Very eventful Spring/Summer season
Our Spring/ Summer season was very eventful. From March to July wrestlers competed in 12 tournaments on Oahu and Maui, in Michigan and Nebraska and right here on Kauai. We hosted a one day clinic taught by 2000 US Olympic Champion Brandon Slay that drew some of the best wrestlers in the State. The Alo girls were dominant in Michigan and made history in Nebraska. Daniel Quinlan traveled to Ohio and trained at the Ken Chertow Camp for 10 days bringing new skills and abilities back to the club. Coach Mac was part of the Hawaii USA Wrestling coaching staff, traveling with team Hawaii to the Cadet and Junior Nationals in Fargo North Dakota where he earned his USA Wrestling Bronze Level Coaching Certificate.
The first tournament of the Hawaii USAW season was March 25 at Mililani high school on Oahu, and it was Coach Mac's last for the season. After finishing third in a tough Junior/Open division at Mililani, Coach Mac felt great and started training for the USAW Veterans Division E (51-55) Nationals in Las Vegas. Just a couple days before flying to Vegas Coach Mac tore his biceps tendon in practice and had to have surgery. After six months of recovery and therapy Coach Mac is back practicing full speed with the club and preparing for another season of tournament competition. Daniel Quinlan, Cory Howatt, Latisha, Bulla, Teshya and Teniya Alo all competed at Mililani and did well, check the "Tournament Results" section for all the tournament results for the season.
The first of April Coach Mac escorted Latisha, Teshya and Teniya Alo along with their parents to the US Girls Wrestling Association Nationals in Lake Orion Michigan. It was still cold up there next to Canada but the girls brought some Hawaii heat to the mat. Teshya and Teniya both went undefeated and earned National titles. Tisha wrestled hard and earned respect with a sixth place finish. Check the story in the Garden Island newspaper: "Westside Wrestlers bring home the hardware from Michigan" (04/05/06).
Back home in Hawaii, April 22, the club was led by Tisha at the Leilehua tournament on Oahu. Tisha finished first place in a tough all boy bracket beating wrestlers from the Leeward Cobras, Waikele Wildcats and Tropic lightning Clubs. Check the story in the Garden Island: "Alo brings home the Gold" (05/01/06).
May 6 and 13 we traveled to Oahu again for tournaments at the Helemano Army Base. It was Brenden Cristobal's first tournament competition and he showed his natural abilities with a second place finish. Check out the pictures of Daniel with his gold and Evan Hurd and Brenden with their silver medals at Helemano, it was a good day!
May 25 we traveled to Maui for the AAU State Championships. It was a homecoming for Coach Jojo, he is a graduate of Lahainaluna high school. Coach Jojo's family hosted a dinner for the club at his parents house, it was great, you should have seen all the food. Coach Jojo comes from a family of wrestlers, his brothers and former State Champion cousin were all there to meet us and encourage the young wrestlers. The tournament was fun with a lot of good competition. Teshya and Teniya both earned State Championships, Tisha fought hard for a second place finish, Bulla and Daniel both got third. Maui was our only chance this year to meet up with wrestlers from the other club on Kauai; the Kauai Police Activities League Wrestling Club. The KPAL club has tournaments on Kauai but so far has not allowed other clubs to participate, so we went to Maui to get a match with them. As it turns out the only match of the day between the two Kauai clubs was in the 140lb high school division battle for third place. Daniel went up against KPAL's Matthew Jimenez, they are both Waimea high students, Daniel was a freshman and Matthew a junior. Coach Mac was coaching Tisha in a close battle for her second place finish when Daniel's name was called for his match against the KPAL boy, Coach Jojo went with Daniel as Coach Mac signaled to them he would be right over. Tisha was in the last 30 seconds of her match, Coach Mac was watching intently as she fought off an excellent come from behind effort by her opponent. Suddenly Daniel was standing next to Coach Mac with barely a drop of sweat on his brow. As Tisha was getting her hand raised Coach Mac looked over to Daniel and asked what happened, well, Daniel had pinned the KPAL wrestler in about 40 seconds with a head and arm throw. The tournament was fun and a good learning experience for all the wrestlers, check out the article in the Garden Island:"Westside Wrestlers clean up at states" (05/25/06). Before leaving Maui the club got to visit the Maui Aquarium and race go karts. Be sure to check out the pictures and especially the video clips from the go kart racing!
