Punahou captures boys' title
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By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Leila Wai
Led by its underclassmen, the Punahou boys judo team broke a three-year stronghold by Pearl City to capture its first state title at the HHSAA Judo Boys State Championships at the University of Hawai'i's Stan Sheriff Center last night.
Punahou scored 90 points to capture its first team championship, becoming the first team other than Pearl City to win since the tournament's start in 2003. The Buffanblu easily outscored runner-up Pearl City's 51 points and third-place Mililani's 40 points.
"It feels great, a lot went into this; lots of hard work," Punahou coach Greg Chow said. "We have two freshmen as state champions, Daniel (Chow) also won as a sophomore, and they're the backbone of our team.
"It was definitely a goal (from the beginning of the year). Most of these players were on the team that placed second last year."
The Punahou boys had three individual champions in freshmen Reid Oshiro (114), Arnold Toriumi (121) and Chow (161).
"We wanted to help each other through individual victories to help the team," Oshiro said.
Seven others placed in the top six, with five earning points toward the team total. Individuals earned 16 points for first, 12 for second, nine for third, seven for fourth, five for fifth and three for sixth place.
If two judoka from the same team are in the same division, only the higher finisher earns points.
Oshiro upset 2005 champion Derron Maki of Moanalua to win.
"I was a little nervous because he's from my judo club," said Oshiro of Maki, his Salt Lake Judo Club teammate. "He's beaten me before. I just wanted to help the team to win."
McKinley senior Michael Fujiuchi became a three-time state champion, the first boy in the history of the tournament to do so.
"It feels great, I'm just overwhelmed," Fujiuchi said. "I can't believe I'm the first to do something in history."
All of Fujiuchi's titles were in the 132-pound weight division, with last night's against Punahou's Myles Mitsunaga.
"I knew how tough he was," Fujiuchi said of Mitsunaga.
Pearl City sophomore Christian Pavo (178) won his second straight title after defeating Mililani sophomore Matt Ogata.
"I felt bad and relieved at the same time," said Pavo, who has been a teammate of Ogata's at Leeward Judo Club since they were 5. "It's like I was playing my teammate, but I felt relieved because I was training for him all week."
Ka'u's Dylan Rush, competing in the 275-pound division, became only the second male judoka from a Neighbor Island to win a state judo title. Hilo's Johanson Quist won in 2004.Advertiser staff member Kalani Takase contributed to this report.
Reach Leila Wai at email@example.com.