Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club head instructor Cliff Wiens has been around the sport for many, many years, so one would think it would take a lot to surprise him -- especially when it comes to the success of his students.
But when the club snared a total of 13 medals from the recent Northern Alberta judo championships in Edmonton, even Wiens was a touch amazed at the performance.
"To tell you the truth, especially for that level of tournament I didn't expect anything like that," he said. "We were talking before it started and it was maybe three golds, two silver and a handful of medals. Then everyone went out there and fought so well, it was something else."
The bulk of those medals were the best of colours, too, as five of the club's top fighters were able to roll through their divisions undefeated on their way to gold. Local competitors also picked up three silver and three bronze.
Given the number of competitors at the tournament -- more than 300 from throughout Western Canada -- the victories didn't come easy, either.
"There weren't any giveaways this weekend, that's for sure," Wiens said. "Some of the best in Alberta were there, and there some great matches. It's not only great for the athletes, it also shows what calibre of club we run in that we had so many of our kids so such a great job."
Connor MacDonald (under-34 kg) and Freddy Myers (over-46 kg) both rolled through their respective junior boys divisions with four straight victories, while Derek Porter (under-81 kg) also won four straight on his way to gold in the senior men's novice division.
Leigh White (boys under-54 kg) and Jennifer Herbert (girls under-50 kg) were Moose Jaw's other junior gold medalists, while Koseikan instructor Jim Wiens won gold in the senior men's advanced over-100 kg division.
The club also travelled with a pair of Regina YM-YWCA judo club competitors, with former Koseikan member and current national contender Mark Pivovar winning gold in the senior men's advanced under-90 kg class and perennial senior women's provincial champion Kelly Brock cruising to victory in the under-70 kg division. Brock also won the Best Female Technician award for the tournament.
For all the first place hardware the club won at the event, though, Wiens pointed to Tom Glasrud's silver medal in the junior boys under-81 kg class as one of Moose Jaw's top performances.
"He's only an orange belt and he was in there against fighters who were way more advanced than he was, but he still found a way to win," Wiens said. "I'm pretty sure he beat two brown belts and a blue belt to earn win that medal, and that's pretty impressive for a young guy like that."
Michael Herbert (junior boys under-46 kg), Garth Rivers (men under-20 under-55 kg) and Kailey Large (women under-20 under-57 kg) also brought home silver medals, while Dustine Plested (junior boys under-42 kg), Jeremy Williams (men under-20 under-55 kg) and Mark Kerr (senior men advanced under-90 kg) all won bronze.
Members of the club were also in action at a tournament this weekend. Watch the Times-Herald for information on the results.
Appeared in the Moose Jaw Times-Herald Apr 16, 2002