Insight, News, and Opinion by Nick Abramo
  • April 13, 2021
Hawaii Wrestlers Compete In College From Coast To Coast

Most fans know that football is the biggest money-maker and draws the most attention out of any sport played in the United States.

Here’s a startling thing for those who follow high school sports in Hawaii: After football, what drew the most attention during my days writing for Hawaii Prep World was wrestling.

Hawaii Prep World is an offshoot website of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and all of my colleagues there know this to be true.

Yet, every single wrestler and coach of the sport that we tell that fact to doesn’t fully realize that we’re telling the full truth. They are not privy to the analytics.

Corey Cabanban won four wrestling state championships in high school for Saint Louis School. He’s now competing for Iowa State University. (Photo from Twitter, via

So, it’s a surprise, yeah. Well, there are four sports this site is dedicated to covering and one of them is wrestling for that very fact.

But how does wrestling get more page views than basketball, baseball, volleyball or soccer? My only clues are this: It’s Mano a Mano, or Womano a Womano. Sports do not get much purer than this. Two people of similar weight are going at it. A test of strength. A test of balance. A test of fortitude. Also, if you are a wrestler, chances are your whole family is involved — brothers and sisters and uncles and parents. Even if your relatives don’t wrestle, they’ve caught the bug and are interested in how you do. They attend the matches.

In addition, many of the wrestlers get to know each other and many of the coaches get to know each other and a large community is built around that. A connected web of people. They pack the gyms and hang around all day to cheer on their family and friends. They spend a lot of time outside the gym as a group, in pop-up tents, hobnobbing or resting or just plain ol’ having a conversation or other fun. Hydrating. Eating.

And even though it doesn’t get a ton of play in the various publications and other media across the state, this sport of wrestling with its tight-knit, high school-based community has been going strong since before the first boys state tournament in 1966.

Just some of the big names through the years who have gone on to star in college, in international competition or elsewhere are:

>> Roosevelt’s Clarissa Chun (bronze medal in the 2012 London Olympics, gold medal in the 2008 World Championships, silver medal in the 2011 Pan-American Games, five-time gold medal winner in the Pan-American Wrestling Championships)

>> Punahou’s Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, who is the flyweight world champion in Bellator MMA >> Mililani’s Angela Lee, who is the One Championship MMA atomweight world title holder

>> Pearl City’s Ray Cooper III, who is the 2019 Professional Fighters League welterweight tournament champion

>> Kamehameha’s Kai Kamaka, who made his UFC debut in August in UFC 252. He won his first featherweight bout by unanimous decision over Tony Kelley. He is a Legacy Fighting Alliance veteran.

>> Saint Louis School’s Travis Lee, who won two NCAA Division I national championships with Cornell, in 2003 and 2005, and was the NCAA D-I runner in 2004

>> Mid-Pacific’s David Terao, who is American University’s all-time wins leader and an NCAA D-I All-American in 2016


ALSO AT NICKABRAMO.COM: A Big-Box Store, Patience, And 2 Incoming University of Hawaii Volleyball Freshmen Intersect


This year, Menlo College’s Blaysen Terukina — a Kamehameha graduate — won an NAIA national championship in the 133-pound class.

Terukina will be back for his senior season and attempting to become a two-time national champ when sports resume during (or after) the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cody Cabanban (Saint Louis School) won a National College Wrestling Association national championship in the 125-pound class for Shreiner College (Kerrville, Texas).

Leilehua’s Liam Corbett of Cowley College (Arkansas City, Kansas) was named as an honorable mention in the 2019-2020 Junior College All-American list. Corbett has since transferred to Dubuque University in Dubuque, Iowa.

They are just three of the many Hawaii wrestlers competing in college. A list follows:

——————– Editor’s note: The list is based on available information. In order to make it more complete, feel free to add a name or make an update that are more accurate by emailing Nick Abramo at



(Updated: Sept. 10, 2020)

Augsburg University (Minneapolis)

>> Devin Shimabukuro, Fr. (Pac-Five)

Campbell University (Buies Creek, N.C.)

>> Elijah Kaawa, Fr. (Saint Louis)

Central College (Pella, Iowa)

>> Shandon Akeo, Sr. (Kapolei)

Coast Guard Academy (New London, Conn.)

>> Steven Pangelinan, Sr. (Campbell)

Colby Community College (Colby, Kansas)

>> Kaena DeSantos, So. (Leilehua)

Cowley College (Arkansas City, Kansas)

>> Ariston Bartley, So. (Kamehameha)

>> Makana Tapia, So. (Kamehameha)

Dixie State University (St. George, Utah)

>> Alexis Encinas, Jr. (Lahainaluna)

Doane University (Crete, Neb.)

>> Logan Garcia, Jr. (Moanalua)

Dubuque University (Dubuque, Iowa)

>> Liam Corbett, Jr. (Leilehua)

>> Caleb Shinaoka, Fr., (Waiakea)

Gannon University (Erie, Pa.)

>> Kennedy Javier, Fr. (Mililani)

>> Gabby Perez, Jr. (Moanalua)

>> Lana Perez, So. (Moanalua)

Gettysburg College (Gettysburg, Pa.)

>> Mason Canonico, Jr. (Punahou)

Iowa State University (Ames, Iowa)

>> Corey Cabanban, So. (Saint Louis)

>> Kysen Terukina, Fr. (Kamehameha)

Liberty College (Lynchburg, Va.)

>> Cendall Manley, finished senior year (Molokai)

Lyon College (Batesville, Ark.)

>> Kelani Corbett, So. (Leilehua)

>> Emma de Brum, Jr. (Lanai)

>> Head coach Kevin Corbett (Leilehua)

>> Rebekah Garcia, Jr. (Moanalua)

>> Mariah Spix, Jr. (Leilehua)

Menlo College (Atherton, Calif.)

