any chance to breathe,”; said Ibera. “;I wasn't going for the pin right away, but I just tried to take whatever opportunity was there.”;

Ibera, who was 3-0 against Auna this season, finished out her career with an overall record of 135-7. She is also a reigning state judo champ.

“;It's an indescribable feeling,”; Ibera said of taking home her second straight crown. “;When I was a freshman, I wanted to win four (championships), but two is good.”;



103 pounds

Malia Medeiros


Championship match

Def. Alexandria Aoki (Konawaena) 8-2

Medeiros rode Aoki to stay in control and claimed the title with an 8-2 decision after Aoki was unable to continue due to injury.

Medeiros, the No. 2 seed, was excited to follow in the footsteps of Caronne Rozet, who won the 108-pound division title last year for the Maui Warriors' first individual girls wrestling championship.

“;(Caronne) pushed me last year, she did it last year, so I felt I had to do it because this is my last year,”; said Medeiros, who was 24-1 overall this season.

Aoki, the second seed, had pinned her first two opponents and then upset two-time defending state champ Keiko Akamine of 'Iolani.



108 pounds

Macy Yonamine


Championship match

Def. Marisa Fukunaga (Roosevelt) 9-8

Yonamine was seemingly in control with a 6-2 lead going into the third period.

But the never-say-die Fukunaga fought back to draw within a point before Yonamine held her off.

Yonamine had lost to Fukunaga earlier this season, but she deftly used her shots to score and get around Fukunaga last night.

Yonamine pinned her first two opponents before upsetting top-seeded Kalae Johnson of Kahuku in the semis.

“;I feel really good,”; said Yonamine. “;Now I know all I did during the season was worth it.”;



114 pounds

Kelly Ancheta

Pearl City

Championship match

Def. Kailin Curran (Campbell) by fall

Curran had defeated Ancheta in their previous five meetings.

“;That was the first time all season I beat her,”; said Ancheta with tears of joy streaming down her face. “;All season, I lost to her.”;

Ancheta's title capped off a day in which she upset Punahou's Chrissy Chow, the defending state champion, in the semifinals.

“;She was riding a lot of momentum,”; said Pearl City coach Mike Lee. “;We just told her to do what she does best, be aggressive. She works unbelievably hard, and it couldn't have happened to a sweeter girl.”;



120 pounds

Joy Yamashita


Championship match

Def. Megan Yamaguchi (Kalani) by default

Yamashita was on her way to pinning top-seeded Megan Yamaguchi of Kalani when the Falcon dislocated her elbow, forcing a stoppage.

“;She took a shot on me, and I pushed her back. When she sprawled, she posted (and with all the weight on her arm), it dislocated,”; Yamashita said of her opponent's injury.

“;Unfortunately, it didn't end how I really wanted it to be,”; said Yamashita, who was in control of the match for the duration. “;It makes me push harder because I have to defend it now. I really want to get the two-time (distinction).”;



125 pounds

Reiko Campos


Championship match

Def. Amber DeMello (Aiea) by fall

Campos, the No. 2 seed, used a half-nelson to pin DeMello with 5 seconds remaining in the first period.

“;I had to work it, get to the bottom,”; Campos said. “;I felt like I had an advantage there.”;

Despite her win, Campos was impressed with DeMello.

“;I had no idea what she was gonna do,”; Campos said. “;She's strong.”;

Campos, the ILH champ, from Kamehameha, was undefeated this season at 125 pounds.

“;This year, she had maturity and confidence,”; said Kamehameha coach Brandon Shimabukuro. “;She already had everything else.”;



130 pounds

Robyn Teruya


Championship match

Def. Risha Mishima (Hawaii Baptist) 3-1

Teruya, who finished sixth in last year's state championships, fought off Hawaii Baptist's Risha Mishima, the defending state champ, in a rugged match.

Teruya fought off Mishima's shots and fought hard to stay on top throughout the match.

The second-seeded Rough Rider put aside her memory of a loss to Mishima earlier this season - “;She killed me,”; said Teruya - and followed her game plan.

“;Just don't let up,”; she said of her strategy. “;Stay aggressive, watch out for her sweeps.

“;It feels wonderful to go out with this win as a senior,”; said a jubilant and emotional Teruya following the match.



140 pounds

Jenny Ojerio


Championship match

Def. Teenaysha Yadao (Hilo) 19-5

The Buffanblu senior delivered a dominating 19-5 majority decision in a clash of two competitors who like to finish off their foes early, nearly pinning Hilo's Teenaysha Yadao numerous times.

The top-seeded Ojerio, the ILH champ, had pinned her opponents in the quarterfinals and semis.

“;(Jenny is) a good leader for all our girls,”; said Punahou assistant coach Jimmy Takatsuka. “;We have a lot of young wrestlers on this year's team, and her just setting the example with the way she practices and performs and plays almost a 'big sister' role, is really big for our team.”;



155 pounds

Ilima-Lei Macfarlane


Championship match

Def. Ahnjahlee Akuna (Hana) by fall

Macfarlane pinned Akuna with 46 seconds remaining in the first period.

The Buffanblu senior had defeated Akuna twice already this season and pinned both her quarterfinal and semifinal opponents. But she admitted to feeling a little pressure after witnessing a number of her highly seeded younger teammates and defending state champ Keiko Akamine fall in upset losses earlier in the day.

“;My coaches told me, 'Don't underestimate anyone,' and to just go out and bang heads, leave it out on the mat,”; said Macfarlane. “;And that's what I did.”;



175 pounds

Leya-Justina Luafalemana


Championship match

Def. Gina Bella Mataafa (Lahainaluna) 11-8

The Molokai senior, who lost in last year's championship match, wasn't about to let the individual title slip through her hands again this year.

“;I just had to keep going, reach my peak, and I did,”; said Luafalemana, after becoming the first female wrestler in Molokai history to claim state gold. “;I'm so proud, I made history today.”;

The top seed clinched the match with a three-point takedown in the final seconds to win a 11-8 decision over Gina Bella Mataafa of Lahainaluna, setting off cheers from the Farmer faithful.



220 pounds

Olivia Fatongia


Championship match

Def. Pomai Barton (Kealakehe) by pin

The defending state champ nearly pinned Kealakehe's Pomai Barton twice in the first round, the first near-fall only averted when the officials momentarily halted the match when Barton suffered a bloodied nose.

The Raiders senior then finished the job, pinning Barton with 1:46 remaining in the second period.

“;It was unfortunate that I couldn't pin her in the first round,”; said Fatongia after capping her senior campaign with a second consecutive state title. “;It feels great. I thought winning the first one was great, but this one was extraordinary.”;