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Kamehameha’s Kusumoto reaches state wrestling boys final with sudden victory

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                                Evan Kusumoto beat Logan Lau to reach the state final.


    Evan Kusumoto beat Logan Lau to reach the state final.

It might be true that nobody ever remembers the semifinals, but it will take a while for Evan Kusumoto of Kamehameha to forget this one.

”This was probably the biggest semifinal in the whole tournament,” Kusumoto said. “If he is in my path to a state championship, so be it. I want to prove that I am the best.”

Kusumoto beat rival and fellow state champion Logan Lau of Mid-Pacific in a tense battle, getting a takedown in overtime to seal his spot in a third state final. Kusumoto has won twice. The pandemic robbed him of a chance in his freshman year.

The state champions went into overtime after a back and forth battle that had Lau leading by two points late. Kusumoto waited until the buzzer before forcing overtime and then got it done. He could have taken an easier road to his special slam, and this one won’t get any easier with Lanai’s Diesel Del Rosario looming in the final. Del Rosario beat Kusumoto at Officials in December.

“I have been replaying that match in my mind for months,” Kusumoto said. “I am so excited.”

Juniors Tyger Taam of Moanlaua and Mikah Labuanan of Kamehameha-Maui are still on track for their slams, with Taam beating his semifinal opponent in 27 seconds and Labuanan easing to his final with a 14-1 major decision. Labuanan is set for the first state final, with Taam drawing the main event.

State champion Xander Erolin of Hanalani will see a familiar face when he goes for his third state crown, meeting Keegan Goeas of Castle. Goeas, the OIA champion, beat Erolin at Officials.

Elvis Miller of Kamehameha threw the 215-pound bracket into disarray, topping Baldwin’s Toa Mataafa Grove 9-2. He will meet Christian Stephan of Kapolei.

Kapolei’s Mayhem Woolsey was ready this time around for Lahainaluna’s Ikaika Gonzales.

Woolsey beat No. 1 seed Gonzales 9-5 in the 165-pound boys semifinals on Saturday.

“I wrestled him third tournament of the season. I wasn’t at my best. I wasn’t ready for my match. I wasn’t mentally ready,” Woolsey said. “Today, after reviewing the match film multiple times, I knew my mistakes and I knew where to fix them.”

Woolsey lost to Gonzales on points in their previous matchup.

“When I saw the brackets come out I knew I was ready. I knew I wanted it. I wanted to avenge my loss,” Woolsey said.

He said he made adjustments after his coaches told him Gonzales was front-heavy.

“I faked my leg attacks and get a snap and go straight to a drag or into a sweep shot to a peak out, which is all I worked on the past few days at practice,” Woolsey said.

Woolsey and his sister, Kapolei’s Eloise Woolsey, both advanced to the finals. Eloise Woolsey, who is competing at 140, won the 132 state championship last season.

“After our school practices, we’d go to club and she was my only partner sometimes,” Mayhem Woolsey said. “Most of the days it was just me and her for an hour, hour and a half, two hours just tossing, drilling. I was doing that all to make her better and she was doing it to help me get better. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner.”

State finals:

106 pounds: Ryder Armitage (Lahainaluna) vs. Colt Kalaukoa (Castle)

113: Pai`ea Kamakaala (Kahuku) vs. Irving Bicoy (Pearl City)

120: Diesel Del Rosario (Lanai) vs. Evan Kusumoto (Kamehameha)

126: Hunter Berger (Saint Louis) Kulika Corpuz (Mililani)

132: Randy Esperanza (Baldwin) vs. Ryker Shimabukuro (Kapolei)

138: Tyger Taam (Moanalua) vs. Koen Shigemoto (Mililani)

144: Mikah Labuanan (KS-Maui) vs. Bransen Porter (Waianae)

150: Kaihi Cobb-Adams (Saint Louis) vs. Justyce Dale Mercado (Punahou)

157: Xander Erolin (Hanalani) vs. Keegan Goeas (Castle)

165: Nai Hasegawa (Baldwin) vs. Mayhem Woolsey (Kapolei)

175: Tauataina Tuikolongahau (Kamehameha) vs. Jensen Tanele (Campbell)

190: Jerusalem Jackson (Mililani) vs. Kolt McCreedie (Saint Louis)

215: Christian Stephan (Kapolei) vs. Elvis Miller (Kamehameha)

285: Caleb Lauifi (Waipahu) vs. Sanalio Vehikite (Lahainaluna)

Hawaii Prep World

Hawaii Prep World

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