The Maui News 2019 MIL Judo All-Stars

Estrella-Beauchamp, Adric earn top honors

Baldwin High School’s Waipuilani Estrella-Beauchamp placed third at the state judo championships last month, becoming the first MIL girl to finish in the top three at states since 2016. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Baldwin High School juniors Waipuilani Estrella-Beauchamp and Bronson Adric shined on the Maui Interscholastic League judo mats this season.

The pair of Bears are The Maui News’ MIL Judokas of the Year after taking home league titles and being among the top league finishers at the state meet.

Estrella-Beauchamp topped off her year with a bronze in the 139-pound weight class at the Atlas Insurance Agency Judo State Championships last month, making her the first MIL girl to finish in the top three since 2016, when Molokai’s Ester Torres-Umi placed third at 154.

Estrella-Beauchamp was “so happy to place third” since that was her goal to start the year — that finish has now motivated her to place even higher next time.

“The season was good,” said two-time MIL champion Estrella-Beauchamp, who is also a two-time state champion in wrestling. “The coaches really did help me a lot. I would go to the dojo sometimes and they would really work with me and pull me on the side.”

The Bears’ Bronson Adric won the boys 145-pound MIL title this season. The Maui News file photo

But it was no easy task to achieve success, she said. After the judo season opener, Estrella-Beauchamp took a step back from competition to nurse a shoulder injury and focus on her academics.

“I was so mad because I’ve never really sat out before,” she said. “I’m glad I was able to participate in MILs because that was a really important one for me to make it to states.”

However, Estrella-Beauchamp put in hours of work and added that she “had really good partners” this season to help her perform at her best.

“Most of the time it was rolling with the boys and I think that really helped me a lot having the boys really push me and work with me,” she said.

Teammate Adric mentioned that he would practice with Estrella-Beauchamp and that she was “pretty good.”

“She’s strong,” he added.

One challenge Estrella-Beauchamp is also determined to overcome is clearly differentiating the rules of wrestling when it’s judo season.

“Since I’ve been doing judo, I’ve been wrestling longer, so sometimes my wrestling kicks in,” she said. “So, like, I know bridging you’re not allowed to do in judo, so that came really natural to me. I think that’s how I lost some points sometimes because some things in judo you can’t do but it came naturally to me from wrestling. It can be confusing but I know I could have done better.”

Before Estrella-Beauchamp rolls into her senior year, she plans to train and compete over the summer. Her first stop is Idaho, where she will participate in the Triple Crown wrestling competition.

She will also attend a wrestling camp in Fresno where “I’ll get to train with some Olympian guys,” followed by a national competition in North Dakota. Upon her return home, Estrella-Beauchamp hopes to participate in judo competitions, as well, but she also is starting to focus on college.

“I’m hoping to get a scholarship for wrestling and I want to keep my judo career up, too,” she added. “It’s my last year, so I have one more shot to at least get first or second (at states).”

Adric also has one more year to prepare for another state championship.

Last month was the first time the junior went to Oahu for state judo, in which he made it to round two of the 145-pound consolation matches.

After taking a break from judo his sophomore year, he wanted to pick it up again this season. From wrestling to judo, Adric stayed consistent, which led to an MIL title and a state qualification.

“That’s exactly what I wanted to do,” he said, short and sweet. “Next year, I’m just focusing on wrestling right now, trying to place at states. … Focus on judo after that.”

The rest of the MIL All-Star team consists of the other league champions. Estrella-Beauchamp is joined on the girls team by Kamehameha Maui’s Jillian Ikehara (98 pounds), Pearl Bachiller (103) and Taylor Watanabe (115); Molokai’s Hiwa Duvauchelle (109), Makani Davis (122), Cameryn Kahalewai (154) and Rosie English (172); and King Kekaulike’s Sarah Fusato (129). Adric heads a boys team that also includes fellow Bears Gabriel Valdez (132), Cobby Carino (220) and Aaron Hue Sing (285); Kamehameha Maui’s Maurice Vitcovich (108), Bradin Nitahira (114) and Ezekiel Matutino (121); Haleakala Waldorf’s Connor Fernandez (161), Molokai’s Christian Hubbard (178); and Maui High’s Kyairese Diego-Pula (198).

* Dakota Grossman is at dgrossman@mauinews.com