Posted: March 3, 2012 - 4:11pm
Aiea girls, Punahou boys claim state wrestling titles
Girls 175-pound championship match between Aiea's Darcie Manning-O'Brien and Roosevelt's Brianna Jeffries. Video: Melissa Ing
Video: Braydon Akeo vs. Treylan Kobayashi - Boys 108 pounds
Video: Bree Rapoza vs. Lindsay Villarmia - Girls 120 pounds
Video: Joshua Terao vs. Bryant Fukushima - Boys 125 pounds
Video: Shannon Pa'aaina vs. Keani Sebala - Girls 125 pounds
Video: Mindy Chow vs. Brianne Jhun - Girls 130 pounds
Video: Austin Bloch vs. Tyson Kuahine - Boys 140 pounds
Video: Blake Cooper vs. Derek Lee-Loy - Boys 145 pounds
Video: Laurent Remillard vs. Spencer Kiehm - Boys 160 pounds
Video: Chaeden Grace Reyes vs. Ikea Ikehara - Boys 171 pounds
Video: Zachary Hernandez vs. Totauhelotu Lotulelei - Boys 189 pounds
When the going got tough, Darcie Manning O'Brien got tougher.
The 'Aiea senior successfully defended her individual state crown at Saturday's Chevron/Hawaii High School Athletic Association Wrestling State Championships at Neal S. Blaisdell Arena and, in doing so, clinched the first team state title for Na Ali'i in school history.
On the backs of three state titlists, 'Aiea scored a total of 121 points to beat out runner-up Punahou, who had 116 1/2 points. Pearl City was third with 97 points, Lahainaluna fourth with 94 and Mililani fifth with 88.
"I feel overjoyed right now, I'm just so happy for our team," said Manning O'Brien, who pinned Roosevelt's Brianna Jeffries late in the second period of their 175-pound finals match. She avenged a loss to Jeffries in the title match of the O'ahu Interscholastic Association Individual Championships a week ago.
"I'm not really a revenge person. I thought that she just wanted it more than me that day and I just had to push through that because I really wanted to repeat," said Manning O'Brien, who pinned all four of her opponents in the tournament.
Had Manning O'Brien lost, Punahou would have overtook 'Aiea for the team title.
"They didn't tell me that until afterwards," said Manning O'Brien. "I kind of figured that it would be close, because we were close before the finals matches, but thankfully we pulled through."
Two of her teammates also found themselves atop the medal stand at the end of the two-day tournament: Unseeded Candice Segi won at 103 pounds and top-seeded Samantha Higa won her second straight title at 114.
Segi, who upset top-seeded Megan Aina, of Kamehameha-Hawaii, in the semifinal round, pinned Roosevelt's Angela Enos, three minutes and 38 seconds into their 103-pound final.
"It was hard because I lost to her earlier this season, but when I found out that I was challenging her, it made me think how hard I trained for her and how much I wanted it," Segi said of Aina.
Higa was dominant in her final, besting Pearl City's Xandria Ford by a score of 7-1.
"It feels awesome (to win the team title), knowing that I was one of the people to help us take it," Higa said. "Repeating (at 114) was what was most important, because I knew that if I did my job, everything else would take care of itself."
Na Alii, who began the finals round 1 1/2 points ahead of the Buffanblu, also got a runner-up finish from Lindsay Villarmia at 120 pounds and a sixth-place finish by 130-pounder Kari Okubo.
"It's amazing because if you see our banner in our gym, it's from the 1880's," Segi said of 'Aiea's OIA divisional and league titles. "All of our seniors really wanted it, so we all had to do good and support each other."
Higa said it was nerve-racking to watch Manning O'Brien's title match.
"My heart was coming out of my chest," she said. "I was so nervous, but I knew that she was going to bring it back for us and that we would win. I always believed in Darcie."
Meanwhile, Punahou's Mindy Chow won her third individual state crown. She pinned Brianne Jhun, of Moanalua, 3:57 into their 130-pound final. The senior previously won as a sophomore at 120 and at 130 last season.
"It's not the same as the first two," Chow said. "This one was more for the team and I was more just focused on having fun than everything else."
Chow's teammate on the Buffanblu boys' team, Todd Murakawa, matched her feat, capturing his third state title in as many years, helping Punahou to its sixth consecutive team championship.
