Valdez finds harmony on judo mats | News, Sports, Work


Baldwin High School’s Gabriel Valdez scores a victory by wazari in his boys’s 161kg match with Maui High’s Kalai Vickers during MIL judo meeting no. 3 on Saturday in Kamehameha Maui. Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER Photos

PUKALANI – Gabriel Valdez is laying the groundwork for a college wrestling career at Oregon State University – he is currently using the sport of judo to help with that journey.

Valdez, the third in the state with 160 pounds this year in wrestling, is undefeated in Maui Interscholastic League judo after a 2-0 appearance Saturday at MIL meeting no. 3 at the Kaulaheanuiokamoku gym on the Kamehameha Maui campus.

Valdez, who plans to walk to OSU, has been a judoka since he was 5 years old in Wailuku Hongwanji.

“To finish my top year strong after finishing third in the states for wrestling, you know, I’m going for that medal.” said Valdez after his first match on Saturday. “Wrestling is my main sport, judo is my side. Judo helps me wrestle, both with strong hips and upper body. Wrestling helps in judo with your game on the ground and other things.

“They somehow, like, harmonize together.”

King Kekaulike’s Miya Lu fixes Maui High’s Diana Cantos in a 139 match for girls.

No MIL judoka has won a state championship.

“Definitely a state title, try to make history.” Valdez said when asked what his goal is this season. “It would be sick, it would be very good.”

Caese Calaro, the third-place winner with 5 145 on Saturday, is Valdez’s training partner at the Baldwin training room. The second student started competing in judo three years ago.

“I feel good, I’m getting back to the movement of things and I just started to get up.” Calaro said about the lack of sport last season due to the pandemic.

Calaro said his goal this season is to “Go to the state tournament and get a shot.”

Kamehameha Maui Brenden Hanada wins ippon on Saturday against Molokai Tyren Takenaka by 121 pounds.

On Saturday there were a total of 45 competitors in a sport that MIL is working to develop.

“It’s a pretty big weight category, 145, and there are some tough people out there.” said Calaro. “And I like to compete against them.”

Brenden Hanada is a brown belt, one step below the black belt on the eight-color belt scale. Black belt the highest level of sport.

Hanada, a Kamehameha Maui senior, won the boys’ 121kg title on Saturday – he has been doing the sport for 11 years.

“It feels great,” Hanada said she was back on the MIL rugs for the first time since she was a first year student. “Judo is my only sport and being deprived of it was not the best thing. Being home alone for the last two years is very boring.

Maui High’s Shaelyn Perreira (left) throws King Kekaulike’s Krystal Valoroso on her way to victory with ippon at 129.

“Now to go out here and do my favorite sport is really fantastic. “I’m happy to do my last year of high school.”

Hanada knows how difficult the Atlas Insurance / HHSAA state tour will be when it takes place around May 7 at the Sheriff Stan Center.

“I hope to put in states, at least as in fifth or sixth place, because there are a lot of good people.” tha Hanada. “I hope to be better than them, to train hard, to beat them.”

Hanada, a team captain, has been admitted to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and plans to be a pilot. First, he is enjoying for the last time in high school the sport in which he excels.

“It’s a great team and I love all my teammates. tha Hanada.

He plans to practice the sport of judo for many years to come. His club is Makawao Hongwanji Judo Club.

“Hopefully, yes, that’s my goal – I want to be a black belt.” he said.

Molokai had seven competitors in the meeting and won four of the girls’ titles on Saturday. Farmer Dulauchelle lapa, a young woman, won the 129A class for girls.

“It’s very exciting because my sisters, my two older sisters, have also been in judo.” tha Duvauchalle. “And seeing them play, I really like playing. This is my first year, actually. I’m not in any club. The first year I started playing judo, but that was the year COVID happened and I couldn’t even compete.

“We are all beginners, so at the moment we are all very excited. Right now we have seven (judokas), but there are more at home – they are all in matura now. We have a great team. “

Kamehameha Maui coach Ron Hiyakumoto said the sport is growing at MIL despite the small number currently.

“They basically just started … we started in March, so they basically only had a month to prepare for the season.” tha Hiyakumoto. “So they are doing well, they are coming together. Some kids have done judo before, so they are fine, but some people are completely young and they are doing well.”

Hiyakumoto was a referee when he was not coaching on Saturday. He has been involved in this sport for over 30 years.

“Some of them this is the only sport they do, so they have waited three years to do it, to get back on the judo mat.” tha Hiyakumoto. “So we have to be very happy.”

* Robert Collias is at


MIL Judo Meeting no. 3

Saturday Results • Top 3

In Kamehameha Maui


108 pounds – 1. Kaimana Reys-Hammond, Baldwin; 2. Uzziel Domingo, King of Kekaulike.

121–1. Brenden Hanada, Kamehameha Maui; 2. James McCall, King of Kekaulike; 3. Kody Sakamoto, Kamehameha Maui.

132 A – 1. Bradin Nitahara, Kamehameha Maui, 2. Justen Patague, Maui High, 3. Tony Passetti, Maui High.

132 B – 1. Donovan Taylor, King of Kekaulike; 2. Bennett Takahama, Kamehameha Maui; 3. Randyn Cabreros Molokai.

145–1. Alden Johnson, King of Kekaulike; 2. Race Takahashi, Maui High; 3. Caese Calaro Baldwin.

161–1. Gabriel Valdez Baldwin; 2. Kalai Vickers, Kamehameha Maui; 3. Kevin Kahoohanohano, Kamehameha Maui.

220–1. Kaiwahawana Ho, Kamehameha Maui; 2. Jasyah Macugay, Kamehameha Maui.


98–1. Anjolie Manaba Molokai; 2. Daphne Takahashi, Maui High; 3. Hiilei Roman, Kamehameha Maui.

103–1. Kaylie Okuni, King of Kekaulike; 2. Hayley Sedino, Maui High; 3. Jamilyn Higa, Kamehameha Maui.

115–1. Leinaala Patricio, Kamehameha Maui; 2. Kili’ohu Duvacuhelle Molokai.

129A – 1. Olapa Duvacuhelle Molokai; 2. Josie Vierra-Naleieha, Kamehameha Maui; 3. Ella Semamonty, King of Kekaulike.

129 B – 1. Shaelyn Perreira, Maui High; 2. Krystal Valoroso, King of Kekaulike; 3. Ava Takahama, Kamehameha Maui.

139–1. Miya Lu, King of Kekaulike; t2. Mia DiRienzo, Maui High; t2. Zaysha-Maelee Keawe, Kamehameha Maui.

172–1. Soni Han Molokai; 2. Vivien Bennett Felipe, King of Kekaulike; 3. Shalin Chun, Maui High.

220–1. Molokai Pig Trail; 2. Zeriyah Kaina, Kamehameha Maui; 3. Alyxia Lyons, Kekaulike King.

The latest news of today and more in the inbox

(function(d, s, id) {
var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];
if (d.getElementById(id)) return;
js = d.createElement(s); = id;
js.src = “//”;
fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);
}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.