It's a line that has been repeated many times over the past few years -- the Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club will be well represented at the Canadian Junior championships.
But compared to this year, that past representation is practically miniscule.
Moose Jaw will send seven fighters to this year's championship, running July 6-7 in Edmonton. Needless to say, that's the best representation in the club's history.
"I was hoping we'd have five or so, but seven is just great," said Koseikan head instructor Cliff Wiens. "Everyone earned it, they've all fought so well this year and this is their reward."
Representing the club will be national medal favorite Brian Smith, who is currently attending school in Edmonton and will be making his third trip, while men's competitor Mark Kerr will join Kailey Large and Stephanie Legault in competing at nationals for the second time.
Garth Rivers, Tom Glasrud and Jeremy Williams will all be making their first appearance. In total, Moose Jaw competitors will make up a full quarter of the 28-member Saskatchewan team.
"That says a lot right there," Wiens said. "When you have that many fighters making so much of the provincial team, that shows how well they're doing and the kind of respect the club is receiving."
The majority of the Koseikan's provincial competitors were in action this past weekend at a tournament in Prince Albert, putting together predictable results.
Williams (under-56 kg) and Large (under-63 kg) each won their divisions, while Glasrud finished first in juvenile men (over-74 kg) and second in junior (under-81 kg). Rivers (under-56 kg) and Legault (under-63 kg) each put together silver medal performances in the junior division.
"They're all fighting really well right now, and that's a big reason they were selected," Wiens said. "We'll be working with them and they'll keep working hard over the next few months and hopefully they'll be able to do just as well at nationals."
Koseikan's future national competitors also put together a strong showing in P. A., as Freddy Myers won gold in both the Cadet over-46 and Canada Games under-60 kg categories, while Leigh White picked up a silver medal in the Cadet over-46 kg to go along with fourth place finishes in the juvenile under-54 kg class and Canada Games under-52 kg division.
"Those guys will be the Kailey's and Stephanie's and Brian's of the future," Wiens said. "There's a lot of potential in the kids we have coming up and they could have a chance of making it to nationals in the future."
The Prince Albert tournament concludes the competitive season for the majority of the club, with junior nationals as the next event on the calendar.
Appeared in the Moose Jaw Times-Herald Apr 17, 2002