HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Texaco HHSAA Wrestling State Championships kick off Wednesday morning at the Blaisdell Arena, and all eyes will be on the state’s top pound-for-pound contenders.
Kamehameha’s Kysen Terukina captured the state title at 120 pounds last year and will look to make it three consecutive state crowns.
The girl’s bracket, meanwhile, will be led by Leilehua’s Kelani Corbett, who is trying to become just the fifth girl in Hawaii state history to win four titles in a row.
“It would mean a lot to me," said Corbrett. "I have been working toward this goal the past four years, ever since I won my first one, so I’m glad all the hard work paid off.”
If she is able to win this year’s state crown, Corbett would become Leilehua’s first four-time state title winner in any sport, boy or girl. She believes in order to get through the state tournament undefeated, she must sustain physical and mental toughness.
“Just have to be mentally prepared and warm up for every match like its the state final," said Corbrett. "Whether its quarterfinals or preliminaries, I have to wrestle my best.”
Kevin Corbett is the head coach of the Mules program. He hopes his daughter’s success transitions into more notoriety for female wrestlers across the state.
“It’s great for the girls themselves," said Corbrett. "To accomplish those things and show people that these girls are just as good as any boy or program out there..”
On the boys side, all eyes will be focused on the Warriors’ Terukina. The 126-pound junior recently broke into the top 10 nationally for his weight class.
Despite being the two-time state champion, Terukina is not taking any opponent lightly.
“I always go match by match,” said Terukina. "I just have to remind myself that I’m capable of doing it. I did it before, I can do it again, I just have to be ready for anybody.
Kamehameha head coach Rob Hesia believes it’s Terukina’s ability to adapt in matches that separates him from other wrestlers in the state.
“He makes the adjustments in the matches," said Hesia. “Whatever the challenge is, he identifies it quickly, makes the adjustments, and he breaks through that barrier.”
Day 1 of the state wrestling state tournament will kick off Feb. 20 at 10:00 a.m. at the Blaisdell Arena. Finals are scheduled for Feb. 21.