Irving, TX (May 7, 2021) – USA Wrestling held their first Women’s Junior World Team Trials after taking a year hiatus in 2020. Over 300 of the Nation’s best women from across the 50 states came out to battle for a spot on the USA Wrestling Women’s Junior World Team. Hawaii’s Tiare Ikei dominated her way into the finals and won her best 2 of 3 in the finals to earn herself the 53kg National Championship Gold Medal and a berth to represent Team USA at the 2021 Junior World Championships in Ufa, Russia scheduled August 16-22, 2021.
Ikei went undefeated 6-0 out scoring opponents 50-3 with 4 tech falls & 2 pins including a highlight 4 point throw straight into a pin over Collegiate National Champion Jaslynn Gallegos in the finals to secure her spot on the Junior World Team. Her performance was extraordinary considering she had sustained a bad concussion which sidelined her from training and competition including having to miss out on the opportunity to compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials held last month.
“This was the most emotional and challenging 3 months of my wrestling career. My symptoms were unbearable at times and it put me in a very dark place emotionally. I struggled many times to keep a positive outlook and broke down in tears too many times to remember. But my faith in God, my family, coaches, teammates and all the people I have around me kept myself motivated to overcome my obstacles and keep doing my best in controlling the things I can control and take small steps forward to getting better” states Ikei. “My dad shared with me Max Holloway’s story on how during the pandemic Max never did any sparring and went on to have a dominant performance in his UFC fight. So we took that concept and made a calculated risk on not doing any live sparring and focus on my strength & conditioning and doing a lot of visualization and working on my drilling techniques with my coaches. I guess you can say I was blessed by Blessed.”
Skye Realin (Kamehameha-Kapalama Senior) stepped back on the competition mat for the very first time in over a year and had an outstanding performance in the 59kg division. She finished the tournament with a 5-1 record and notched wins over National Champion & 3x Hawaii State Champion Nanea Estrella as well as pinning Collegiate All-American Phoenix Dubose in the Bronze Medal Match where she earned herself a spot on the USA Junior National Team. Estrella went on to finish the tournament 5-2 and earned herself an All-American 5th place finish.
Two other Hawaii women wrestlers also competed in the Junior division: Haley Narahara (Kamehameha-Kapalama, Junior, 53kg) and Kyara Tagami (Kalani/Southern Oregon University, 55kg).