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Iao Tiger Style Club coach Grant Nakamura uses a stick to instruct wrestler Josiah Watson how an opponent might approach during a practice Wednesday morning in the 4G wrestling hall in Happy Valley. A total of 45 wrestlers from seven Maui County clubs are expected to compete at the Western States Championships in Provo, Utah, next week. The Maui News / ROBERT COLLIAS photo

WAILUKU – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tobey Ravida has not competed in a wrestling tournament since winning the 113-pound state title from the Hawaii High School Athletic Association in February 2020.

That will change next week when Ravida is scheduled to compete at the Western States Championships in Provo, Utah.

Ravida, a rising senior from Baldwin High School, is one of 45 wrestlers from seven Maui County clubs who will compete in the competition.

“I can’t wait to be there, it’s been over a year since I last participated”, Ravida said Wednesday morning from the 4G wrestling room in Happy Valley. “During the pandemic, I relaxed, but tried to motivate myself to train harder, get back in shape and prepare for the next high school season. “

The tournament, scheduled for June 16-19, will feature competitors from Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.


“I look at all the kids who wrestle in this tournament – they wrestle nonstop and just this year they wrestle 15, maybe even 20 tournaments, every weekend they wrestle,” said Grant Nakamura, coach of the Iao Tiger Style Club and assistant to Baldwin. “We haven’t wrestled for a good year, almost two years. This is why this tournament is very important to us, we are late now and we have to catch up. Hopefully the state opens up and we can start wrestling a bit more and have a tournament here. “

Nakamura was a state champion for Baldwin and fought collegially for traditional power in the state of Iowa.

“It’s a pretty important tournament for them”, Nakamura said. “We’re probably going to do a few more tournaments this year after this one, maybe Freak Show and then some people could go to Fargo, that’s the big one.”

Ravida will have the chance to show his prowess in the three disciplines of wrestling: folk, freestyle and Greco-Roman.

“I will compete in all three categories”, said Ravida. “I like folk style better because I’ve been doing it since I was little. I’m more comfortable doing it, but I also like freestyle because I can lock my hands, which you can’t do in folkstyle.

Ravida said he had stepped up his training since early May.

“It’s been a month or two, but, yes, we are preparing to fight for three days”, said Ravida. “Personally, I feel ready because I got the job done and tried to cut back on what I’m eating, so yeah, I feel ready.”

Liana Ferreira, a Baldwin senior, placed third in the state at 97 pounds in freshman and second in sophomore, the last time she wrestled competitively.

“This trip, I’m excited to just compete and get high because I train so hard every day,” said Ferreira. “I go to the gym, I work out Crossfit and then I come to workout. “

Like Ravida, Ferreira dreams of college wrestling.

“I liked six colleges right now,” said Ferreira. “I think it’s just important for me to focus on doing my best. I don’t really focus on winning, but just getting better and trying to do the things I learned in training.

Ferreira will also do all three disciplines.

“I’m not very experienced in greco or freestyle, but I trained a lot to get used to it. said Ferreira. “Folkstyle, I have enough confidence in him.”

Ferreira knows that next week could be a good opportunity to show off his skills to college recruiters. She is well aware of the path blazed before her by several impressive college wrestlers in Maui County.

“I think it’s just really exciting to keep Maui really strong for the girls division, to make us look good because we’re working really hard,” said Ferrerira. “I am older and have worked with these coaches for a very long time and I think it is important to show that my coaches are very good.”

Marcus Marinas is a junior at Baldwin and will be competing in a tournament for the first time since he was a freshman.

“It’s a bit big because I want to use it as an experiment for next season”, Marinas said of the meeting he had previously attended in 2019.

Josiah Watson, who will be in seventh grade at Iao Middle School in the fall, is one of the few wrestlers from Maui to make the trip who participated in a tournament in Arizona in March.

“I’m a little nervous, especially nervous – I will wrestle every day”, Watson said. “I’m excited and nervous at the same time.”

In addition to Team Iao from Nakamura, Team Maui, Team Lanai, 808 Wrestling, Napili Surfriders, 4MG Wrestling and Lahaina Roughnecks send competitors to meet the Western States.

“I know they are ready, they have been training hard the last few months, we are in good shape, our technique is good, we have done a lot of greco. Nakamura said. “When I was in high school we never did greco, so a lot of these kids learn a lot of greco and they’re going to be ready, they’re going to take home medals for sure.”

Nakamura said practicing all three disciplines will make these youngsters better in the long run.

“They’re definitely going to be inexperienced compared to them, but they’re going to learn and they’re going to be able to fight good kids, so that’s important.” Nakamura said.

* Robert Collias is at [email protected]

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