The Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club had no shortage of national level compeditors to take to the mats at their annual tournament this weekend at the Heritage Inn - With the strongest representation coming right from the host club.
Five local compeditors will do battle at their respective national championships in coming months, with all five giving a strong display of their skills during the weekend.
Kailey Large, Stephanie Legault and Mark Kerr will all compete in their first Junior/Juvenille national championship in Kamloops, B.C. Apr. 21-22 alongside second-year junior national vetran Brian Smith.
Smith and first-timer Dan Orescanin will also attend the Senior national championships in Ste-Hyacinthe, Que. on May 19-20.
"It's really something else to have that many people going to nationals from our club," said Koseikan head instructor Cliff Wiens. "They are all exceptional fighters and I think they showed that this weekend."
Smith was the busiest of the group as usual, competing in five divisions and finishing with two gold, a silver and two bronze medals - then performing in the Peacock musical Oklahoma that evening.
Large would finish the weekend with two gold and a bronze while Legault picked up a gold and two silver. Kerr capped the weekend with gold and broze medals in his two divisions.
Orescanin, a brown belt, continued his fast rise through the senior men's division, finishing second in the ultra-compeditive under - 90kg category.
"Dan should do well at nationals," Wiens said. "He won bronze at the Sask Open and had to beat four black belts to get that medal, so he's fighting at a pretty high level right now."
Outside of the club's national compeditors, Wiens was also impressed with the performance of Jeremy Williams in the Juvenile boys division. Williams - who just missed out on a national berth himself - finished third in the under -50kg division before taking seventh in the under -54kg division.
"He was right in there with some kids that were quite a bit bigger and more experienced than he was and still held his own," Wiens said. "He was fighting all on heart and proved he could stay right in there."
The club's younger fighters return to action Mar. 24 for the Saskatchewan Junior Open in Regina.
Appeared in the Moose Jaw Times-Herald February 20, 2001