By MATT GERHART
BIIF boys champion Waiakea will have a second chance to “sneak” up on the competition at the HHSAA wrestling championships, which get a rare midweek placement, Wednesday and Thursday, at Blaisdell Center in Honolulu.
None of the Warriors’ four title-holders at states are seeded above the No. 3 line.
Timmy Nakamoto (106 pounds), Caleb Shimaoka (120), Wayland Spain (126), and PJ Matsuura (170), Isaac Pavao (182) pocketed BIIF championships Feb. 3 as Waiakea dethroned Kealakehe at its gym.
“They were a sneaky one,” Kealakehe coach Ivan Luis told West Hawaii Today. “(Waiakea) did a hell of a job.”
Spain, who repeated, and Matsuura are third seeds, while Pavao isn’t listed in the bracket ahead of Wednesday’s preliminary round. Shimaoka and Nakamoto are seeded fourth.
The HHSAA couldn’t get Blaisdell for its usual weekend run, but Thursday’s final will be broadcast on Spectrum Xcast beginning at 3:30 p.m.
If the seeds hold, no Big Island boys are expected to get that far, but on the girls side Konawaena’s Kapoina Bailey and Kealakehe’s Roxie Umu enter as top seeds.
Bailey (168), the runner-up to Keaau’s Ivory Ayers last season as a sophomore at states, could be tested by Pearl City’s Jennie Fuamatu. A three-time OIA champion, Fuamatu is the defending champion at 184.
Umu, three-time BIIF champion, looks to poised to fill the void left after Fuamatu moved down in class. Umu, who dropped down in weight herself after finishing third at 225 in 2017 at states, is undefeated this season.
Another three-time BIIF champion is Kealakehe’s Kobby Faedonea, who defeated Waiakea’s Brayden Spain 11-5 at 113 at the league championships.
“(Spain) came out to wrestle and (Kobby) had to work hard to get the win,” Louis said. “He was able to get into a rhythm. Kobby is a quiet kid. He is a silent but deadly wrestler. He takes good shots and stays balanced. If he finds himself in a bad position, he finds a way out. He has a great attitude.”
Kealakehe matched Waiakea with five champions, including Malosi Abraham, who pinned Waiakea’s Alejandro Blanco at 195 to win a second title.
“I expect him to do well at states as long as he keeps his head on straight and listens to direction,” Louis said.
The Kamehameha girls are sending six BIIF champions to Oahu.
The other BIIF champions set to take the mat at states are:
• Elijah Apao, Hilo (132)
• Kamalu Anahu, Kamehameha (138)
• Kelii Pelekane, Kealakehe (145)
• Dominic Delacruz, Konawaena’s (152)
• Kason Milarie, Hilo (160)
• Anthony Gopaul, Kealakehe (220)
• Setu Vole, Kealakehe (285)
• Liliana Campbell, Hilo (97)
• Tayla Lee, Hilo (102)
• Ashley Falces, Kamehameha (107)
• Pualani Loui, Kealakehe (112)
• Kiki Motta, Kamehameha (117)
• Kuuipo Chan, Kamehameha (122)
• Kanani Chan, Kamehameha (127)
• Tehya Caceres, Kamehameha (132)
• Waihula Kahookaulana, Keaau (138)
• Chynesty Acia, Keaau (145)
•Leiohu Tong, Kamehameha (155)
• Myra Liufau, Kealakehe (225)
West Hawaii Today’s Rick Winters contributed to this report