Waiakea boys win third straight wrestling title
Waiakea boys wrestling coach Stan Haraguchi said he wasn’t concerned about a team championship.
He did demand improvement from each individual on the team. If that occurred, he thought, the team title would take care of itself.
Haraguchi received the progress he wanted Saturday at Kealakehe, and much of it came in the form of individual crowns that carried the Warriors to their third consecutive Big Island Interscholastic Federation team title.
Kayed Rodrigues led the charge by winning his second straight title at 171 pounds. Conrad Parks (135), Keoni Rice (140) and Alan Ikehara (152) also claimed individual championships — all three were runners-up last year — while Zac Correa (114), Lemuel Spain (160) and Scott Santiago (189) placed second in their respective weight classes.
As a result, Waiakea racked up 159.5 points, finishing comfortably ahead of second-place Kamehameha-Hawaii (136). Honokaa placed third (131.5), Kealakehe took fourth (110) and Pahoa was fifth (97).
“It comes down to how much work they put in,” Haraguchi said. “They’re always looking to improve, and as you get older you get more experience.”
Rodrigues capped an undefeated league season in the final by pinning Kamehameha’s Pulama Louis. The junior said he cherished the second of his two BIIF individual titles more than his first.
“I’m a two-time BIIF champ, and it makes it that much sweeter,” he said.
Rodrigues said he expected another team crown because of the Warriors’ overall desire to get better.
Parks, who placed second at 125 last season, said seeing Rodrigues get a gold medal last year served as motivation to improve. On Saturday, he defeated Kealakehe’s Dan Gampon, the top seed at 135, 17-10 in the final.
“I don’t like losing, and I always wanted to win,” Parks said. “It made we want it a lot more seeing my teammates get gold medals (last year).”
Rice grinded through a 4-2 win over Kamehameha’s Troy Gibson while Ikehara rolled through his 152-pound bracket, beating Honokaa’s Austin Sprague 17-5 in the final. Several coaches tabbed Ikehara as one a title contender at the Hawaii High School Athletic Association state meet, which takes place March 1-2 at Oahu’s Neal Blaisdell Center.
“He’s great on his feet,” Haraguchi said. “It’s tough to have something like that. It’s a gift.”
Another legitimate state title contender, Konawaena senior Justin Raymond, won his third straight BIIF title by pinning Correa in the 114-pound final.
Raymond ran his record to 23-1 this year, and he nonchalantly called his league title “just one of my goals” because he’s intent on continuing his success at the state level. Last year, he placed third at 108 pounds. His only loss of this season came at the hands of Waialua’s Traylan Kobayashi, the 2012 108-pound runner-up.
Raymond spends much of his time in practice grappling with teammate Warren Buenavista, who won the 120-pound BIIF title with an 8-2 decision over Hilo’s Federico Vento.
“We go hard in the (wrestling) room every day, and we push each other,” Buenavista said.
Two other teams — Honokaa and Hawaii Prep — had multiple individual champions.
At 108 pounds, Ka Makani’s Zac Wigzell upset Kealakehe’s Chace Booth, the No. 1 seed with a 5-1 decision. Heavyweight Keenan Greenbaum, the No. 3 seed in his weight class, beat No. 2 seed Kamalani Arruda of Kealakehe 8-3 in the semifinals before pinning top-seeded Zephaniah Pavao of Keaau in the final. Greenbaum’s performance earned him Most Outstanding Wrestler honors.
Another No. 3 seed, Honokaa’s Kalani Krael, won the 145-pound title by pinning Pahoa’s Reed Hayashikawa. The Dragons’ Allen Chase pinned Spain to claim the crown at 152, and teammate Christian Silva pinned Kamehameha’s Kamalani Crum to win the 215-pound championship.