Foster High wrestling: tough sport that leaves lasting impression

Patrick Kalalau has coached at Foster for nine years, including a stint as football coach. He also coaches wrestling at Showalter; one of the middle-school wrestlers still with him is Cale Woyvodich.

Foster High’s wrestling team posed for a team photo last week. From left

Wrestling is a tough sport, says Foster High’s wrestling coach, Patrick Kalalau.

“But it will take them (his wrestlers) a long ways in life,” he says of the sport at which he excelled in high school in Hawaii.

Kalalau has coached at Foster for nine years, including a stint as football coach. He also coaches wrestling at Showalter; one of the middle-school wrestlers still with him is Cale Woyvodich.

Woyvodich is a junior who has placed fourth in the state wrestling tournament the last two years at 120 pounds. He can attest to the sport’s toughness – and Kalalau’s insistence on hard work.

“He pushes you to your limits,” says co-captain Woyvodich. “Hard work is something he drills into you. It’s something that we will have forever.”

Woyvodich’s goal this year is to win at state. He still has another year to reach that goal, but he’d rather have two championships than one.

He’s still figuring out what he’ll do after high school, but his coach says he has the talent to wrestle after he graduates.

On the mat since he was about 5 years old, Woyvodich wrestles nearly year-round, says his coach. “He’s good,” says Kalalau.

 

Last weekend, the wrestlers went to a tournament in Sultan, except for Woyvodich, who went to one with his father Ed (an assistant coach) that’s expected to draw state-caliber wrestlers.

Kalalau is certain Woyvodich will make it to state, hoping “he will go all the way.”

“It’s just a matter of being in the right state of mind,” Kalalau said.

Kalalau has about 15 wrestlers on his team, including a girl, junior Brittany Ra. She recently became eligible to compete but has been getting practice time on the mat.

In competition she’ll compete against girls or even against boys if both wrestlers agree to do so, said Kalalau.

Because Foster’s team is relatively small, as are other Seamount League wrestling teams, some wrestlers often don’t compete in league meets because they don’t have an opponent. So, wrestlers gear up for the post-season by going to tournaments – almost every weekend – to compete.

“We need the mat time,” he said. “That’s how the kids get good.”

Besides Woyvodich, who has wrestled at 126 pounds, Kalalau is anticipating that other Foster wrestlers will go to the regional tournament, including sophomore Luis Cuellar at 113 pounds and sophomore Mark Schenck at 132 pounds. Cuellar could make it to state, he said.

Others possibly headed to the post-season are co-captain David Patton and Daynon Jackson.

Cuellar, Woyvodich and Patton all won their matches by falls against Kennedy Catholic Jan. 9. Kennedy won 48-30.

Kalalau has lived the life of a high-school wrestler including the challenge of making weight. He wrestled at 138 and 145 pounds. He was close to a state championship.

“I didn’t make weight by senior year. That’s why I get so mad when our kids don’t make weight because that was my year,” he said.

Kalalau keeps coming back because of the positive impact his wrestlers say he’s made on their lives and to continue coaching his wrestlers from Showalter.

“That’s the biggest thing,” he says of what he hears from his wrestlers who keep in contact.

[flipp]

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