Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Big Island Judo Championships

   Waiakea’s Aryn Meguro became a four time Big Island Interscholastic Federation judo champion this past Saturday at Kealakehe.

    Meguro, who was injured after suffering a concussion during the second week of the season, competed in the 98 weight for the first time in her four year career.

    “During my freshman year I was bumped up one weight class to win the BIIF championship at 109, then in my sophomore and junior years I played at 103,” Meguro said.

   After returning to competition just two weeks ago Meguro decided to drop a weight class to play at the 98 pound weight division.  “I needed to lose three pounds in order to play at this division so I started to run more and eat healthier,” Meguro said.

   During her junior year Meguro had injured her left elbow during state competition and finished in sixth place.  “I’m not that confident playing at 98 pounds because I’ve never played at that weight class and I have never competed against any of the girls at that division,” she said.

   “But I felt that I may have the best chance at placing at states by playing at the lighter division.”  Meguro beat her BIIF opponent by ippon and she used a left hip throw or seoenage to accomplish her victory.

   “I’ve been involved in judo for ten years and I have a brown belt,” Meguro said.  “I’m now hoping I can finish my senior year with a good showing at the state championships.”

   Kamehameha sisters, Jenna and Megan Aina also came away with BIIF titles.  Jenna (122), a junior and three time BIIF champion, needed to beat Kealakehe’s Jodi Ozaki in the finals to claim her title.

   The match was a quick one for the elder Aina as she won by Ippon in the first seven seconds using a hip throw.  “I used one of my favorite throws, an Ipponseoenage,” she said. 

   Jenna Aina has been in judo for eight years and holds a black belt, shodan.  As a freshman she placed fourth at state and as a sophomore she captured a fifth place finish.  “I hoping I can win it all at states this year,” she said.

   Megan Aina (103) is just a freshman and as talented as her older sister.  The younger Aina used a seoenage, left hip throw, to win her match quickly over Kealakehe’s Mindy Lorance. 

   “I started judo when I was young and Jenna and I love it,” Megan said.  “We have a younger brother in the eighth grade and he’ll be doing judo with us next year at Kamehameha.”

   The upset of the day came in the 109 weight division as the top two seeds, Hilo’s Iris Hirayama and Kamehameha’s Kanoe Padaken were the heavy favorites coming into the championships.

    Third seed, Kamehameha’s Ariel Young, rose to the occasion and upset both Hirayama and Padaken to claim the BIIF crown.

    Young, a senior, had never won a BIIF title and was not expected to reach the finals of her weight class as the two higher seeds, Padaken and Hirayama, had defeated her earlier in the season.

    “I really surprised myself today,” Young said after her victories over Padaken and Hirayama.  “I never expected to win today and just came out in a go for broke attitude.  I did try to strategize during the matches, but I felt I had nothing to lose.”

    Young defeated her teammate, Padaken in the first round and in the finals matched up with the Hirayama, the defending champion at that weight class.

    “Ariel (Young) put in a lot of effort and practiced harder than most,” Kamehameha coach, Calvin Enoki said.  “She relaxed and reacted and managed to pull off a major upset on the day.”

    “Ariel’s match against Iris (Hirayama) lasted nearly four minutes and she scored two half points to pull out the win,” Enoki said.

     “I just worked harder and stayed after practice.  I didn’t go in thinking I was going to win and I just looked at the matches today as another match.  I stopped thinking hard about the match and just went in and tried to relax and react,” Young said.

   In the boys division it was Waiakea’s Ericksen Kohatsu (132) winning his third BIIF championship.  As a sophomore Kohatsu had won the 121 division and had since dominated the 132 weight class.

    In the finals Kohatsu faced Hilo’s Michael Yagi and used an ipponseoenage or right hip throw to win by ippon during the first minute of competition.

    “I just was trying to do my best because it was my senior year,” Kohatsu said of his BIIF title.  “Coach Yonemori (Waiakea’s first year judo coach) has given me confidence and I like that he is strict with us.”

    “I have never placed at a state meet before and I am just hoping to go in and do my best and perform at 100 percent,” Kohatsu said.

    Warrior teammate, Tyler Yonemori, also came away with a BIIF title while competing at the 145 weight division.

    Yonemori, who is coached by his father, Gregg Yonemori, needed to get by Kona’s Joey Phipps in the finals to win his first BIIF title.

    Using a left side throw, seoenage, within the first two minutes of the match, Yonemori clinched the coveted crown.

    “I had a couple of hard matches today.  I’ve been in judo for ten years and carry a black belt, shodan,” Yonemori said.

    Last year Yonemori hurt his back during the second week of BIIF competition and was not able to compete in the BIIF championships.

    “I will keep training hard and give 100 percent and at states I will go and do my best,” he said. Both Warriors, Kohatsu and Yonemori, had unblemished records during the BIIF season.



April 27, 2009 - Posted by | Events, High School Judo | , , , , , , , ,

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