Quality + quantity = title
Large freshman turnout helps Waiakea sweeps team finals
Of the 20 freshmen who burst through the school cafeteria doors and turned out for Waiakea’s judo team this year, not everyone was as seasoned as Samantha Yamamoto or Kolby Namnama.
“A lot had no experience, but we’re willing to teach anyone who is willing to learn,” coach Jason Tanaka said.
If there is one thing Tanaka has done this season, it’s teach.
During a good season, the Warriors will have 25-plus judoka, maybe 28 or 29 if they are lucky. This season, thanks in large part to the strong freshman turnout, Waiakea’s roster is 48 strong.
That’s more work – the rewarding kind – for Tanaka and his staff, and most if not all BIIF coaches will admit that depth, the ability to fill out as many as the 10 weight classes as possible, is half the battle.
“Getting them up to par to do judo well, that’s the other half,” Tanaka said. “I like to teach good judo and if we end up winning, that’s always a bonus.”
In this case, it was a double bonus. Two halves make a whole, and it added up to two championships Saturday at Konawaena as the Warriors swept the boys and girls titles for the for time since 2007.
Waiakea’s judoko go through drills Wednesday at the school cafeteria.