Mililani All-American wrestler Erin Hikiji in scholar-athlete mode

Erin Hikiji (center) enjoyed her trip to Fargo, N.D., with her mother, Candice, and father, Tatsuhiko, last summer. Hikiji earned All-America honors at the Junior Nationals. Photo courtesy of Candice Hikiji.

Erin Hikiji doesn’t really keep track of wins and losses on the mat, but she certainly knows her grade-point average.

The Mililani state champion in wrestling and judo is off to a strong start this season. Hikiji won her first four matches, or so she thought. It’s her mother, Candice, who actually keeps count. Hikiji is 6-0 with three pins and three technical falls.

At 97 pounds in 2020, she won a state wrestling title. At 102 pounds this year, she’s prepared to stay put, move up or move down depending on what the Trojans need.

In Tuesday’s edition of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Mililani coach Jamie Keehu compares her to former Saint Louis and Cornell All-American Travis Lee.

Hikiji gained prep All-American status last summer by placing fourth at the Junior Nationals in Fargo, N.D. She is on a roll with a 4.5 GPA as a senior (4.1 cumulative). It makes her father, former three-time state champion Tatsuhiko Hikiji, and mother proud.

In 2010, the Hikiji ohana enjoyed a trip to Paradise Cove. Photo courtesy of Candice Hikiji.

Erin Hikiji’s lockdown staples

Top 3 movies/shows

1. “Criminal Minds”

2. “Jujutsu Kaisen” (Crunchyroll)

3. “Haikyuu” (Crunchy Roll)

“The two animes, one is fantasy with monsters and the other is about volleyball. My mom watches ‘Criminal Minds’ and I started watching it in middle school.”

Top 3 food/drink/snack

1. Sushi

“Anywhere, honestly. Maybe Ninja Sushi (in Mililani). I really like their Superman roll. I don’t know what they put in it, but it’s really good.”

2. Pasta

“I like spaghetti. My mom makes it with meat sauce. I’ve made it once, but she helps me.”

3. Donuts

“I really like Crispy Creme doughnuts. I don’t think anyone sells the glazed donuts like they do. They’re hard to find. I like Zippy’s donuts, too.”

Homemade favorite

“When I was younger, my dad used to make this stew. I think he got the recipe from my grandpa. It’s a vegetable stew with some meat. It takes awhile to make it so we don’t eat it that often.”

Top 3 music artists

1. Joji – “Like You Do”

“I think he was born in Japan, but he doesn’t sing in Japanese.”

2. Clairo – “Drown”

3. Rex Orange County – “Pluto Projector”

Favorite athletes: Yui Susaki and Helen Maroulis.

“Yui is short, so it’s just seeing someone kind of like me wrestling in the Olympics, and she won (gold). She’s in the lightest (weight class), 50 kg, around 110 pounds.

“I think (Maroulis) won the Olympics in Rio. She does a lot of leg sweeps. She’s pretty fast when she does it.”

Favorite class: Art

“At my school, we have drawing and painting, so I’ve taken it every year. I like drawing portraits. I drew someone I found off Pinterest. If I draw someone in my family and it’s bad, I don’t want them to see it.”

Who would you like to draw?

“I would draw my mom.”

Favorite teacher: Mr. (Steven) Schiek.

“He was my ninth-grade English teacher. Honors class. I spent a lot of time in his classroom and talked to him a lot about anything. He asked me about wrestling.”

Funniest teammate: Jacinta Fonoti.

“She just always cracks me up. It’s her personality.”

Teammate most likely to coach one day: Tristan Nitta.

“We do these mock drills and I hear her coaching and she’s really experienced. She’s been around wrestling a long time. She’s a real good example.”

New life skill: driving.

“I’m supposed to take my driver’s test soon, but there’s a lot of things going on. I like it. It’s just a little scary at times.”

Bucket list: Japan, Europe.

“I just want to travel, maybe go to Japan and Europe. Maybe like France or Spain.”

Hidden talent

“I don’t think I have one.”

Time machine

“I think I’d want to go in the future, maybe like 100 years just to see what it’s like, out of curiosity. I’d like to see what kind of technology is there.”

Shout outs

“My parents, they do a lot for me.”


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