Story by Nick Abramo,
Posted with permission from Bedrock Sports Hawaii
On top of the mountain for a moment before the fall back to reality.
That’s just the life of many a judoka or wrestler — or athlete for that matter.
Take Pearl City’s Joedon Kapihe, for instance.
He was a GIANT killer on Saturday before getting beaten in the 220-pound final of the OIA Judo Championships at the Leilehua gym.
But what a semifinal match Kapihe had.
His teammates were telling Kapihe he was likely going to get beaten by Moanalua’s Karter Nitahara, the No. 1 seed. But instead, Kapihe found a way to beat Nitahara.
“It kind of looked like a tackle, but I caught him with an ippon,” Kapihe said. “It was five seconds. Everybody was hyping me up, saying ‘Bro you’re going to lose to this guy.’ Even my friend said if you can beat this guy in the first minute, I’ll give you 10 bucks. And I didn’t see him. I think he owes me 10 bucks.”
So why was this an upset? Well, we don’t want to get our sports mixed up too much, but Nitahara is coming off a state championship wrestling season where he went undefeated and won every match except one by pin. On top of that, he was named Bedrock Sports Hawaii’s No. 1 pound-for-pound wrestler at season’s end.
Kapihe was confident going into the 220 final, but knew he would have his hands full with Kapolei’s Rodstan Salangdron. Sure enough, Salangdron got it done, upending the pesky Kapihe by ippon for the league championship.
Kapolei’s Rodstan Salangdron, above, won the 220-pound division at the OIA championships on Saturday. Pearl City’s Joedon Kapihe, below, scored a big upset to make the title match.
“The victory was hard-earned,” said Salangdron, whose older brothers Rodman and Rodan also wrestled and participated in judo for the Hurricanes. ‘”You gotta work hard and if you don’t you can’t get the good result you want. Just try your best.”
Here is a link to video of Kapihe’s upset of Nitahara (fast forward to the 22-second mark): https://bit.ly/3Lg93bE. It’s an instagram post from Nitahara who also has his victories on the day on the clip and who writes, “You win some, you learn some.”
Aiea’s Quinn Bruce Is A Champion In First Year Of Judo
Aiea senior Quinn Bruce was up to about 350 pounds during the pandemic.
He got down to about 291 and was headed for the OIA wrestling championships at 285 when he hyperextended his arm and missed the OIAs and states.
Now, he’s at 271 and at the tippity top of the mountain — for now anyway — as the OIA 285-pound judo champion in his first year in the sport. He beat top-seeded Jin Ro of Roosevelt in impressive fashion by ippon in the final.
“They had us up there in the warmup room waiting for a long time and I was tired as all hell from warming up that whole time,” Bruce said. “He (Ro) was talking up a storm, asking me if I thought I was going to win. I don’t know if he was trying to get in my head or if he was just nervous. We come down here and he tried to throw me with my planned throw and I just took him with a back throw and got on top of him just in case it wasn’t an ippon. It was the second time I faced him. I beat him both times, but he’s an awesome person and he’s really good at judo.”
Waipahu’s Dallas Inis Improves One Notch
Waipahu’s Dallas Inis is a tough customer.
In wrestling, she won the OIA Western Division championship. In judo, she got just as far, winning the OIA Western judo championships last weekned.
On Saturday, the Marauders senior took it a step further, beating top-seeded Baylee Maki of Moanalua for the 122-pound OIA title.
“It is a great feeling,” Inis said. “I’ve been doing judo since my freshman year, but really didn’t play the last two years because of COVID.”
Waipahu’s Dallas Inis is the new 122-pound OIA judo champion.
Inis did not place in states in what was her first year of wrestling, but she can try to do so in at the Atlas Insurance Agency/HHSAA Judo State Championships May 7 at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Roosevelt’s Kuwabara Brothers Prevail In Rugged Championship Matches
In back-to-match matches, Roosevelt’s Brendan Kuwabara (121) and Tyler Kuwabara (132) became OIA champions in rugged matches.
Brendan defeated Kapolei’s Ryker Shimabukuro, and Tyler topped Pearl City’s Anakin Mendoza. Both victories were by wazari.
Wrestling Champ Brycen Pagurayan Applauds Opponent After Title Match Loss
In a great show of sportsmanship, Kapolei’s Brycen Pagurayan applauded Moanalua’s Brady Lee after the top-seeded Lee won their 198-pound title match by ippon.
Pagurayan was the 170-pound state wrestling champ and finished No. 4 p4p by Bedrock Sports Hawaii.
Mililani’s Erin Hikiji Chooses Prom
Mililani’s Erin Hikiji was going for the 98-pound title and made it all the way to the final, but decided to attend prom Saturday night instead.
Due to the forfeit, Campbell’s Kaylie Zeller earned the championship.
In her career, Hikiji, a senior, won two wrestling state titles and one judo state title (2019).