The Buffanblu ran away with it, bettering runner-up Mililani by 93 points. The Trojans accumulated 132 points, Kamehameha and Lahainaluna tied for third with 126 1/2 and Campbell fifth with 80.
"It feels great, there was a lot of hard work that was put in and it all paid off in the end," Murakawa said. "I look at each year as a journey and each journey is different."
Maryknoll's Cassidy Oshiro also won his third title, topping Mililani's Isaac Diamond, 17-7, in their 114-pound final.
"The best way to put it, is that it's like going to work," Oshiro said. "That's what my mentality is: Do your job, get it done on the mat, wrestle your game and get off the mat."
Two other Punahou boys won their second straight state title: Bryan Peralta at 152 pounds and Zachary Hernandez at 189.
"I tried to stay really focused on my one goal: to win a state championship," said Hernandez, who according to Buffanblu head coach Matt Oney, has not lost a match in two years, won each of his bouts by pin and did not allow a single point by opponents. "Our team really meshed at the end of the season, we peaked at the right time and came together when we knew what had to be done."
Hernandez pinned Maui's Totauhelotu Lotulelei 3:55 into their 189-pound final, while Peralta shutout Farrington's Joshue Rivera, 10-0, in their 152-pound final.
Laurent Remillard won his 160-pound final by pinning 'Iolani's Spencer Kiehm 2:55 into the bout. Punahou also got a runner-up finish from Bryant Fukushima at 125 pounds, a third-place finish by Brayden Hill at 171 and fourth-place finishes from Evan Uehara (140), Tyler Egami (145) and Kory Johnson (215). Jordan Kondo (120) and Matthew Sparks (285) placed sixth in their respective weight classes.
"At the beginning of the season, we were lackluster, but as the season went on, we started to come together as a group and we realized of what we were capable of and we all stepped it up," Peralta said. "We all did this as a team ... it feels great to go out on top."
Other newly-crowned two-time state champions include Pac-Five's Joshua Terao, who won at 125 pounds, and Kamehameha-Hawaii's Akoakoa Paleka Kenndy, who repeated at 285.
"All the people I played were stronger and taller than me, so I just had to use my technique and my strengths to beat them," said Terao, who won at 108 as a freshman last year. He beat Punahou's Bryant Fukushima, 4-2, in his title bout.
Paleka Kennedy held off Molokai's Dhavin Spencer Basa, 5-2, in his championship final.
"It feels amazing, because I knew that I had a big target on my back and everyone was gunning for me, so it feels good to repeat again," he said.
Mililani's Quinn Nagatani and Pearl City's Sanoe Spencer also successfully defended their individual crowns. Nagatani topped Farrington's Shayna Marie Oliver, 3-1, in their 108-pound state final and Spencer rallied past Kahuku's Libby Petrie, 5-1, for her second straight crown at 220 pounds.
"It's a lot of stress off my shoulder," said Nagatani, who transferred from Pacific Buddhist Academy last summer.
Spencer was so happy, she was almost speechless.
"It feels good, too good for words," she said.
March 3, 2012
'Aiea's Candice Segi celebrates victory in the 103 pound class. Greg Yamamoto | SL
Maryknoll's Cassidy Oshiro won the 114 pound weight class to claim his third state title. Greg Yamamoto | SL
Punahou's Todd Murakawa defeated Pearl City's Gabriel Iereneo-Baring to win the 130 pound weight division. Greg Yamamoto | SL
Aiea's Darcie Manning-O'Brien won the 175 pound weight class title to seal a state title for the Na Alii girls. Greg Yamamoto | SL
Punahou's Mindy Chow won her third state title with a win in the 130 pound weight class. Greg Yamamoto | SL
Pearl City's Blake Cooper lifts Moanalua's Derek Lee-Loy in the 145-pound title match. Greg Yamamoto | SL
King Kekaulike's Austin Bloch defeated Kamehameha-Kapalama's Tyson Kuahine to win the 140 pound weight class. Greg Yamamoto | SL
Punahou's Zachary Hernandez pinned Maui's Totauhelotu Lotulelei at the 3:55 mark to win the 189 pound weight class. Greg Yamamoto | SL