The way back machine takes us to 1968, 1969 and 1970, when Tatsuhiko Hikiji won state wrestling championships while competing for Kaimuki.
He was the first boy to do it three times in Hawaii, and now his daughter, Erin Hikiji, is a freshman wrestling for Mililani. She is going for third place at 97 pounds Thursday afternoon at the Texaco/HHSAA State Wrestling Championships.
“I think she’s actually a good wrestler, yeah,” Tatsuhiko Hikiji said. “She’s learned a lot by watching and by doing and slowly she’s listening to what we have to say to her. She’s getting better and it’s starting to show. A lot more to go, but I think she’s going to get there. She is working toward certain goals and certain things she wants to do.”
He was asked to compare these days to those glory years.
“During the days when I was wrestling, the competition was a lot more mental. There used to be a lot more thinking and reasoning things out a lot more. The ability to compete and do well was a lot more technical, whereas today, it’s more of a combination of technique and physicalness. Today, they’re a lot more physical than mental.
“Coach used to try to tell me that I have to believe in myself and that was the hardest thing for me to do. I never had much confidence in myself and belief in myself that I can do things. That’s what I’m trying to get Erin to understand. She has to believe in herself in order for her to succeed.”
Erin Hikiji didn’t think she would get this far.
“I was pretty surprised with myself,” she said. “I hope (to go farther) next year. My dad has taught me a lot, the basics — and from there I’ve worked on things and he reviews my matches and stuff.
“He’s really humble. I didn’t even know about his (three state championships) until a few years after I started wrestling at age 6. My mom told me all about it.”
Erin Hikiji will wrestle Baldwin’s Liana Ferreira, the MIL champ, for third place.