To see the match in progress, one would believe Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club competitor Garth Rivers was in a whole world of trouble -- as would be the case any time someone five-foot-10 and 132 pounds battles a six-foot-seven, 300-pound-plus opponent.
But the scoreboard halfway through Rivers' bout with Saskatoon's Derek Andrew during the Senior Open Division of the club's annual tournament Saturday at SIAST Palliser Campus told a different story. In fact, it was lightweight junior competitor who found himself well in front and in control of the match.
"He had him beat for the first three minutes," Koseikan head instructor Cliff Wiens said with a laugh. "He kept 'surfing (nickname for an inner thigh throw)' and running, and he actually threw him for a waza-ari (half point), but then Derek finally caught him and held him down. Garth did pretty good to stick in there, though, and he wasn't that far from winning."
Rivers' performance was just one standout showing for the local club during the event, which featured 80-plus competitors and more than 100 entries.
"It worked out pretty good, we didn't have quite as many people we wanted but the competition was just top notch," Wiens said. "It was great."
The Senior Open proved one of the highlights of the weekend, with Saskatchewan High Performance coach and former national team member Fedor Lazarenko earning the $65 first-place prize with a double overtime decision win over Kitchener, Ont.'s Andy Zettl.
"It was just a great match, and the entire open was a real crowd pleaser," Wiens said. "There were a lot of excellent fights."
Josh Wiens had the top Moose Jaw finish in the division, going 3-2 with his only losses coming against Lazarenko and Zettl. Wiens -- a member of the Saskatchewan senior provincial team -- put together a 6-2 record for the tournament while winning the 100-kg plus class.
Fellow provincial team member Derek Porter also had a strong outing, putting together a commanding performance on his way to a 4-0 record in the always-competitive under-81/90 kg division.
"He finally came into his own," Wiens said. "He hasn't been feeling well all week, so he just went in with the thoughts of having fun and he ended up doing his best judo. Usually he gets himself too worked up and that works against him, but this time he had nothing to lose and he fought I've ever seen him. Guys who were beating him before weren't even close to him."
As for the club's younger competitors, it was business as usual, with Connor MacDonald leading a host of Koseikan medal performances through his undefeated showing in the Juvenile under-45/48 kg division.
"He just outclassed everyone in his division again, he's so far ahead of everyone that it's really tough to see where he's at," Wiens lauded. "But both him and Levi (Cordick) are going to Calgary next weekend with the developmental team, so they'll get a good idea there of what they're up against.
All in all, the kids did well," Wiens added. "There were a few divisions where we had all three on the podium at the same time, so that was something nice to see, it shows the kids are really coming up."
Moose Jaw competitor Freddy Myers, fighting as an independent, went undefeated on his way to winning the juvenile under-63/73kg and under-73kg divisions.
Extra Throws . . . the Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club suffered a major blow during the tournament as provincial team member and black belt instructor Jim Wiens suffered a catastrophic lower left leg injury during a match. Wiens underwent surgery to repair the damage Sunday, with two screws inserted into his ankle, three ligaments re-attached and stabilization of a spiral facture of his fibula. His recovery time is unknown.
Results from Saturday's Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Tournament
Cadet Girls Under-23/26 kg -- 1. Carli Orr, MJ; 2. Taryn Montgomery, MJ; 3. Brianna Walz, MJ.
Cadet Girls Under-30 kg -- 1. Haley Walz, 2. Amy Hughes, MJ; 3. Cheyenne Ferguson, Pense.
Cadet Girls Under-34 kg -- 1. Danielle Furneaux, Pense; 2. Shaylea Locken, MJ; 3. Meaghann White, MJ.
Cadet Girls Under-38 kg -- 1. Vanessa Martin, Pense; 2. Erika Moate, Saskatoon.
Cadet Girls Under-43 kg -- 1. Emily Wittman, Vibank; 2. Lisa Crampton, MJ; 3. Jessica Fleury, Pense.
Cadet Girls Over-43 kg -- 1. Kim Robinson, Pense; 2. Nicole Dyck, Watrous; 3. Erica Nagy, Pense.
Cadet Boys Under-23/36 kg -- 1. Kyle Chapman, Swift Current; 2. Quinlan Ferguson, Pense.
Cadet Boys Under-30 kg -- 1. Ryan Wollbaum; 2. Josh Horsnall.
Cadet Boys Under-34 kg -- 1. Kevin Dyck, Watrous; 2. Geoffrey Dupuis, MJ; 3. Jonathan Neustaeter, Swift Current.
Cadet Boys Under-38 kg -- 1. Andrew Yuen, Regina; 2. Steven Leuschen, Saskatoon; 3. Joel Nagy, MJ.
Cadet Boys Under-42 kg -- 1. Jesse Nelson, Melfort; 2. Joran Temple, Regina.
Cadet Boys Over-42 kg -- 1. Kaleb Smith, Swift Current; 2. Dalton Fisher, Swift Current; 3. Gareth Chapman, Swift Current.
Juvenile Women Under-52/57 kg -- 1. Michelle Hagel, Watrous; 2. Jordan Walter, Regina; 3. Chelsie Eering, Pense.
Juvenile Women Over-63 kg -- 1. Bethany Stever, Regina; 2. Jeannine Yuen, Regina; 3. Alicia Stever, Regina.
Juvenile Men Under-45/48 kg -- 1. Connor MacDonald, MJ; 2. Steven Trudel, MJ; 3. John Lefebvre, Pense.
Juvenile Men Under-60 kg -- 1. Michael Leuschen, Saskatoon; 2. Levi Cordick, Moose Jaw; 3. John Lefebvre.
Juvenile Men Under-66/73 kg -- 1. Freddy Myers, MJ; 2. Jonathan Quibell, Melfort.
Junior Women Under-57 kg -- 1. Estelle Hjertaas, Regina; 2. Michelle Hagel, Watrous.
Junior Women Under-63 kg -- 1. Stephanie Legault, MJ; 2. Nichelle Stever, Regina.
Junior Men Under-60 kg -- 1. Matthew Leuschen, Saskatoon; 2. Garth Rivers, MJ; 3. John Lefebvre.
Junior Men Under-73 kg -- 1. Freddy Myers, MJ; 2. Matthew Martin, Pense; 3. Jeremiah Henrion, Pense.
Junior Men Under-90/over-90 kg -- 1. Justin Yuen, Regina; 2. Nesaan Sayeed, Lloydminster.
Senior Women Under-48 kg -- 1. Chantal Beausoliel, Lloydminster; 2. Tanya Schultz, Saskatoon; 3. Kirsten Patmore, Lloydminster.
Senior Women Under-57/63 kg -- 1. Kim Hardie, Saskatoon; 2. Nichelle Stever, Regina; 3. Estelle Hjertaas, Regina.
Senior Women Under-70/78 kg -- 1. Lorna Hattum, Regina; 2. Bethany Stever, Regina; 3. Bernadette Leuschen, Saskatoon.
Senior Men Under-66/73 kg -- 1. Andy Zettl, Kitchener; 2. Logan Thiessen, Swift Current; 3. