Punahou sweeps state tennis team titles

May 7—Injuries and illness couldn't stop Payton Jim On.

Injuries and illness couldn't stop Payton Jim On.

The Punahou junior overcame a shoulder injury and a lingering quad injury to overwhelm Andre Ajed of Mid-Pacific 6-2, 6-0 to win the boys singles title at the HMSA /HHSAA Tennis State Championships on Saturday at Patsy T. Mink Central Oahu Regional Park.

The title is a second in a row for Jim On, who recently recovered from a bout of stomach flu, when he lost 12 pounds.

"I feel pretty good. It wasn't my best tournament, I'd say, " he said. "It's a lot of adversity, but just trusting myself and learning how to trust my game was really important this year to win."

He handled the pain by getting treatment, particularly for his shoulder.

"I was really bummed. I didn't know how I was going to play this week. I went to the Punahou trainers. I trust them. They're really good, " Jim On said. "They have really good technology. It really helped."

Punahou coach Ikaika Jobe was not surprised about Jim On's finish to the season.

"Payton's an incredibly hard worker and planned out his season well. Some things are just out of your control, but he rested when he had to and worked when the opportunity was there, " Jobe said. "He takes his physical training very seriously."

Ajed came into the state championships as the ILH champion after beating Jim On for a fourth time in as many matches this spring. However, Ajed also had two tough matches on Friday that totaled five hours in the sun. He had a 4-6, 6-3 (5 ) win over fifth-seeded Iori Furuhara of Waiakea in the quarterfinal round, then rallied for a 6-7 (4 ), 6-0 (6 ) win over fourth-seeded Brandon Ramos of Punahou in the semifinals.

Mid-Pacific has never had a boy win the state singles title, and Ajed was just the second to make it to the final.

"I don't want to make any excuses at all about today from yesterday. To be honest, I just feel like he was a better player today, " Ajed said. "He played a lot better than me. I tried to hang in there by kind of grinding it out with him, but he seemed to have the better rally tolerance. Nothing really about yesterday. He just played better today."

Jim On spoke his belief into existence, so to speak.

"I was playing pretty well in (ILH ) tournament. He's always beaten me (this year ). He's been owning me, " he said. "I had a little bit of nerves, like do I have what it takes ? I made sure I focused on myself. A lot of times I get caught up with what he's doing, but today I said, I'll play well and see what happens. I was able to execute a lot of strategies, just imagining myself playing him throughout the week."

Punahou repeated as girls and boys team champions. The boys amassed 31 points while 'Iolani racked up 11.

"The team has a lot of players who didn't get to play in states, but that's what's unique. They're pushing each other to get better. That's how the depth gives us an advantage, " Jobe said. "They bonded well as a team."

It is the second state title in a row for Punahou. Jobe also coached the Buffanblu to a championship in 2016, his first season as boys coach.

The Buffanblu girls finished with 23 points, followed by 'Iolani (13 ) and Mililani (11 ). This is their 19th state title in a row, and the third consecutive under Jason Oliver.

Elise Wong, the No. 2 seed, upset No. 1 Julia Visaya of 'Iolani 7-5, 6-2.

"I think there was a point where the whole team just burst out cheering, " Wong said. "It felt really, really good. Julia was gaining momentum and my team was always behind me."

Visaya won the ILH title recently.

"The thing about tennis is every day is different. It's just whoever shows up with a better game that day. Julia played really, really tough. It could've gone either way today, but it turned out to be me, " said Wong, a junior.

Wong, like Jim On in the boys division, defended her state championship.

"Last year, I was going in as the underdog. I was first seed, but I was going against a girl who beat me 20 times before, " Wong said. "ILH really opened my eyes because Julia came out fighting really tough. I couldn't take anything for granted."

Top-seeded Jazlyn Miyamura and Arissa Dang of Mililani won the girls doubles title, the first time an OIA team took the crown since Leilehua in 1999. Miyamura and Dang defeated second-seeded Harley Wolters and Sophia Woofter of Punahou 6-0, 6-4.

"During regular season we didn't really play together. I think our coaches were experimenting and trying to prepare for OIA team finals, but after that, we've been practicing almost every day, " Dang said.

"We were all super focused. In the beginning she pointed something out and I totally blocked her, " Miyamura said.

"I was trying to lighten the mood. She was so serious, " Dang said.

Defending their boys doubles title were Tsubasa Okada and Tanner Ige of Punahou, who teamed up to beat the duo of Kawelo Tsuneyoshi and Gervase Ngo of 'Iolani 6-3, 6-1. Okada is a senior and Ige is a sophomore.

"Those guys have a certain energy about them. They're incredible together. They were undefeated in the California (All-American Nationals ) tournament too, " Jobe said.