Advertisement

Lanai relies on a Diesel to win its first state title

Feb. 25—Diesel Del Rosario went through the toughest bracket of the Texaco /HHSAA State Wrestling Championships at the Cannon Activities Center in Laie on Saturday night, becoming tiny Lanai's first state champion.

The takeover is complete.

Diesel Del Rosario went through the toughest bracket of the Texaco /HHSAA State Wrestling Championships at the Cannon Activities Center in Laie on Saturday night, becoming tiny Lanai's first state champion.

"I was just so full of emotion, it means a lot for me and my island, " Del Rosario said. "People like to overlook us because we are so small. I'm really excited to go home and see everyone and feel the love."

A Lanai boy had never wrestled in the state final and the entire island has collected only nine medals over the years. Del Rosario has two of them after taking third place last year.

He didn't take the easy road, either. Del Rosario beat two-time champion Evan Kusumoto of Kamehameha, a senior who had never lost at the state tournament and made the final by beating fellow state champion Logan Lau of Mid-Pacific.

Del Rosario started things with a takedown in the first period, but both boys seemed to know that it would come down to the last minute. The Pine Lad got the points he needed with a takedown with 46 seconds left to double the score to 4-2. Kusumoto worked an escape with 27 seconds left but ran out of time. He slammed his headgear in frustration as the clock showed zeros and Del Rosario basked in the glory provided by the large crowd.

"Evan is the best, this match could have gone either way, " Del Rosario said. "I know how hard he works, I know how bad he wanted it."

Kamehameha won the boys team title despite not having a state champion, taking the crown from the OIA. The Warriors scored 188.1 points to 135 for Saint Louis and 124 for Moanalua. Samson Paaluhi, Tauataina Tuikolongahau and Elvis Miller were the big scorers for the Warriors, who got points from 13 of their 14 wrestlers.

Hanalani's Xander Erolin came up short of his third state championship, losing to a familiar nemesis at 157 pounds. Castle's Keegan Goeas topped him 7-3 with a dominating third period after beating him at Officials. It is the first state title and third podium for Goeas, who is a junior and has established himself as one of the state's elite wrestlers. Hunter Berger of Saint Louis repeated as a state champion, earning the crown at 126.

Other state champions were Kaihi Cobb-Adams of Saint Louis (150 ), Na 'i Hasegawa of Baldwin (165 ), Campbell's Jensen Tanele (175 ), Jerusalem Jackson of Mililani (190 ), Christian Stephan of Kapolei (215 ), Sanalio Vehikite of Lahainaluna (285 ), Colt Kalaukoa of Castle (106 ), Kahuku's Paiea Kamakaala (113 ) and Ryker Shimabukuro of Kapolei (132 ).

Moanalua's Tyger Taam earned his third state title as a junior, dominating at 138 pounds and beating his opponent in 26 seconds in the final match of the evening. He will be going for the slam next year.

"All of the hard work and all of the cutting weight, everything I've done in my life has led to that moment, " Taam said. "I don't want to jinx anything, but I really want to win (four )."

Kamehameha-Maui's Mikah Labuanan, Del Rosario's training partner, will also be going for the slam next year after the most satisfying win of his storied career. He pinned Bransen Porter in 5 :37 after the Seariders senior led 5-3 going into the third period of the 144 final. Labuanan will attempt to become Maui's first boy to earn the slam. He left a trail of tears on his way out of the arena after getting hugs and congratulations from the entire Maui wrestling community.

"I never cried like this after the first two, " Labuanban said. "Getting that pin, hearing the mat slap in that electric place, that may have been the best feeling of my life."

Depending on how much they grow, Labuanana and Taam could wind up in the same weight class next year, with each trying to complete a slam. Both said they welcome that possibility.