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4 in a row for Iberra


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POSTED: Sunday, April 26, 2009

Taylor Iberra doesn't need to think out her moves.

With refined techniques, her reactions are pure instinct, as they were in a win over Tryslynn Nakamoto of McKinley in the girls 98-pound division final of the Oahu Interscholastic Association judo individual championships last night at Moanalua High School.

Iberra captured her fourth OIA title and will defend her state crown—she's won three in her three attempts—in two weeks. Iberra, a two-time state wrestling champion, is unbeaten in judo this season.

Yesterday, it was a kata garuma followed by a right-side ippon seonage (forward throw) by Iberra that completed her OIA season with another gold medal.

“;I always try to keep a positive attitude,”; she said. “;No matter who's in front of me, they're going down.”;

Her mastery of the sport was obvious all year. She faced only two challengers during the regular season before defeating all four of her foes in yesterday's tournament.

Kalani junior Megan Yamaguchi defended her title in the 122-pound division by defeating Kayleen Kobashigawa of McKinley. Yamaguchi's comeback is remarkable. Two months ago, she suffered a dislocated elbow in the state wrestling final. Her doctor initially recommended that she take a few seasons off due to the extent of the injury.

However, after taking a month off to heal, she rehabbed well and came back strong.

“;My doctor took my cast off early and I started working out,”; said Yamaguchi, who is also the defending state champion at 122 pounds.

Moanalua seniors Branen Yamamoto and Rachael Ostovich had a memorable night in more than one way. Ostovich took the 139-pound girls title win a win over Pearl City's Lacey Katakura. A few minutes later, Yamamoto defeated Kyle Yamauchi of Mililani for the boys 178 title. Within another hour, they hurried to their senior prom as dates.

There was no way they'd pass up the OIA championships.

“;I dedicated everything to judo and cheerleading,”; said Ostovich, who is also an all-state cheerleader. “;Even though prom is more important to a girl, it's our senior year and we've worked so hard (in wrestling).”;

Their choice of color theme for prom wear?

What else: gold.