Lahainaluna wrestler Nanea Estrella made her mark on the state of Hawaii, winning four straight state individual titles over her prep career. She is just the sixth girl in state history to accomplish the feat and the second from Maui. Her name was officially etched in Hawaii history when she was one of 12 names inducted into the HHSAA Hall of Honor last week.
“I felt so much pride because I was able to represent my school and state and be a part of so much amazing athletes,” she told KHON2’s Alan Hoshida. “I’ll be on a long list of names that has people who are really good athletes and they’ve made a big impact on the world.”
But the accolades didn’t stop there. The next day, she received a call informing her that she was receiving the Tricia Saunders High School Excellence Award by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Okla. The award is given to the top high school female wrestler for accomplishments on and off the mat.
“It was honestly such an amazing feeling,” Estrella said. “Just the timeframe of the Hall of Honor and the national award, I was like ‘Wow, this is where my hard work really does pay off.’”
Estrella finished her high school career with an 82-4 record, with no losses in an HHSAA tournament. She also lettered in track for the Lunas, competing in the 4×100-meter relay, 4×400-meter relay, 200-meter dash, 400-meter dash and long jump.
Estrella was also involved in the Maui community away from the mat and track. She tutors fourth grade students and is also a member of Lahainaluna’s Aloha Club that performs a variety of community outreach activities including food drives, beach cleanups and preparing and serving meals to the homeless.
“As I grew older and I kind of grew into my roles in the wrestling community and my real community, I kind of realized I’m making a good impact. A bunch of people had told me ‘Thank you for helping our kids, thank you for doing all of this stuff.’ I didn’t know that it was going to happen like this but I’m glad that I have been able to be a part of so many people’s lives and make everything special for them,” she said.
“My parents, they raised me to always give back to the community and just being able to help them and boost them up, it means more to me than any award that I could receive because I feel like if I help others, it’s better for the community and it’s better for the world.”
Estrella finished second at both the Cadet Nationals in 2018 and the Junior Nationals in 2019. She also won both the freestyle and Greco-Roman events at the 2019 Western Regionals. In addition to placing third at the 2019 Cadet World Team trials, she earned a triple crown and was named the top in Greco-Roman at the Turf Wars in Pocatello, Idaho.
Estrella will now wrestle for Menlo College in Atherton, Calif., a powerhouse in the college wrestling ranks, where she’ll major in marketing business. With all the opportunities wrestling has provided her, she has no intention of slowing down.
“Menlo has just been a dream school of mine,” she said. “I always looked at it as a school that I would love to go to because it’s so close to home and their program is such an amazing program.
“It’s honestly just so amazing that it’s been able to take me as far as it’s going to. I just am so happy that it has led me to the place that I am today.”