In June the club stayed home on Kauai to host Westside Wrestling's second annual USAW sanctioned tournament. The tournament was Saturday June 10, on Friday June 9 we hosted an all day clinic taught by 2000 US Olympic Champion Brandon Slay. Several Hawaii high school state champions and wrestlers and coaches from Oahu, Maui and Kauai attended the clinic. Brandon is a great teacher, he really knows how to break up the day with demonstration, practice and discussion to keep the interest. Coach Mac hopes to bring Brandon back again next year. Several of the techniques and drills that Brandon taught have become a permanent part of the clubs training. Brandon ended the day with a question and answer session, and a lot of the wrestlers wanted to know what is what to like to train for and win at the Olympics. Check out the article in the Garden Island: "Slay wrestles around with youths" (06/10/06). Our tournament on Saturday was much larger than last year, there were club teams from Oahu and Maui, and guys came out of the woodwork on Kauai to mix it up on the mat. Kamole Jui-jitsu master Eric Pajdak showed up and tried his skills in freestyle wrestling. Eric had never wrestled an international freestyle rules match, he only had a brief review of the rules before the competition started, but demonstrated his natural ability with a second place finish to Willie Smithe a two time high school state champion from Mililani high school. Coach Mac, who also trains in Jiu-jitsu, said Eric's performance also shows how cross training in Jiu-jitsu and wrestling will help you in both sports. Daniel edged out state champion Cherae Pascua in a close match for first place in the 139lb weight class. Daniel chose to wrestle in two weight classes so he had very little rest in between matches, he finished fourth place in the 145lb division. It was great how the club parents organized the tournament. Some of the visiting coach's remarked how well the tournament was run. Most of the parents were involved! Lori, Brenden's Mom, operated an excellent food concession with the help of her daughter and Evan's Mom Brook. Tisha's Mom and Dad Tino and Tala brought kalua pig that was a big hit. Chris Kaiakapu's Mom Patty and Cole Burton's Mom Annette ran the t-shirt sales. Keaka Canute's Mom and Dad Joy and Tom did a little of everything including a massive clean up. Teshya and Teniya Alo's Mom Cherise ran the sign up table and helped Pililani and Hiilei Alaibilla's Mom Leah run the head table. Daniel's Dad Bill Quinlan was in charge of first aid and many more volunteers helped with the scoring tables. Club Secretary Robin McIlwee helped overall as the assistant tournament director. Check out the article in the Garden Island: "Westside Wrestling pins success" (06/11/06).
The Aloha State Games was the last tournament of the Hawaii USA Wrestling season and is considered the USAW State Championships. This year Daniel was not able to go because of his trip to the mainland to visit family and attend wrestling camp. Cory Howatt was the only wrestler from the club returning from the 2005 season. The other Westside Wrestlers competing along with Cory were: Teniya Alo, Teshya Alo, Bulla Alo, Tisha Alo, Keaka Canute, Evan Hurd and Brenden Cristobal. All the wrestler did well against the tough competition, Teniya and Teshya led the way with gold medals in both Greco Roman and Freestyle, Tisha finished with a silver in Greco Roman. Evan Hurd had a tough battle with the State Champion, Ray Cooper, continuing the match with an injured hand. Evan had a bad landing in the second round that broke a bone in his right hand, however he never gave up and wrestled the rest of the match. Evan spent about 6 weeks in a cast, then started therapy that consisted mostly of surfing. Evan is back to full speed wrestling in practice and preparing for more tournament competition.
The last tournament of the Spring/Summer season was the AAU Grand Nationals in Omaha Nebraska. Tisha, Teshya and Teniya earned the right to compete for AAU National titles by their performance at the AAU State Championships on Maui in May. Nebraska is in the heartland of the United States and the heartland of American wrestling, but it is way behind in women's wrestling. It seems that girls wrestling is slow to catch on in the mid-west. So it was no surprise that the Alo girls were the only girls in the tournament, the surprise was the way the girls dominated. Coach Mac signed the girls up for all three styles of wrestling, Greco Roman, Freestyle and Folkstyle. The fist day was the Greco Roman tournament. Tisha did well, her best highlight was hitting 2 consecutive 3 point throws in a preliminary match, she ended up with the bronze medal in Greco. Teshya and Teniya made history by beating all the boys and earning the gold medals. It was something to see the coaches and parents faces as the girls dominated the boys from all over the United States, but what really impressed them was how the girls won with a smile and after each match gave their opponent a shell lei in a gesture of Aloha. The second day was the freestyle competition. Tisha did well again and earned a bronze medal. Teniya made it into the finals where she lost a close match to the Oklahoma State Champion and finished with a silver medal. Teshya had a very close match in the finals as well, and after some disagreement about the score, the decision went for her despite a protest by the South Dakota coaches. Teshya got the gold, but the South Dakota coaches had a hard time accepting the results.
The third and last day of the AAU Nationals was the Folkstyle tournament. Folkstyle had the most wrestlers and the toughest competition. Tisha fought hard but finished out of the medals round. Teniya made into the finals again, and met the same boy from Oklahoma as in the freestyle tournament. Once again Teniya lost a close match to the Oklahoma boy settling for a silver medal. Teshya had a similar experience meeting the same boy, from South Dakota in the finals. It was a good thing because the boys coach's had a chance for a rematch, however the match was not so close this time. Teshya dominated the South Dakota State Champion in the first round, and then pinned him in the second round. Teshya finished as a AAU Grand National Champion in all three styles. Check the Garden Island article:"Look out nation, it's the Alo's" (07/11/06).
We were fortunate to have Alan Morris from the Marin Wrestling Club in Northern California visit the club again this year and teach new moves and drills. Another California Coach who was working on Kauai helped us in practice. Coach Doug was on Kauai for a few months and really became part of the club. Coach Doug really improved the way we practiced and taught us many new moves and skills. When it came time for Coach Doug to leave we had a little going away ceremony with maile leis and gifts. Be sure to see the pictures of coach Doug getting his leis and gifts. The new membership season for 2006/2007 began on September 1. We are signing up wrestlers and coaches for the new season and practicing hard for tournament competition, looking forward to a good winter season!