KEAAU — It was Kealakehe’s day at the BIIF wrestling championships, where the Waveriders swept the team titles and watched two individuals, Kobby Faeldonea and Roxie Umu, pick up their fourth crowns.
There was suspense until the early evening at the Cougars gym, where it was a close race between the girls. But in the end, the Waveriders captured their fourth straight BIIF title, despite placing just three individual champions.
Kealakehe scored 154 points, Hilo finished second at 144.5, and Kamehameha took third with 141 points, ensuring a sweep for the first time since 2017.
Relying on their big boys to pick up points, the Waverider boys finished in first by a comfortable margin with 183 points. Defending champion Waiakea was second with 151, and Hilo third at 128.
Faeldonea captured the 120-pound title while Umu pocketed the 184 crown. Pua Louis took the 117 title, and Kira Spencer won the 155 crown. Anthony Gopaul defended his 195 title, Malosi Abraham won his third crown at a different weight class at 220, and Setu Vole defended his heavyweight title.
“We had to keep everybody focused and healthy,” Kealakehe coach Ivan Louis said. “We had a little turmoil this year, but we had to work through it. We don’t have a team. We have a family because families work things out.
“Without our parents and school support, we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish our goals. We’re truly appreciative. With 14 for the boys, we knew we’d be in the mix. But I didn’t know about the girls with the injuries. But we stayed and fought through it to give yourselves an opportunity.”
Hilo’s Lilliana Campbell defended her 97 championship. Konawaena’s Kapoina Bailey won her second title at 168. Kamehameha’s Ashley Falces won her third title at 107.
Bailey and Umu are defending state champions. They’ll be joined at states by a deeper BIIF field. The league will have four state spots, instead of the usual three, getting one from the ILH.
After Bailey got a pin at 1:31, she had difficulty putting her win into words, but at least she knew what’s in store at states.
“My mind is going all over the place right now,” she said. “But I’m happy. I know at states everyone is seeking the same state title. I can’t take anyone for granted.”
Umu also made fast work over her foe to lock down a pin at 1:05. She relied on her power and technique for a takedown, shoulder turn and quick pin to earn her fourth BIIF title.
“It’s very rewarding,” she said. “I just worked and listened to my coaches.”
The other Viking champions were Taylia Lee (102), Kitana Lowery (138), Tia Leao (145), Leona Toledo (225).
Besides Falces, Kamehameha’s other gold medalists were Kiki Motto (112), Theya Caceres (122), Kuuipo Chan (127), and Kanani Chan (132).
For the boys, Waiakea had five gold winners in Aiden Shikuma took (106, Brayden Spain (113), Caleb Shimaoka (126), who took his second title, Waylon Spain (132), who earned his third, and Dean Miura (170).
Hilo’s Elijah Apao (138) and Hana Kahookaulana (152), and Kamehameha’s Kamalu Anahu (145) and
Thaze Gomes (182), and Keaau’s Emelio Acia (160) earned their first gold.
The long day sprinted by. It was already dark outside of the gym while the Waveriders celebrated. But Louis was in a mood to walk back in time.
“Roxie and Kobby started at the same time together as freshmen,” he said. “They’re connected at the hip. When Kobby came, he was barely making 90 pounds. Now, we’ve got him at 120. Roxie was 230 and now she’s 184. They’re both healthy looking kids.
“There’s no such thing as I can’t do this. It’s really good for our program for others to be able to see what they can accomplish.”