After dominating at the national and international levels, Tiare Ikei added one more accolade to list of recent accomplishments last week. The Hawaii Technology Academy junior was named USA Wrestling's wrestler of the week.
"It's an honor to have been recognized by USA wrestling because of how big it is," said Ikei who was surprised by the honor. "I looked at the other wrestlers that were on the list too and I was kinda shocked."
The award was the result of years of hard work that have recently translated into first place finishes both in the U.S. and abroad. Last month, Ikei competed in her first ever international competition and claimed gold at the Cadet Pan American Championships. In Guatemala the two-time Fargo All-American claimed gold at 49 kg. She spent just 4:21 on the mat in three matches, teching and pinning her way to a top finish.
That result came just two weeks after she dominated at the U.S. cadet trials. Ikei finished first in that competition as well and managed to avoid conceding a single point throughout the entire competition.
"I mean, it's like baby steps getting compared to like when I want to reach the Olympic levels," said Ikei of her recent success. "But, I know going into competitions - win or lose, it's going to help build my...build me as a wrestler and as a person as well."
Ikei's success shouldn't come as any surprise, athleticism runs her family. She credits her father, Chad Ikei, for instilling a strong work ethic in her. The elder Ikei is considered one of the top strength trainers in the state. Now, Tiare is hoping to learn from another Hawaii great. This month she's heading to Colorado Springs to train at the Olympic Training Center under U.S. national team assistant coach and Hawaii Sports hall of fame inductee Clarissa Chun.
"I'm really excited, especially to be able to see Clarissa and have her as my coach," said Ikei. "I'm really looking forward to being able to wrestle with them as well, because I know it's going to be like entering the room on my first day like I was here. Getting beat up, but also getting better at the same time."
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