Insight, News, and Opinion by Nick Abramo
  • June 25, 2022
Hawaii’s Tyger Taam And Akoni Kaaialii Scoop Up Rocky Mountain Nationals Titles


Hawaii wrestlers Tyger Taam and Akoni Kaaialii came back from Denver with first-place trophies they won last weekend in the Rocky Mountain Nationals wrestling championships.

Taam won 18U 132-pound titles in both folkstyle and freestyle competitions, and he is the reigning 132-pound Hawaii state high school champion who will be entering his sophomore season at Moanalua this fall.

Akoni Kaaialii and Tyger Taam won championships at the Rocky Mountain Nationals last weekend. The trophy is  for Taam’s for his folkstyle title.

Kaaialii, who will be a senior wrestling next fall at Kamehameha, captured his championship in the 18U freestyle 145-pound class. He also placed fourth in 145 folkstyle.

Those two wrestlers represent Hawaii’s Golden Back Wrestling Club. Another from that club, Thales Caballes, placed sixth in 12U 82-pounds freestyle.

The full results of three Golden Back wrestlers at the Rocky Mountain Nationals, which were held at the National Western Complex, follow.

Tyger Taam, 18U 132-pound folkstye champion

>> Round of 16: def. Troy Kinlicheenie (Arizona), 5-1
>> Quarterfinals: def. Blake Unruh (Colorado), fall, 2:35
>> Semifinals: def. Eddie Hughart (Kansas), 4-2
>> Final: def. Jason Ramirez (Arizona), 6-2

Tyger Taam, 18U 132-pound freestyle champion

>> Round 1: def. Austin McSwain (California), technical fall, 10-0, 1:03
>> Round 2: def. Ezekiel Miller (Alaska), technical fall, 12-1, 1:43
>> Round 3: def. Diego Sirio (Colorado), technical fall, 10-0, 0:27

Akoni Kaaialii, 18U 145-pound freestyle champion

>> Round 1: Bye
>> Round 2: def. Boden White (Colorado), technical fall, 10-0, 0:51
>> Round 3: def. Tommy Thomas (Colorado), technical fall, 10-0, 0:45
>> Round 4: def. Austin Eudaly (Colorado), 22-16
>> Round 5; def. Ethan Harrington (Arizona), fall, 0:29

Akoni Kaaialii, 18U 145-pound folkstyle, fourth place

>> Round of 16: def. Andrew Sheppard (Colorado), fall, 0:29
>> Quarterfinals: def. Ethan Thomas (Michigan), major decision, 12-2
>> Semifinals: lost to Gabe Maki (Kansas), fall, 1:58
>> Consolation round: def. Luis Co (Nebraska), major decision, 12-2
>> Third-place match: lost to Boden White, 8-6

Thales Caballes, 12U 82-pound freestyle, sixth place

>> Semifinals: lost to Ernesto Perez (Arizona), technical fall, 10-0, 0:25
>> Consolation round: lost to Quinn Humbert (Alaska), fall, 0:26
>> Fifth-place match: lost to Hayden Wambolt (Montana), technical fall, 10-0, 1:40

Thales Caballes, 11U 82-pound folkstyle, did not place

>> Quarterfinals: lost to Jaxton Bowler (Utah), technical fall, 15-0, 1:33
>> Consolation round: lost to Jacob Williams (Minnesota), fall, 0:44




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