Big battles on tap at state judo

Macy Higa, left, will have to negotiate a tough bracket to win her second state judo title. Dennis Oda / Star-Advertiser
Macy Higa, left, will have to negotiate a tough bracket to win her second state judo title. Dennis Oda / Star-Advertiser

All eyes will be on Iolani’s Dane Yamashiro as he goes for his third state title at the Atlas Insurance Agency state judo tournament at the Stan Sheriff Center tomorrow, but the early rounds will be filled with drama on the girls side.

Three different brackets contain more than one state champion, beginning with the 112-pound class where Pearl City’s Mikayla Abe and Mililani’s Miyu Wise reside. Abe and Wise are on separate sides of the bracket but Abe would have to beat top seed Taryn Ichimura of Punahou on her way to the final.

Macy Higa of Roosevelt and Kalani’s Zoe Tateyama both have state titles to their credit and are on opposite sides of the 129-pound bracket. The other tournament with a possible clash of state champions is at 154 pounds, where Pearl City’s Jackie Fuamatu and Kamehameha-Hawaii’s Kayla Araki are on opposite sides. Fuamatu is the top seed there.

Kahuku’s Teniya Alo will be going for her second state crown after winning one with Iolani as a freshman. She is the top seed at 139 pounds.

The boys side is led with Yamashiro in the 285-pound class but he isn’t the only one going for multiple titles.

Moanalua’s Noah Wusstig is trying to repeat after taking the 121-pound class last year and Kapolei standouts Jayson and Andre Pagurayan are trying to reclaim titles after winning in 2014 but failing to reach the top of the podium last year.

For all of Yamashiro’s brilliance, joining this list might be the most impressive. With another state crown in judo, he would earn his fifth gold in combat sports, something only five other boys have done.

most combined state titles in combat sports (wrestling and judo)
8–Josh Terao, Mid-Pacific
6–Daniel Chow, Punahou
6–Dane Pestano, Kamehameha
6–David Terao, Mid-Pacific
5–Brandon Low, Saint Louis

The tournament begins at 10:30 a.m.

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