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Police Activities League - Wrestling

Youth Sports

(Thu) December 10, 2009

Edward Jackson (OIA Contributing Writer)

Future stars of high school sports meet regularly on Saturday mornings at various Oahu Interscholastic Association high schools to participate in an all-day affair of amateur wrestling. This past Saturday at Leilehua High School, youths ranging from age four to 14 gathered to compete in one of the bigger tournaments of the season which features both girls and boys.

These tournaments, sponsored by the Honolulu Police Department as part of its Police Activity League program, take place each Saturday during the Fall and Spring months. The youths participate as members of teams from all over Oahu and location of the event changes each week.  Admission is free and there’s plenty of mat action with up to six matches taking place simultaneously.
The youths wrestle within a group according to their age with the younger participants completing in two rounds of 30 second matches and the older competitors grappling for two minutes of three round matches. Each wrestler competes against every person in their individual group. The wrestler with the best record at the end of the day within that particular group wins.

The wrestlers say the tournaments offers excitement and a chance meet new friends. “Its fun and there’s lots of kids here. I meet new friends every week,” said Raymond Saragosa, age 10 from Kamehameha Elementary.

“It’s a good challenge because there’s a lot of good wrestlers an if you wrestle one of them you’ll get better every time. We train really hard and do conditioning at every practice. We run a lot of drills and learn some moves then do live wrestling to practice to try it out,” said Saragosa, who won all four of his matches on Saturday to win first place in his group.

Saragosa says he has learned the value of determination. “If you really want to wrestle you gotta give it your all. If you’re confident, you will win your match. You can’t ever give up,” the second-year participants said.

“There are a lot of kids from my school and right now we’re on different teams. But if we wrestle until high school then we’ll all be on the same team and it will be an awesome team too. My coach told us that if we keep doing our best until high school that we might get scholarships to go to college so I’m gonna keep going,” Saragosa added.

Matt Rosen, assistant coach of the Kalihi Scorpions, said the main goals of these tournaments are to provide a setting for learning the fundamentals of the sport of wrestling and to give the youths encouragement in development of positive living habits.


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