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Cooper dominates as Pearl City wins No. 8

  • FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARADVERTISER.COM
    Pearl City's Evan Greenleaf controlled Waianae's Zach Mason last night, pinning him in the first round.
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There was electricity in the air with the Pearl City Chargers in the house.

Raynald Cooper III continued his domination in the regular season with a 16-6 decision over Kevin Corbett of Radford in the 171-pound final at the Oahu Interscholastic Association West Division wrestling championships yesterday at James Alegre Gymnasium.

Pearl City captured both the boys and girls varsity championships.

"It’s all one championship. We all train together and the team as a whole is coming together," Chargers coach Mike Lee said.

The boys finished with 231 points, followed by Campbell (198), Mililani (129), Kapolei (128) and Radford (113).

Pearl City’s girls won with a total of 162 points, followed by Aiea (122), Campbell (104), Mililani (97) and Kapolei (63).

The boys now have eight West titles in a row, but Lee could muster little more than a grin.

"We’ve got plenty to work on. We’ve got some guys we wanted to place first and they didn’t get it," the fourth-year coach said. "We’ve got a good core of kids who keep bringing their friends out. No matter how hard it is, they never quit, and we’ve got good leadership from our seniors. Even the younger kids are becoming leaders."

Cooper, a two-time state champion, wasn’t thrilled about his performance.

"I wanted a pin. I was looking for it," he said. "His style is muscly, so I tried to use that against him. He got tired at the end."

Applying constant pressure, Cooper relied on his basics: singles, doubles, high crotches and half moves. He had the attention of most of the audience even while other final matches were being played on other mats.

"Ray, he’s a lightning rod. This team responds to him," Lee said. "He’s electrifying, his style, so he’s a crowd-pleaser."

The Chargers now look ahead to the OIA championships in two weeks, but Cooper is looking forward to the state tourney and his nemesis, Punahou’s Patrick Sheehan. The Buffanblu wrestler has beaten Cooper twice in two matches this season.

"We’ve been wrestling each other since we were little kids," Cooper said.

In all, six Chargers won boys individual titles, including Cooper’s brother, Blake (140).

Evan Greenleaf, who may be the only hearing-impaired wrestler in the OIA, got past Sheldon Maae of Campbell in the 215 weight class, 5-3. It was, by far, their closest battle in four meetings this season.

"I was just doing whatever I can to work against him," said Greenleaf, who has thrived with a 33-3 record. "I feel good. We got first place."

"Even with his hearing impairment, he shows there’s no limitations," Lee said. "He’s got great hips. He can move on the mat and doesn’t get caught in silly things."

Greenleaf nearly pinned his semifinal foe, Zach Mason of Waianae, with one arm in the first few seconds of their match.

Pearl City’s girls had four individual champions, as did Aiea, which finished second overall.

Na Alii has just seven wrestlers as a girls team, and all four who reached the finals found success.

"We did good," Aiea girls coach Ason Abe said. "We’ve got to get used to these two-day tournaments. You have to make weight for two straight days and get up emotionally both days."

One of the upsets of the day came from Chase Tantog of Mililani, who was unseeded, but took the 135 division with wins over Gabe Kalama (Waianae), top seed Shannen Apostadiro (Aiea) and Tyler Shope (Leilehua) before defeating fourth seed Sean Zachary Agpaoa (Pearl City).

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