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ASHSAA Wrestling season begins with 300 in attendance

The American Samoa High School Athletic Association (ASHSAA), wrestling season began with a big bang, as it just held its first regular season tournament this past Saturday at Samoana High School, with just over 300 people in attendance to watch these elite athletes from seven different high schools — the South Pacific Academy Dolphins, Samoana Sharks, Kanana Fou Stallions, Nu’uuli VocTech Wildcats, Leone Lions, Faga’iuta Vikings and Tafuna Warriors — with even a few wrestlers from the elementary school level competing.

The Lions, who were the overall winner of the preseason tournament on Saturday January 14, set the pace for this year’s season, coming into this first regular season opening tournament with less than half of the wrestlers it had in the preseason, due to what head coach of the Lions Zena Iese said was due to the flu, as it definitely showed.

The Lions ended up taking 3rd place overall, with Tafuna, taking 1st overall and Faga’itua placing 2nd, both, taking advantage of Leone’s hurting starting lineup. At the end of the day, only 1 point (Tafuna 59/ Faga’itua 58) separated the two teams.

Another surprise of the tournament, was when last year’s all around Most Valuable Wrestler Bruce Scanlan from Kanana Fou, who previously competed in the 163lbs class, jumped up to the 167lbs class, leaving the door open for John Ludgate Jr. from Tafuna, who was Scanlan’s toughest opponent so far this season and last season in the 163lbs class. Scanlan and Ludgate Jr. were both able to take 1st place in their weight classes.

Two top wrestlers this season are Abraham Siatu’u from Samoana High School, who wrestles in the 220lbs weight class, and Leone’s Unlimited weight class (above 264lbs) wrestler Eric McMullin, were both out of action last Saturday, no doubt to the flu. They are expected to both take their weight classes in this year’s championships. Their absence left a big impact on their teams last Saturday, with Samoana taking 6th place out of the seven schools.

Another wrestler that is in contention for ASHSAA Most Valuable Wrestler of this season,  did not compete last Saturday, either. Nathaniel Tuamoheloa from Nu’uuli VocTech, who wrestles in the 187lbs weight class was a no show, with no word yet on whether he will be competing in this Saturday’s tournament.

If Tuamoheloa does return this coming Saturday, he will most likely be matched up against another highly looked at competitor in Jr. Tuigamala Iosefo from Tafuna, who just returned from the Oceania Wrestling Championship that were held in Sydney, Australia from January 27-29.

The next tournament will be this coming this Saturday, February 11, at Faga’itua High School, home of the Vikings. The tournament will have a starting time of 9:00 a.m. President of the American Samoa Wrestling Association, Ethan Lake would like to invite the public out to this next tournament.

“We had a great turnout on Saturday for the start of the ASHSAA wrestling season. I want to thank host school Samoana for doing a great job. I want to invite the public out to the next tournament which will be taking place at Faga’itua High School. The competition is getting better and better, due to great coaching and more kids wanting to join their school’s team, which makes the competition better to watch. I also want to thank those parents of the wrestlers and supporters who have been helping make this season successful one,” said Lake.

Here are each team’s points and placing:

1st            Tafuna 59

2nd            Faga’itua 58

3rd            Leone 48

4th            Voc-Tech 42

5th            Kanana Fou 39

6th            Samoana 25

7th            South Pacific 14

First place wrestlers:

92lbs            Niles Tuamoheloa -VocTech

110lbs            Nolan Tuamoheloa -VocTech

119lbs            John Scanlan -Kanana Fou

139lbs            Cavey Tupai -Leone

145lbs            Sione Lui -South Pacific

152lbs            Abraham Tiumalu -Faga’itua

163lbs            John Ludgate Jr. -Tafuna

167lbs            Bruce Scanlan -Kanana Fou

187lbs            Jr. Tuigamala Iosefo -Tafuna

220lbs            Brandon Ripley -Faga’iuta

264lbs            Daniel Etuale -VocTech

UNL            Alexander Elenio -Tafuna

There were no wrestlers that competed in the 101lbs and 128lbs weight classes last Saturday.