POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 19, 2012
Last year, Pearl City's Breanne Takaesu struggled with her confidence.
After being named most outstanding wrestler of the Pa‘ani Challenge at Punahou on Tuesday, she can probably put that flaw aside.
Takaesu went undefeated at 105 pounds in the tournament, including her first win over reigning 98-pound state champion Kaelynn Canyete of Kapolei.
Takaesu placed fifth in this tournament last year and made the state tournament, but didn't place. On Tuesday, she pinned Ann Mari Andres of Maui and Miranda Oda of Punahou in the third period of both matches to reach the final of the round.
Sure, they were pins, but not enough for Takaesu to begin to believe that she was elite.
"Those pins were slow," Takaesu said. "It took almost the whole matches. I was really nervous (taking on a state champ), but I challenged her in the summer so I knew what I was getting into. I just wanted to let it come to me."
Takaesu beat Canyete 1-0 in a slow match that played right into the Charger's hands. The girls spent the first period measuring each other, with neither threatening to score.
Canyete began the second period on top and rode Takaesu until 30 seconds remained, when Takaesu wriggled free for an escape to give her a 1-0 lead. She nursed that lead in the third period, smothering the state champ until the waning seconds, when Canyete threw Takaesu off the mat, but just after time ran out.
"I think confidence-wise, no, she wouldn't have beaten her last year," Pearl City coach Michael Lee Jr. said. "She still has confidence issues, but she is working on it. She has been working hard and has good workout partners so she can expect good things this year."
Takaesu and Canyete likely will not see each other again next year because Canyete is dropping back down to 101 pounds, possibly as soon as this weekend's official's tournament at Leilehua. Takaesu intends on staying at 105.
"(Canyete) wrestled in Maui last weekend and wasn't really challenged in any of her matches, and even this tournament she wasn't really challenged," Kapolei coach Sean Salter said. "She wasn't ready to wrestle as good as she could have. But give (Takaesu) credit, she is a tough fighter, she got a real solid position and never got out of it so Kaelynn could take advantage."
Pearl City dominated the tournament, with five individual champions in the tournament's highest bracket in Sarah Alegria (109 pounds), Xandria Ford (113), Asia Lie Evans (121) and Janelle Fuamatu (155). Other winners were Thai Ha Sloan of Punahou (97), Ashley Lawhn of Kalani (101), Kayla Guillermo of Castle (117), Precious Jaramillo of Lahainaluna (125), Angela Lee of Mililani (130), Carly Jaramillo of Lahainaluna (135), Zoe Hernandez of Punahou (140), Ku‘ulei Lankford of Campbell (175) and Sarah Minor of Aiea (220). Racheal Holiday of Monument Valley (Ariz.) won the tournament's fighting spirit award.