Pearl City’s Taydem Uyemura Disqualified In 129-Pound Final
Pearl City’s Taydem Uyemura knew she did something wrong pretty soon after she gave Moanalua’s Rachel Oshita a two-handed shove during the 129-pound final. Several times, Uyemura put her hand over her mouth, as if to say, “I didn’t really mean it.”
The referees ruled Oshita the winner by disqualification (han-soku make), and Uyemura — who was ahead at the time of the call — vacated what would have been a runner-up finish.
Moanalua’s Blaze Sumiye Keeps On Clicking
Moanalua’s Blaze Sumiye, a two-time wrestling state champion (including the 160-pound title in March), captured the 178-pound OIA crown with a quick, smooth victory by ippon over Kapolei’s Joseph Keo in the championship match.
The Top Seed Is Victorious In 14 Of 20 Title Matches
The top seed won all but six championship matches.
Non-top seeds who wound up with titles were Pearl City’s Ryley Puahala (161), Mililani’s Victoriana Kim (115), Salangdron, Quinn, Zeller and Inis.
2022 OIA JUDO CHAMPIONSHIPS PLACERS
(How the champions won their final match is in italics)
>> 1. Kaylie Zeller (Campbell), by forfeit
>> 2. Erin Hikiji (Mililani)
>> 3. Anjala Pablo (Waipahu)
>> 4. Gabrielle Hayashida (Moanalua)
>> 5. Janelle Yasay (Waipahu)
>> 6. Hayden Low (Pearl City)
>> 7. Zaylee Aguda (Campbell)
>> 8. Arina Terada (Kalani)
>> 1. Sage Beltran (Moanalua), by ippon, 2:51
>> 2. Jessie Valdez (Campbell)
>> 3. Maya Lianeza (Moanalua)
>> 4. Brevely Weimer (Kalani)
>> 5. Regine Ragmac (Campbell)
>> 6. Chelsea Becera (Farrington)
>> 7. Noumea Cornelio (Waipahu)
>> 8. Julyah Coloma (Waipahu)
>> 1. Kayla Shota (Moanalua), by yuko
>> 2. Makena Abe (Pearl City)
>> 3. Josmin Manog (Kapolei)
>> 4. Rylie Yamashiro (Kalani)
>> 5. Jenny Do (Kaiser)
>> 6. Jasmine Aquino (Mililani)
>> 7. Jandrew Paguiringan (Aiea)
>> 8. Karis Sensano (Kaiser)
>> 1. Victoriana Kim (Mililani), by ippon, 2:47
>> 2. Kamaile Yasumura (Moanalua)
>> 3. Kaytie Conselva (Waipahu)
>> 4. Kaipo Akioka (Kailua)
>> 5. Jacquelyn Reilly (Pearl City)
>> 6. Kasie Tomomitsu (Moanalua)
>> 7. Dacsi Furuya (Castle)
>> 8. Sydnee Pule-Nicholas (Mililani)
>> 1. Dallas Inis (Waipahu), by ippon, 1:34
>> 2. Baylee Maki (Moanalua)
>> 3. Jeylan Arakawa (Kailua)
>> 4. Briley Tolentino (Campbell)
>> 5. Zoe Kuikahi (Waipahu)
>> 6. Yalexia Lemos (Roosevelt)
>> 7. Terrysa Uyeno (Waianae)
>> 8. Paige Allen (Campbell)
>> 1. Rachel Oshita (Moanalua), by han-soku make
>> 2. Spot vacated
>> 3. Monique Young (Kalani)
>> 4. Phuơng Huynh (Kalani)
>> 5. Ava Gostage (Campbell)
>> 6. Cassidy Ginoza (Mililani)
>> 7. Timena Godinet (Waipahu)
>> 8. Leanne Ramel (Leilehua)
>> 1. Jessica Dixon (Moanalua), by ippon, 3:50
>> 2. Sara Bernades (Radford)
>> 3. Sage Ridep (Campbell)
>> 4. Ayla Jackson (Roosevelt)
>> 5. Mia Manzo (Pearl City)
>> 6. Ana Nabua (Waipahu)
>> 7. Cierra Capitie (Leilehua)
>> 8. Hailey Jade Omoso (Kalani)
>> 1. Zylee Kuikahi (Waipahu), by ippon, 1:12
>> 2. Kaui Lee-Tynan (Kapolei)
>> 3. Nohi Kukonu (Moanalua)
>> 4. Kalei Yasumura (Moanalua)
>> 5. Grace Tran (Roosevelt)
>> 6. Leslee Solomon (Pearl City)
