NIIGATA, Niigata (March 27-28) – Urasoe Kogyo of Okinawa roared from behind to defeat Saitama powerhouse Hanasaki Tokuharu, 4-3, in the final of the national high school wrestling invitational.
Urasoe Kogyo became the first school from Okinawa to win a major high school wrestling team title after advancing to semifinals of the 2010 and 2011 national high school championships.
“We were aiming for the invitational team title last year,” said Urasoe Kogyo head coach Tamotsu Yabiku. The invitational, however, was cancelled in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that killed nearly 16,000 people in northeastern Japan.
In the final of this year’s invitational, Hanasaki Tokuharu took the first three bouts, but Urazoe Kogyo’s quartet of third-year wrestlers, making their last appearance for the Okinawa school, stormed back for the win.
Urasoe heavyweight Yuta Miyakuni gave his teammates a little scare when he dropped the first period to cadet national champion Shinya Yamamoto from the clinch. Miyakuni, however, took the second with a takedown counter and the third from the clinch for the win.
Third place trophies went to Ginan Kogyo (Gifu) and Shimabara (Nagasaki). Both schools lost in the semifinals by 5-2 scores to Urasoe Kogyo and Hanabuki Tokuei, respectively.