Moanalua boys post strong showing at OIA championships


WAHIAWA — This was the result Chase Wusstig waited a year for.

One year — almost to the day — after he suffered a shoulder injury that forced him to forfeit his first-place match, the Moanalua junior got his redemption at Saturday night's Oahu Interscholastic Association individual judo championships at Leilehua's Paul T. Kobayashi.

Wusstig defeated McKinley's Quan Lac by ippon (full point) in the boys' 132-pound final to claim his first OIA title. In doing so, he avenged a loss to Lac in last weekend's Eastern Division championship finals.

"That match, I got caught," Wusstig recalled. "I made a mistake, but it helped me throughout the week to drive and push and to work hard for my win."

Le was penalized for non-combativity about a minute into the scheduled four-minute bout. Wusstig, however, didn't let it get that far. He threw Le with a well-executed left sode tsurikomi goshi (sleeve lifting pulling hip throw) for ippon with two minutes and 28 seconds left on the clock.

"I kind of hit double-sleeve throws throughout the day and I just saw the opening, I just took it and it worked," Wusstig said.

As a freshman two years ago, Wusstig placed third at 121 pounds. At last year's OIA championships, he reached the finals at 132, but hurt his shoulder in the match and was unable to continue against Kapolei's Anthony Brett — someone Wusstig considers a close friend.

Wusstig said he didn't let last year's episode affect him negatively Saturday.

Moanalua's Noah Wusstig defeated Kapolei's Rodan Salangdron in the boys 132-pound OIA final. CJ Caraang | SL    Purchase image

"Nah, it was more of a motivation kind of thing," he said. "Anthony Brett is a good judoka; he's super good and me and him used to go back and forth when we were little kids, but it was just more motivation."

Wusstig was one of three Moanalua judoka to win Saturday night. He joined junior Logan Garcia, who defeated Kaiser's Koby Chun by han soku make (disqualification) in the 121-pound final, and sophomore Noah Wusstig, Chase's younger brother.

Noah Wusstig, who won both OIA and state championships as a freshman at 121 pounds, remained perfect in his high school career by topping Kapolei freshman Rodan Salangdron for the 132-pound title just before his brother won his.

About 20 seconds into the match, Noah Wusstig scored a waza-ari — also with a left sode tsurikomi goshi.

"I like to use that throw, mostly when I play a tall kid," he said. "What I needed to do was shut him down from his top grip because he was taller than me, so I already had a game plan of what I needed to do and what I needed to accomplish to win that match."

Wusstig, a lefty, added a yuko about 30 seconds later to pad his lead and was largely in control of the match by out-gripping Salangdron. He scored a second waza-ari — and consequently, the ippon to end the bout — with a left uchimata (inner thigh throw) with just over a minute to play.

"I think the early score opened up a lot of things for me after that first shot, but I still feel like I needed to move him around more and make some openings," Noah Wusstig said.

Younger brother was all smiles when Chase won his title just a few minutes after him.

"It was very exciting. To see him win and the Wusstig brothers on top again, it's a very good feeling," Noah Wusstig said.

At least one other judoka enjoyed a reunification of sorts Saturday night.

Kapolei senior Andre Pagurayan won his second league crown by defeating Moanalua freshman McCade Ho by ippon in the 114-pound final. Pagurayan won as a sophomore at 114 pounds but came up short a year ago, losing in both the OIA and state finals to Mililani's Tayler Otsuka.

"That definitely makes this so much sweeter knowing that I'm a senior and I get to leave with an OIA title," Pagurayan said.

Pagurayan opened the scoring with a left seoi nage (shoulder throw) for a waza-ari. He scored a pair of yukos in a 15-second span later in the match and forced a pair of non-combativity penalties against Ho. Pagurayan eventually scored the ippon with a pin to end the match with 58 seconds remaining.

It was the second meeting between the two judoka this season. Ho beat Pagurayan when Moanalua faced Kapolei in a quarterfinal of the OIA team championships two weeks ago.

"He swept me for a yuko in that match and then later on I threw him after they had called ‘matte' (stop) and they called han soku make, so I did lose to him before this," Pagurayan said.

"That's when I realized that I had to change my playing style and I had to go back to how I used to play when I was a freshman, because this year I played a lot of big-man (judo), but I had to switch back to playing small-man (judo), so I was just firing left and right and just trying to catch him when he was off balance," Pagurayan said.

Pagurayan said the seoi-nage was not part of his usual arsenal of attacks in recent years.

"That's why I had to change up this past two weeks," he said. "I didn't fire a single seoi-nage when I played (Ho) the first time, but I felt pretty comfortable with it today because I had been firing it all day in practice with my practice partners."

The Hurricanes had one other individual titlist in 285-pounder Isaac Alapai.

Mililani claimed two divisions with Mitchell Funasaki winning at 108 pounds and Colin Ikei victorious at 161. Funasaki's twin sister, Meagan, also won Saturday, capturing the girls' 98-pound title.

Other individual winners were Castle's Kawena Esperas (178 pounds), Kalani's Kailer Okura (198) and McKinley's Laulii Iosefa (220).

The top seven boys in each weight class qualified for next week's Atlas Insurance Agency/HHSAA Judo State Championships at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].




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