Hawaii natives Tiare Ikei and Nanea Estrella headlined a strong performance by Hawaii wrestlers at the Women’s National Championships in Omaha, Nebraska this past weekend.
Normally, the event would have been billed as the United World Wrestling Junior/U23 Women’s World Team Trials, but after the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the event back from May it created a joint event with the previously canceled Junior/U23 World Championships to creat the National Title events in the midwest.
On Friday’s opening day, Ikei. a former Hawaii Technology Academy student and 2018 state champion started the day off in the most stacked division of the tournament with 4 World Team Members competing. Ikei dominated her way through the first 2 matches winning by fall and took out the top seed & World Team Member Alisha Howk in a tough battle winning 9-1 decision in the semifinals. In the finals match Ikei met up with another World Team member Felicity Taylor and put on a great performance winning by Tech Fall 12-1 and earned her first UWW Junior Women’s National Title.
Ikei’s performance earned her the Outstanding Wrestler Award for Junior Women.
Maui’s Nanea Estrella, a Lahainaluna graduate who made her mark on the state of Hawaii, winning four straight state individual titles over her prep career started off her Junior National Championship run with a close match winning 11-10. From there, she picked up steam and dominated her way to her first Junior National Championship Title by pinning her opponent in the semifinals and then defeating World Team Member Vayle Baker in impressive fashion with an 11-0 technical fall win.
Five other Hawaii women wrestlers also competed in the Junior division: Ashley Gooman (50kg – 4th
Place), Paige Respicio (59kg – 6th Place), Waipuilani Estrella-Beauchamp (59kg – 7th Place), Alizeih Villalpando (53kg), Ashlee Palimoo (62kg). Gooman, Respicio & Estrella-Beauchamp earned All-American honors by finishing in the top 8 in their respective divisions.
On Saturday’s second day of the event, four women finished with All-American Honors in the U23 National Championship: Tiare Ikei (53kg – 3rd), Waipuilani Estrella-Beauchamp (62kg – 3rd Place), Paige Respicio (59kg -5th Place), Ashley Gooman (50kg – 6th Place).