Kamehameha sophomore Anela Manuia competes in judo, golf and soccer and runs cross country and in her spare time slays giants.
Manuia pulled off one of the biggest upsets at the HHSAA judo championships on Saturday night at the Stan Sheriff Center on Oahu.
In the 172-pound division, Manuia defeated Konawaena senior Kapoina Bailey, the defending champion, for the title, earning her first state gold medal.
Bailey is no ordinary opponent either. She belongs on the list of the all-time greats for judo and wrestling. She has state gold in both sports and is a two-time BIIF champion in each discipline.
At the BIIF championships, Bailey beat Manuia to repeat in the 172 class. The loss served as an intel-gathering mission for Manuia, who filled her notebook.
Last year at states, Manuia won a match, lost her next two and didn’t medal. However, she was competing in the 154-weight division, a step down from her normal weight.
She finished second at BIIFs at 154. Manuia was a team player, not wanting to bump heads with a teammate at BIIFs.
A year later and two weeks of hard practice and a focused mindset put her over the top.
“I feel very accomplished,” Manuia said in an interview from Oahu. “I really worked hard the past two weeks. I thought about technique instead of power. Power is not as effective as technique. I wanted to make sure I put everything I learned on the mat.
“When I played her at BIIFs, I was nervous and that got into my head. This time, I knew I had to be focused and have my head in the game and know that nothing could stop me.”
Manuia credited Kamehameha coach Lyn’Al Nosaka and club coaches Buck Wheat, Ron Takeya and Craig Kurakazu.
Golf and judo may seem to be strange partners. One sport is about taking an opponent to the ground. The other is all about hitting a stationary little ball.
Her dad is Jaysen Manuia, the Kamehameha golf coach. So that makes sense.
Her state gold gives her a trump card over her brother Kua Manuia, a 2016 Kamehameha graduate, who was on the BIIF championship team in ’16, the school’s first and only title.
“I couldn’t have done it without my parents (Jaysen and Janna ). I would have lost sight of my goal,” she said. “They supported me, as all as my coaches and judo classmates and teammates.”
As a youngster, she shadowed her brother, who played football and baseball and golfed. But she found her way into judo.
“I wanted her to learn discipline and respect from judo and see if she enjoyed it,” Jaysen Manuia said. “Our whole family has been into martial arts. She would follow Kua and do push-ups like him.
“I could tell she was confident. She was smiling and last year she looked dehydrated. Everything aligned.”
Following are results for the BIIF girls:
98 pounds: Samantha Yamamoto, fifth, Waiakea. Yamamoto was third last year and second in 2017.
109: Lilianna Campbell, fifth, Hilo. It’s her first medal at states. She was the BIIF champion.
115: Ashley Lavarius, second, Hilo. It’s her first medal at states. She was the BIIF champion.
122: Raelyn Ai-Yoneda, fourth, Waiakea. She was fifth last year and in 2017. She is a four-time BIIF champion.
129: Hula Kahookaulana, second, Hilo. It’s her first state medal. She is a four-time BIIF champion.
172: Anela Manuia, first, Kamehameha. It’s her first state medal. She is a two-time BIIF runner-up.
172: Kapoina Bailey, second, Konawaena. It’s her third state medal. She is a two-time BIIF champion.
172: Lilliane Toledo, sixth, Hilo. It’s her first state medal. She was third at BIIFs.
220: Sanoe Kihe, fourth, Konawaena, It’s her first state medal. She was second at BIIFs.
220: Leona Toledo, fifth, Hilo, It’s her first state medal. She was first at BIIFs.
Following are results for the BIIF boys:
108: Kyler Dela Cruz, sixth, Waiakea. It was his first state medal. He was second at BIIFs.
114: Aden Leyson, sixth, Waiakea. It was his second state medal. He was second last year at 108. He was the BIIF champion.
121: Ben Vento, second, Waiakea. It was his first state medal. He was second at BIIFs.
“It was a semi-surprise,” Waiakea coach Jason Tanaka said. “Going in, he was unranked and pulled of a couple of key wins to get to the finals. He’s a tough kid.”
132: Caleb Shimaoka, fourth, Waiakea. It was his second state medal. He was second at BIIFs.
178: Dean Miura, fourth, Waiakea. It was his first state medal. He was the BIIF champion.
178: Travis Madamba, sixth, Keaau. It was his first state medal. He was second at BIIFs.
198: Isaac Ingall, fourth, Waiakea. It was his second state medal. He was the BIIF champion.
198: Diver Pulgados, sixth, Hilo. It was his first state medal. He was fourth at BIIFs.
220: Kalsey Nacis, fourth, Waiakea. It was his first state medal. He was the BIIF champion.
285: Hailama Anakalea, third, Konawaena. It’s his second bronze at states. He’s a two-time BIIF champion.