Kalani wrestlers hold their own

Kenneth Wong, Sports

On Dec. 22 at Leilehua High School, the 18th Annual Officials Wrestling Tournament took place. All OIA and ILH high schools, including those from the neighboring islands, participated.

To win in wrestling, you either pin your opponent or attain points. A win moves you up in your bracket which takes you closer to the championship match. It also gives your team points.

Kyara Tagami faces off against her Punahou opponent for third place in the 18th Annual Officials Wrestling Tournament. Photo by Lori-Lei Tagami 2018.

Kalani team captain Kyara Tagami (12) played a weight class higher because she wanted to go against the two-time returning state champ who she knew would eventually bump down to the same weight class as her later on in the season.

“Although I lost in the semifinal round, I fought my way up from the back side and ended up playing for third,” Tagami said. “I was happy with my results because I beat a state runner-up from last year, and I didn’t even place at states last year so it taught me to be more confident in myself and that titles shouldn’t really matter.”

Phoebe Pineda Abaya (12) was excited before the match because it was her last official tournament but was unsatisfied with her fourth-place finish.

“I knew I could’ve done better,” she said.

Four out of about twenty of the wrestlers placed. Tagami placed 3rd in the 122 division, Jayce Kamimura placed 6th in 106 division, Emily Paulino (10) got 3rd in 127 division, and Abaya placed 4th in the 132 division.