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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, July 13, 2002

Eight Hawai'i girls on All-American wrestling team

By Dennis Anderson
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawai'i's status as a female wrestling power-hub was affirmed yesterday when eight local girls were named on the TheMat.com/ASICS Girls High School All-American Wrestling Team.

Three were chosen second-team All-America, three on the third-team and two received honorable mention.

Hawai'i ranked third behind California (17) and Michigan (9) in selections. Minnesota had seven. The 72 wrestlers selected (42 on three teams and 30 honorable mentions) come from 20 states, demonstrating the growth of girls wrestling from a handful of states two years ago.

Seven of Hawai'i's ASICS All-Americans also were selected on Wrestling USA Magazine's All-America team last month. Only seniors were eligible for that team.

Named Second Team ASICS All-Americans were:

  • Shani Alvarado, a senior at Moanalua High School from Mililani, middle weight (122 to 140 pounds);
  • Stephany Lee, Moanalua senior, upper weight (over 140 pounds);
  • Anna Tong, Kaiser senior, upper weight. Tong is the only Hawai'i repeater from the 2001 team.

Third Team:

  • Melissa Fukushima, Punahou senior, light weight (100 to 121 pounds);
  • Jennifer Miyahara, Mid-Pacific senior, middle.
  • Caylene Valdez, Moanalua junior, light.

Honorable mention:

  • Melissa Orden, McKinley senior from 'Ewa Beach, light.
  • Debbie Sakai, Mililani junior, light

Alvarado, Lee and Fukushima all won gold medals at the U.S. Girls Wrestling Association national championships on March 24.

"The selection criteria prevents Hawai'i girls from being on the First Team since we do not participate in the non-folkstyle events, such as the senior nationals," Pac-Five coach Keith Matsumoto said.

"Still, what great recognition this is for our girls and our state in the world of girls wrestling."