The Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club could very well find themselves handing out sunglasses at their next training session -- because after their performance at the recent Saskatchewan Provincial Junior championship, their future is looking awful bright.
The club came away with five individual titles in the Cadet and Juvenile Divisions to go along with another three in the Canada Games category, one of their best performances this season.
It all means that there could be plenty of strong up-and-coming competitors ready to continue Koseikan's string of provincial successes when their current crop of elite judoka move on.
"After what we saw that weekend I think we could say it looks really, really good," said Koseikan head instructor Cliff Wiens. "With the way things are going right now, in two or three years this club is going to be something else, especially if these kids keep improving the way they have."
Leigh White emerged as one of the club's top competitors at the event, winning the Cadet boys over-46 kilograms Division, finishing second in the Juvenile under-51 kg class and taking first in the Canada Games under-50/under-54 class.
White and clubmate Michael Herbert ended up dominating all three divisions, and had to fight to do it -- each took to the mat eight times through the day, with Herbert finishing second in Cadet over-46 kg, third in Juvenile under-51 kg and second in the Canada Games Division.
"They're both young guys and they had a really good tournament," Wiens said. "When they have that many matches and they still manage to win, that's quite impressive."
Connor MacDonald also enjoyed one of his best showing of the season, posting a 3-0 record in the Canada Games under-36 kg Division to go along with a 4-2 second-place performance in the Cadet boys under-38 kg class.
"Connor was in tough this weekend, too, but be still fought really well," Wiens said. "There's just one kid who he has trouble with, but he has a year to work that out and I think he'll be able to catch him."
All told, the Koseikan club could very well find itself with several representatives at the 2003 Canada Winter Games given their performances in the qualifying divisions.
"We have a few kids leading in points right now, so they should have a chance of making the team if they can keep it up," Wiens said.
The club returns to action this weekend, with around 23 competitors taking part in the Northern Alberta Invitational in Edmonton.
Full results from the provincial juvenile championships are as follows:
Cadet BoysUnder-23 kg -- 1. Zachary Robertson
Under-30 kg -- 2. James Myers
Under-38 kg -- 2. Connor MacDonald
Under-41 kg -- 5. Steven Trudel
Under-43 kg -- 4. Dustin Plested
Over-46 kg -- 1. Leigh White; 2. Michael Herbert
Over-60 kg -- 1. Freddy Myers; 3. T.J. Langevin
Cadet GirlsOver-38 kg -- 1. Jennifer Herbert
Juvenile GirlsUnder-50 kg -- 1. Jennifer Herbert
Under-50/54 kg -- 1. Jennifer Herbert
Over-63 kg -- 4. Marisa Kerr
Juvenile BoysUnder-51 kg -- 2. Leigh White, 3. Michael Herbert
Under-64 kg -- 5. Chris Gerry
Under-67 kg -- 2. Freddy Myers; 3. Matthew Martin
Under-73/81 kg -- 1. Tom Glasrud, 2. Travis Nepper
Canada Games BoysUnder-36 kg -- 1. Connor MacDonald
Under-50/54 kg -- 1. Leigh White; 2. Michael Herbert
Under-64 kg -- 2. Chris Gerry
Under-69 kg -- 1. Freddy Myers; 3. T.J. Langevin
Canada Games GirlsOver-63 kg -- 2. Marisa Kerr
Appeared in the Moose Jaw Times-Herald Apr 4, 2002