MMcKinley’s Risa Higa was one of the unluckiest wrestlers at the first day of the state championships at Blaisdell Arena on Friday.
Or was she somehow lucky?
Well, as draws go, it wasn’t so good. After pinning Kauai’s Sierra Kalama in the first round at 132 pounds, Higa got to go up against one of the best wrestlers the state of Hawaii has seen — Kamehameha’s Teshya Alo, who had a first-round bye.
Alo’s credentials are awesome. She is a world champ, a three-time state champ and she will be going to the Olympic Trials in April.
Everyone planning to attend the finals at the Blaisdell on Saturday expects Alo to win her fourth state crown, so Higa virtually had no chance in the quarterfinals. She was pinned in 40 seconds.
“I wasn’t as nervous as I should have been or usually am because I knew I had nothing to lose,” Higa said. “I didn’t really do what I usually do. I just kind of backed away, but I did feel good that I blocked one of her shots. It was like 40 seconds, but I heard her matches usually end in like 15 seconds, so I was kind of proud of that.
“I think she (Teshya) is really confident at what she does. I think I’ll do way better (in the next match, wrestlebacks). I don’t really have anything to worry about. I used to play her when I was a little kid. I used to do judo and she used to beat me all the time, so it was kind of like it used to be.”
Higa, who won a state judo title last year, has a chance to finish third today. After her loss to Alo, she went on to pin Campbell’s Shavelle Espindola in the first period to move into the consolation semifinals.
If Alo becomes an Olympian or, dare we say, an Olympic champion, Higa will most definitely remember her 40 seconds on the mat against Alo in 2016.