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KIF wrestling ‘looking bright’ following states

LA‘IE, O‘ahu — Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation wrestlers held their own during the 2023 Texaco Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association Wrestling Championships that wrapped up Saturday at Cannon Activities Center at Brigham Young University-Hawai‘i.

On the girls’ mats, Kaua‘i High School girls team finished in 21st place with 25 team points, followed by Kapa‘a High School girls collecting 11 team points for 30th place. The Waimea High School girls finished in 41st place with a team point collected by Skyelynn Ripley, who finished with a win and two losses in the 145-pound weight class.

On the boys’ mats, Kaua‘i High School boys finished in 42nd place with one team point that was collected by Thomas Ramos, who finished 1-2 for the point in the 106-pound class.

The Waimea High School boys finished in a tie for 42nd place with the Red Raiders with one team point that was awarded to De’Andrea Gonzales, who finished 1-2 in the 120 Pound class.

Kapa‘a High School boys finished in 44th place with no team points.

“First year coaching wrestling at the state tournament was an amazing experience,” said Kaua‘i High School coach Julian Saldana. “Being exposed to that environment, I realized the places that I need to develop as a coach. As a whole, the results do not reflect the growth that the island of Kaua‘i has gone through in the sport of wrestling.”

Individually, Kaua‘i High School’s Ambrie Rocha led the Red Raider ladies’ team scoring, after finishing 3-2 in the 107-pound class for fourth place that earned the team 15 team points.

Kapa‘a High School’s Casey Bernabe, the sole KIF athlete to be seeded in the state tournament, finished with a 3-3 record and sixth place in the 112-pound class for 11 team points.

“Casey Bernabe is the first KIF girl to place twice,” said KIF Tournament Director Coach Mac Pigott. “She was fourth in 2022, and sixth in 2023 because she was injured during the matches and forfeited her final match. She has one more year of eligibility.”

Saldana said the KIF highlights include Ambrie Rocha earning fourth place at 107 pounds, and Bernabe taking sixth at 112 pounds.

“Both athletes exhibited a superb level of effort,” the Kaua‘i High School coach said. “Other notable performances were Thomas Ramos going 1-2, and Hailee Racca going 2-2. Overall, a great year.”

Individually, Kaua‘i High School’s Racca finished 2-2 at 168 pounds for seven team points, and Bella Kellerman finished 1-2 at 127 pounds for three team points.

“As a staff, we are going to miss all of the time spent with this amazing group of student athletes,” Saldana said. “The future of wrestling is looking bright on Kaua‘i.”
Source: The Garden Island

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