>> 7. Parker Neely (Kaiser)
>> 8. Aliaamani Scroggins (Kapolei)
>> 1. Taryn Titcomb (Moanalua), by forfeit
>> 2. Eden Baguio (Moanalua)
>> 3. Kaitlyn Nagai (Pearl City)
>> 4. Audreanna Ahsan (Kapolei)
>> 5. Nahokulani Silva (McKinley)
>> 6. Ladayna Arenas (Nanakuli)
>> 1. Jasmine Adiniwin (Moanalua), by wazari
>> 2. Malia Samoy (Kahuku)
>> 3. Janelle Mattos (Waipahu)
>> 4. Prenalynn Raymond (Leilehua)
>> 5. Kanoe Paulino (Kapolei)
>> 6. Atinnayah Hazen (Pearl City)
>> 7. Veisinia Tulimaiau (Leilehua)
>> 1. Josh Estabilio (Moanalua), by ippon, 3:47
>> 2. Caden Guevara (Mililani)
>> 3. Jayce Pascua (Pearl City)
>> 4. Zachary Tadeo (Campbell)
>> 5. Isaiah Ancheta (Waipahu)
>> 6. Jayden Higuchi (Kapolei)
>> 7. Joss Okutsu (Aiea)
>> 8. Jaezyn Ramos-Semana (Campbell)
>> 1. Diego Flores (Moanalua), by yuko
>> 2. Hayden Mendoza (Waipahu)
>> 3. LJ Oki (Kapolei)
>> 4. Roy Yoon (Mililani)
>> 5. William Nicholas (Farrington)
>> 6. Spot vacated
>> 7. Gage Matsui (Moanalua)
>> 8. Corbin Caldonetti (Castle)
>> 1. Brenden Kuwabara (Roosevelt), by wazari
>> 2. Ryker Shimabukuro (Kapolei)
>> 3. Jake Ginoza (Pearl City)
>> 4. Kyler Tallman (Mililani)
>> 5. Dayven Hom (Roosevelt)
>> 6. Jacob Samson (Mililani)
>> 7. Kaleb Miura (Campbell)
>> 8. Jaeden Muramoto-Kilantang (Pearl City)
>> 1. Tyler Kuwabara (Roosevelt), by wazari
>> 2. Anakin Mendoza (Pearl City)
>> 3. Jet Okura (Kalani)
>> 4. Joshua Julian (Kapolei)
>> 5. Tanner Hiromasa (McKinley)
>> 6. Jarrett Nochi (Moanalua)
>> 7. Koen Shigemoto (Mililani)
>> 8. Zachary Omanaka (Pearl City)
>> 1. Teagan Salvador (Moanalua), by yuko
>> 2. Chance Garcia (Kapolei)
>> 3. Natawut Liwirun (Aiea)
>> 4. Gerick Ragudos (Aiea)
>> 5. Jake Kuwabara (Roosevelt)
>> 6. Rawlins Fukuda (Roosevelt)
>> 7. Jordyn Morifuji (Pearl City)
>> 8. Elias Bermudes (McKinley)
>> 1. Ryley Puahala (Pearl City), by forfeit
>> 2. Branson Lazo (Moanalua)
>> 3. Ezekiel Higa (Roosevelt)
>> 4. Byron Brown (Leilehua)
>> 5. Christian Jacob (Moanalua)
>> 6. Kaana Aarona (Roosevelt)
>> 7. Alek Pang (Aiea)
>> 8. Patrick Yuasa (Mililani)
>> 1. Blaze Sumiye (Moanalua), by ippon, 3:46
>> 2. Joseph Keo (Kapolei)
>> 3. Matthew Yadao (Roosevelt)
>> 4. Joseph Pagdilao (Pearl City)
>> 5. Patrick McHugh (Castle)
>> 6. Alex Bajet (Aiea)
>> 7. Kaden Bastian (Campbell)
>> 8. Jack Miller (Kahuku)
>> 1. Brady Lee (Moanalua), by ippon, 2:18
>> 2. Brycen Pagurayan (Kapolei)
>> 3. Kai He (Roosevelt)
>> 4. Jonathan Teramoto (Pearl City)
>> 5. Logan Saiki (Moanalua)
>> 6. Schyler Pascual (Campbell)
>> 7. Travis Tanaka (Aiea)
>> 8. Justin Kealakai (Nanakuli)
>> 1. Rodstan Salangdron (Kapolei), by ippon, 3:08
>> 2. Joedon Kapihe (Pearl City)
>> 3. Karter Nitahara (Moanalua)
>> 4. Aydan Bringas (Aiea)
>> 5. Keaka Kurahara (Moanalua)
>> 6. Bryson Adad (Nanakuli)
>> 7. Caleb Collado (Waiaphu)
>> 1. Quinn Bruce (Aiea), by ippon, 3:52
>> 2. Jin Ro (Roosevelt)
>> 3. Nainoa Stevenson (Leilehua)
>> 4. Christian Paleafei (Moanalua)
>> 5. Kaiden Writesel (Radford)
>> 6. Trace Ader (Aiea)
>> 7. Darison Garcia-Nakoa (Kapolei)
>> 8. Jamin Kawaivillanueva (Nanakuli)