Today was the final day of the state tournament.

There were some major thrills, but overall I feel a little bummed out. Over the past three seasons Moloka’i high school has put together a pretty solid team, considering the size of the island, and how popular wrestling is. One of the toughest kids I’ve coached to date is Clinton Manley, a senior at the high school this year who has taken 2nd in the state the last two years.

This year he was going for another finals berth, and hopefully a victory in the last match of his high school career. After his near upset in the semifinal round, (where he was trailing 5-1 going into the third round, and came back to win it in overtime) he made it to the finals where he faced a really tough but beatable kid. He was trailing in the match, when he was almost put on his back (BAD), but inverted (a great high school and college move), but he received NO points, not even an escape. This might sound foreign to most people reading this, but let me tell you this……He should have received 5 points for that. The problem is, Hawaii officials lack the skills to officiate a match properly. They rarely see higher-level college competition, and rarely call a match right. Well, unfortunately, Clinton lost the match, and for the 3rd straight year, he was the runner-up. The entire crowd thought the referee in the match was ridiculous. I must agree. Following the tournament, we were able to share some laughs, some great food, and talk story with most of the kids from the team. Clinton’s dad, a pastor, and the coach of the team this year, was taxed. It was an exhausting day. To go from anticipating a champion, to settling for second again, carries with it a crazy swing of emotions. I’m bummed.

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