On Saturday, May 5, the MHS Judo team competed in State Championships, bringing home titles for both girls and boys judo teams. Senior Mitchell Funasaki won the State Championship title alongside Junior Mayu Wise who claimed her 3rd state title soon after she had won the OIA Championship title days before, on April 28.
“I had two goals: to make Team OIA Championships with both girls and boys team, and to win my 3rd state title. I accomplished them by training hard everyday during and off season,” said Wise.
Wise became interested in judo at a young age, taking up the sport at four years old. Because of her dedication to the sport, Wise trained with both the judo team and YMCA judo club to improve. “I trained usually 5 or 6 days a week, year-round, doing judo, running and strength training,” said Wise. “During season I would focus on doing judo more by going to high school practice and club practice after.”
Throughout the season, the team faced many challenges such as cutting weight before matches. In order to get into certain weight classes, they must work towards losing weight before a weigh in. Weight classes are one of the determining factors of who will be up against which opponent in a match. Commonly, they try to lose weight by cutting out snacks, restricting fluids and sweating water weight. “I told myself that no one has trained as hard and as much as I did throughout the year,” said Wise. “But more than me motivating myself, my teammates and coaches motivated me a lot, which got me this far.” State Champion runner up Senior Tayler Otsuka added, “I turned to my family friends and coaches for the extra support and comfort I needed.”
The teams bonded together off and on the mat, creating friendships that last long after the season is over. “My favorite moments were stepping on the mat with the girls team during team season,” said Wise. “I also loved going out the night of every tournament with the team.”
Each person competing focused on their tactics in order to reach their goals. “I visualized my matches the night before states. I thought about my game plan and how I would fight,” said Wise. “I just thought about how it will all pay off at the end—that I have to just push through these hard times by giving my full effort and not give up.”
Wise had expected the season to be difficult and worked towards improvement as a team player and a person. “I learned not only judo from this season, but many life lessons, such as to not give up until the very end,” said Wise.
With the season coming to an end, the judo team has already begun to prepare for the upcoming season to defend their title. “I felt very happy, especially right after my finals match. But it also makes me feel more pressure for next year and motivates me to train even harder,” said Wise. “I would say that this season was definitely the hardest one yet, but was a lot of fun at the same time.”
Next season, Wise hopes to win her fourth state champion title alongside her teammates.