(Here’s a follow-up interview with ‘Iolani coach Dan Nishita, whose boys team won the ILH judo title on Saturday. The meet ended at 10:20 p.m. and team point totals were not released until 10:30 p.m., well past our normal deadline.)
Three individual champions and a huge contingent of point earners made it a special night for the ‘Iolani boys judo team on Saturday.
With Jordan Ng leading the way — he won his second individual title in as many years — the Raiders won their first ILH judo championship, according to coach Dan Nishita.
The Raiders amassed 131 points in the total that includes regular-season competition. That was just enough to edge perennial judo powerhouse Punahou, which finished with 121.
“I’m very proud of our boys. They worked hard and they deserve it,” said Nishita, a second-year head coach. “I don’t think we’ve won a boys ILH tournament. We’re making progress.”
Nishita said his team had a mere six-point lead heading into Saturday’s tournament.
“All our boys stepped up,” he added. “We can build on this for the future. Judo’s actually a new sport in the ILH. We started building this up four years ago. Most of our guys are in-season players.”
Some of them, like standout Spencer Kiehm, are multiple-sport athletes who play judo only during judo season. Most don’t belong to judo clubs, though somehow that didn’t stop the Raiders.
Nishita chuckled at the irony. Is there a benefit to coaching judooka who only play three months out of the year?
“None that I can think of,” Nishita said.
Team totals, boys: 1. ‘Iolani 131, 2. Punahou 121, 3. Kamehameha 93, 4. Pac-Five 77, 5. Damien 46, 6. Saint Louis 6.
Team totals, girls: 1. Punahou 132, 2. Kamehameha 99, 3. Pac-Five 60, 4. ‘Iolani 6.
Complete individual results were not available after the meet. They will be posted when received from the league.