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Menehune to host KIF-sanctioned tourney today

LIHUE The Kauai Interscholastic Federation wrestling regular season is short, and many of the KIF competitors in their respective weight classes will face each other several times before the KIF state qualifying Championships Feb 8.

The KIF wrestling pool is small, and according to Kapaa Warriors’ wrestling coach Jess Jensen, wrestlers are forced to adapt to competitors they will face multiple times before the conclusion of the season.

Last week, the KIF opened the regular season in Kapaa, and the wrestlers will get an opportunity to again face each other in the second tournament of the season at 10 a.m. today at Waimea High School.

The first tournament of the season brought out several winners in both the boys’ and girls’ division, whose early success could be indicative of state wrestling tournament qualifications.

The participants in the boys’ division include Kylen Aana (126 pounds, Waimea), Mason Stoll-Tolentino (132 pounds, Kauai High), Kris Ragudo (138 pounds, Kauai High), Lester Garcia (147 pounds, Kapaa High), Kauila Kaneapua (182 pounds, Waimea High).

The girls’ winners were Ashlyn Agena (114 pounds, Waimea High), Meah Jensen (127 pounds, Kapaa High), Meleana Rita, (138 pounds, Kauai High), Tessa Jensen (155 pounds, Kapaa), and Kayana Niheu-Kamaka (184 pounds, Waimea High).

“Wrestlers that maybe didn’t win in Kapaa got valuable experience,” Jensen said. “It was good for them. They will continue to work hard, practice hard and position themselves to have better tournaments in the future.”

Waimea High School wrestling coach C.J. Threat said in the first tournament of the season there is usually an acclimation process for the wrestlers.

“Every week in the KIF is a new challenge,” Threat said. “You have to keep getting better every week and adapt to prepare for the KIF championships. You have to challenge yourself and train harder, and it’s always entertaining to see the progression. I am happy with my kids’ progress. They keep me on my toes, and they are always entertaining and smiling.”

KIF wrestling organizer Mac Pigott said making the adaptions during the season is critical.

“The first tournament of wrestling left many wrestlers hungry for next week,” Pigott said during a post-tournament interview in Kapaa. “Most wrestlers will be looking for redemption, and the ones that won will be maintaining their status as a winner.”

Studying success

After last week’s tournament, wrestlers got a chance to learn from world-class wrestler Sammy Jones.

Jones, who is ranked third on Team USA’s Greco-Roman National team in the 139-pound division, hosted a clinic for wrestlers in last week’s Kapaa tournament. To have a 2020 Olympic hopeful hosting a clinic for the KIF wrestlers was a great experience, Pigott said.

“It was a great learning experience for our kids to be close-up with a world-class wrestler, and then get to learn some of the techniques,” Pigott said. “I’ve been wrestling for 52 years, and with wrestling philosophies, I’ve been learning it, advancing it and developing it.”

Weigh-ins start at 8 a.m. today.
Source: The Garden Island

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