>> Nanea Estrella, Fr. (Lahainaluna)

>> Alejandra Corral, Fr. (Aiea)

>> Tianna Fernandez, So. (Baldwin) >> Taryn Ichimura, Sr. (Punahou)

>> Rysan Leong, So. (Kalaheo) >> Laynee Pasion, Sr. (St. Francis)

>> Angela Peralta, Sr. (Radford)

>> Blaysen Terukina, Sr. (Kamehameha)

>> Alana Vivas, So. (Kamehameha)

Midland University (Midland, Texas)

>> Sadie Antoque, Fr. (Castle)

>> Leilani Camargo-Naone, finished senior year (Kamehameha)

>> Waipuilani Estrella-Beauchamp, Fr. (Baldwin)

>> Ashley Gorman, So. (Kamehameha)

>> Mahealani Lewis, So. (Kamehameha)

>> Tanalei Louis, finished senior year (Konawaena)

>> Jolette Miner-Ho, Fr. (Kapaa)

>> Ashlee Palimoo, Fr. (Kamehameha-Maui)

>> Tayler Pelegrino-Hayase, So. (Lahainaluna)

>> Paige Respicio, Fr. (Kamehameha)

>> Alexis Tupuola, So., (Moanalua)

>> Alizeih Villalpando, Fr. (Campbell)

Missouri Valley College (Marshall, Mo.)

>> Elijah Asuncion, Fr. (Moanalua)

>> Alyandina Bushe, So. (Kapolei)

>> Lilliana Campbell, Fr. (Campbell)

>> Brianna Funakoshi, Fr. (Aiea)

>> Assistant coach Samantha Higa (Aiea)

>> Shantelle Mangrobang, Fr. (Leilehua)

>> Mahealani Ramirez, Jr. (Aiea)

>> Zander Manuel, Fr. (Punahou)

New York University (New York)

>> Kainalu Huddy, So. (Kamehameha)

North Idaho College (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho) >> Brant Porter, Fr. (Kamehameha)

>> Micah Tynanes, (finished second of two years) (Campbell)

>> Manaia Wolfgramm, Fr. (Kamehameha)

Pacific University (Forest Grove, Ore.)

>> Iokepa Aken, Sr. (Kamehameha)

>> Landon Obra-Nakata, Sr. (Damien)

University of Providence (Great Falls, Mont.)

>> Ivory Ayers, Sr. (Keaau)

>> Christian Balagso, Sr. (Lahainaluna)

>> Ira Navarro, Jr. (Lahainaluna)

>> Iverly Navarro, Sr. (Lahainaluna)

Shreiner University (Kerrville, Texas)

>> Cody Cabanban, Sr. (Saint Louis)

>> Allicia Mahoe, So. (Kapolei)

>> Allie Mahoe, Jr. (Kapolei)

>> Shannlynne Mahoe, Fr. (Nanakuli)

>> Keely Oyadomari, So. (Kapolei)

>> Gianni Oyadomari, Jr. (Kapolei)

>> Naikoa Simao, So. (Leilehua)

Southern Oregon University (Ashland, Ore.)

>> Micah Arakawa, Sr. (Kaiser)

>> Kama Suzuki-Scott, Sr. (Kamehameha)

>> Kyara Tagami, So. (Kalani)

>> Ansen Ursua, (Southern Oregon) Fr.

Southwestern Oregon Community College (Coos Bay, Ore.)

>> Jahnesia Edwards, finished second year (Kapolei)

>> Abraham Mamizuka, So. (Kaiser)

>> Jules Marinas, So. (Baldwin)

>> Shanayah Marshall, So. (Kapaa)

>> Tiana Peterson, finished second year (Kapolei)

>> Alize Wright, So. (Campbell)

>> Noah Wusstig, So. (Moanalua)

Texas Wesleyan University (Fort Worth, Texas)

>> Isaac Stalcup, Jr. (Leilehua)

Umpqua Community College (Roseburg, Ore.)

>> Kaya Akana, Fr. (Waimea)

Ursinus College (Collegeville, Pa.)

>> Stone Franczyk, Fr. (Pac-Five)

Waldorf University (Forest City, Iowa)

>> Assistant coach Carrieann Randolph (‘Iolani)

Wartburg College (Waverly, Iowa)

>> Zayren Terukina, Jr. (Campbell)

Warner Pacific College (Portland, Ore.)

>> Kawehi Gillcoat, So. (Lahainaluna)


Bedrock Sports Hawaii’s Top 10 Most-Read Stories

(As of Sept. 8, 2020; click to read)

1. There Are Better Answers Than Suicide, Pearl City Football Player’s Family And Friends Reflect (June 15, 2020)

2. A Big-Box Store, Patience, And 2 University Of Hawaii Volleyball Incoming Freshmen Intersect (Sept. 1, 2020)

3. High Tops And No Socks: An Ode To The Doctor (June 2, 2020)

4. The Spirited, Six-Decade Adventures Of Surfer Joe (July 13, 2020)

5. 4-Time State Champ ‘Peanut’ Terukina To Wrestle At Iowa State (May 21, 2020)

6. NY Jets’ Leo Koloamatangi, The Former Hawaii Center, Is Assisting Kupuna With Food Delivery (June 22, 2020)

7. NHL Top 10 Jerseys Project Nourishes Social Closeness-ing (May 5, 2020)

8. Hawaii Wrestlers Compete In College From Coast To Coast (Sept. 7, 2020)

9. Hawaii’s Blaysen Terukina Rolls To NAIA National Wrestling Championship (Aug. 10, 2020)

10. Kobe Kato of Aiea and the University of Arizona Found Summer Baseball, Finally (Aug. 20, 2020)

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