Kapolei edges past Moanalua for boys judo title


MANOA — The boys state judo title is staying put in Kapolei.

The Hurricanes got top-three individual finishes from all five of its entrants to edge second-place Moanalua to retain the team title for an unprecedented fourth consecutive year at Saturday's Atlas Insurance Agency/HHSAA Boys Judo State Championships at Stan Sheriff Center.

Kapolei scored 58 total points to 48 for Moanalua. Iolani was third with 40 points and Mililani and Punahou tied for fourth with 36 points.

No one was more surprised by the result than Hurricanes' first-year coach Jason Yanase.

"That's crazy. I mean, all the odds were against us, but the boys fought real hard, they knew what was at stake and they got it done," Yanase said.

Kapolei's lone individual winner was senior Andre Pagurayan, who defeated Mililani's Kaden Tallman by ippon (full point) one-minute and 53 seconds into their 114-pound title bout.

"I never do think that I win as an individual, because I know whenever I win, that's everybody's victory and that's the sweetest thing that I could ever think of and that comes to heart," said Pagurayan, who captured his second state title in three seasons.

Mere minutes after his twin brother's victory, Jayson Pagurayan claimed third place in the 121-pound bracket with a win by ippon over Roosevelt's Maxwell Higa.

"I was actually playing the same time that (Andre) was playing, but as he was playing he got scored on and I panicked in my match, but I don't know how, but I was able to get my focus back on my match and he was able to finish on top, too," said Jayson Pagurayan, who also won an individual title as a sophomore two seasons ago.

Yanase praised the leadership of both Pagurayan brothers, as well as fellow seniors Aaron Sotoa and Isaac Alapai over the course of the year.

"Throughout the season they've been the ones driving the bus and carrying everybody along," Yanase said. "Jayson battled through many injuries stemming from wrestling and he just kept going and kept going. They just stepped on the pedal at all times. Alapai, Sotoa, you know, they came in, we asked them to be leaders and they led and they carried everybody along. They pulled everybody along and made the team real tight; It felt more like a family."

Sotoa turned in a runner-up finish at 220 pounds, as did freshman Rodan Salangdron at 132. Alapai added a third-place showing at 285 pounds.

The quartet of seniors leave behind a legacy of four team championships in four seasons.

"For all the seniors — me, Alapai, Aaron and Jayson — ever since our freshman year we've loved the sport, we've loved each other and now as a senior and having Rodan as a freshman we really wanted to have him feed off of our energy and we wanted him to take part of our legacy as well," said Andre.

The Hurricanes found a way to peak at the right time. They finished third in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Western Division regular season and were bounced from the OIA team championships in the quarterfinals three weeks ago.

"We knew it was a long shot knowing that from last year we lost three of our hard-hitters, but for the most part, we prayed, we practiced hard and we believed in each other and I think we've got to thank God and everybody that brought us up to here," Andre said.

Iolani senior Dane Yamashiro was successful in his bid for a third straight individual crown. He defeated Kahuku's Lennex Alo by ippon in his final match of a decorated prep career.

"It definitely wasn't easy," Yamashiro said. "It was good to see all my sensei's in the stands cheering for me because I was so nervous going into the match. It doesn't get any easier. No matter how much you prepare, you always get those nerves."

Yamashiro threw Alo with a right-side harai-goshi (sweeping hip throw) to end the bout at the 1:43 mark.

"I played him in wrestling," Yamshiro said of Alo. "He's super strong, he has good technique. He goes to Kahuku and I practice out at my club and a lot of them are Kahuku and Castle kids, so going against him was kind of hard but he was definitely a worthy opponent."

Moanalua sophomore Noah Wusstig made it back-to-back titles with his win by ippon over Kapolei's Salangdron in the 132-pound final. It was a rematch of last week's OIA championship, which Wusstig also won.

"He's a pretty tough opponent and I knew I was going to see him in the finals again this week," said Wusstig, who won states at 121 pounds last year.

Chase Wusstig, Noah's older brother, won his first state title Saturday. The junior improved upon a runner-up finish at 132 pounds last year by topping his Moanalua teammate, Trigg Salvador, by ippon.

"It's pretty exciting. Hearing both Wusstigs on the top of the podium is a great feeling," Chase said.

McKinley had a pair of individual titlists in Daniel Ochoa (178 pounds) and Laulii Iosefa (220). Other winners were Waipahu's Hunter Nagatani (108), Iolani's Colby Watase (121), University Lab's Zachary Bell and Kalani's Kailer Okura (198).

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].




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