LAHAINA - The Lahainaluna High School wrestling team has a family feel every season, but the Jaramillo clan literally takes it to a new level.
Precious Jaramillo, a senior, was third in the state last season at 120 pounds, and sophomore Kapu Jara-millo was third at 130.
The sisters began the sport with the Napili Surfriders youth club in Maui Style Wrestling one season after watching brother Bubba start in the 5th grade.
Lahainaluna High School’s (from left) Kapu, Precious and Bubba Jaramillo are among the more than 300 wrestlers scheduled to compete in this weekend’s Garner Ivey Maui Invitational Tournament at King Kekaulike.
The Maui News / ROBERT COLLIAS photo
All three are leaders for the Lunas this season.
"This is definitely a first for Lahainaluna wrestling, three at a time," coach Todd Hayase said before practice Tuesday. "Not just three, but three who I believe will compete for individual (state) titles this year, all three."
Their first step toward a family triple crown will come at this weekend's Garner Ivey Maui Invitational Tournament at King Kekaulike. Competition starts at 11 a.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. on Saturday. The finals are set for 6 p.m. Saturday after introductions at 5:30.
Weights to Watch
125-Thomas Tawata of Pac-5 was fourth in the state at 130 last year. He could be challenged by St. Thomas More's Darthe Capellan, provincial runner-up in British Columbia, Mark Alamon of Lahainaluna (third in the Maui Interscholastic League a year ago), and Landon Arita of Kaiser (the runner-up in the Oahu Interscholastic Association East Division).
130-The field includes Josh Terao of Pac-5, a two-time undefeated state champion at 108 and 125. The strongest challengers look to be a pair of conference runners-up from last year - Charlie Aina III of Kamehameha Hawaii and Kahi Tihada of Lahainaluna - and Amari Sengsavanh of Century (Ore.).
152-This could be the toughest division in the tournament. Blake Cooper of Pearl City was the state champion at 145 last year. Andrew Kahalewai of Kamehameha Maui is the defending MIL champ and has two top-four state finishes. Lahainaluna's Thomas Rosen-St. John was the MIL champion at 145 and a state placer. Ryley Bliderbeck of Century was an Oregon state qualifier.
215-Mililani's Dayton Furuta was fifth in the state last year, and Baldwin's Danny Weld-Ebanks was sixth. Other challengers include Josh Costen of Lahainaluna (third in the MIL a year ago), and Casey Northern of Century.
97-Kiana Soloria of Kamehameha Maui was the MIL runner-up a year ago and Malia Refamonte of Lahainaluna was third. Meaghan Chow of St. Thomas More was fourth in British Columbia.
220-The final could be between a pair of returning state placers: Sydney Ibarra of Baldwin and Aimee Shiraki of Konawaena.
The meet has more than 300 wrestlers from 23 schools, including the debut for Kapaa - the Kauai Interscholastic Federation is wrestling for the first time this season.
The Lunas have claimed the last seven Maui Interscholastic League boys team titles and are seeking a fourth in a row for the girls. Both squads could contend for the Neighbor Islands' first state team titles.
Bubba Jaramillo, a 140-pound junior, has some catching up to do after missing the state tournament with third-place finishes in the MIL championships each of the last two seasons - he placed behind a teammate both times.
"My sisters are pretty tough, I believe they can compete for a title," he said. "When I wrestle my sister, she doesn't even feel like a girl, she feels like a guy. I'm so proud of them, they work so hard, just as I do. They have their names on the (state-placer) board already and I'm pretty stoked. It definitely gives me the drive to even get my name on the board."
All three joined other Lahai-naluna wrestlers in Mainland summer tournaments, and Bubba rang up a 24-2 record.
Hayase said Kim Ball, a Lahainaluna assistant and Surfrider coach, has been instrumental in the Jaramillos' development on and off the mat.
"They are a real product of Kim Ball, he's a real mentor to these kids," Hayase said.
Ball added, "At the Napili room, the best competition was often between themselves. They were never afraid to mix it up with each other."
Precious Jaramillo said she wants to lead her younger siblings, but it's not a hard job.
"I try, but they got it though," she said. "They are two good wrestlers."
As for going against her brother or sister: "We don't like to, but if we have to we do," she said. "I can't go hard against my sister for some reason, I don't know why."
Even though state medals hang on the wall at home for each sister, Precious Jaramillo said Bubba is the best in the family. Kapu seconds that.
"I learned to push myself when they do well, just to keep up with them," Kapu said of her siblings. "I go against my brother sometimes, but it doesn't work out too well. We used to wrestle around the house when we were little and if he was beating me, I would call to (Precious) for help."
Wrestling is a topic for conversation at home and school among the trio "every day," Kapu said.
This MIT will be the first without Ivey. The former Baldwin coach died last month at 84.
"Tonight or tomorrow night I definitely will sit down with this team, myself and coach Kim, and we will address and talk to the wrestlers about who Garner Ivey was as a man and as a coach because he means so much to everybody," Hayase said.
* Robert Collias is a firstname.lastname@example.org