HIGH SCHOOL JUDO
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Moanalua's Liko Fukumoto, left, attempted a Seoi-nage throw on McKinley's Maria Behrens.
Pearl City, Punahou dominate
Even after the final matches had been completed, Punahou judo coach Gregory Chow still couldn't get a feel for where his team stood in the race for the state championship.
"After the finals I went to check the scores and I tried to total up where we picked up points and I just walked away saying it's too close," said Chow, whose Buffanblu led Pearl City by two points heading into the late stages of the HHSAA State Judo Championships yesterday afternoon.
After the numbers were tallied, Punahou and Pearl City both left the Stan Sheriff Center with a share of the boys team championship with 74 points each while Pearl City's girls won their second title by racking up 63 points to edge the Buffanblu.
Pearl City's Christian Pavo became the first four-time boys state champion as he completed an undefeated high school career with a win in the 161-pound division in leading the Chargers to their fifth state championship.
"Ever since I won my first I knew I had to do it," Pavo said moments after throwing Moanalua's Julian Garay to the mat to win a title in his third weight class. He won twice at 178 and last year at 198 before going back to his natural division this season.
"I was getting busted up (at 198). Everyone feels light (at 161), now I can pick everybody up."
The Chargers did much of their scoring in the higher weight classes, getting individual titles from Pavo, Aaron Puahala (198) and Tyler Lauifi (275).
It was a first title for Puahala, brother of Pearl City coach Robin Puahala, while Lauifi successfully defended his title.
"The four years I've been training for finally paid off," Aaron Puahala said. "My brother told me if all of us won, we would have the state title so I tried to do it for the team."
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Reiko Campos of Kamehameha beat Kalena Shiroma from Kamehameha-Hawaii by a pin but lost to Farrington's Tani Ader in the championship match.
Punahou's Chow family enjoyed a fruitful evening as well. Not only did Gregory Chow help the Buffanblu to a share of the boys title, senior Daniel Chow ended his career with his third championship, winning the 178 division. Chrissy Chow later gave herself a chance to some day pass Daniel's total by winning the girls 115-pound division as a freshman.
"It was pretty important for me but I felt it was more important for the team," Daniel Chow said after his match with Mililani's Matthew Ogata.
Though still a junior, Punahou's Arnold Toriumi also closed his career with a third state title, repeating at 132. He defeated Moanalua's Derron Maki by a koka in a matchup of nationally ranked competitors.
"It was big deal for me, because this was my last tournament for high school," Toriumi said, who transferred from Kalani as a freshman and is ineligible next year. "I didn't know what (Maki) was going to bring, so I tried to be more technical. ... (at the end of the match) I was still trying to fight with him so he didn't have a chance to attack."
Moanlua's Brady Lafortune also added to his collection, winning the 114 division after capturing the 108 title last year.
It was a long day for all of the finalists, but the person perhaps most in need of a nap was three-time girls 98-pound champion Taylor Ibera.
The Farrington junior was in Miami on Friday, where she won gold at the Pan American Championships. After an all-night flight, she arrived in Honolulu at 5:30 yesterday morning and was on the bus to the Sheriff Center at 7:30.
"My day was really hectic, but I tried to get as much rest as I can between the matches that I had," said Ibera, who has her sights on making the 2012 Olympic team.
"I worked really hard and I felt like I accomplished a lot today and yesterday. ... I really want to try to win a fourth state title so I really wanted to be back here."
Her teammate, Tani Ader, also claimed her third title as a senior, defeating Kamehameha's Reiko Campos by ippon in the 129 division. The victory ended 12 months of waiting for another shot at states after losing to McKinley's Lianne Tomishima -- who became the first girl to win four titles -- in the 122 final last year.
"That was in my mind from the end of that match to just now," Ader said. "At the end of the match I was relieved. If I didn't get a title, I wouldn't be satisfied at all."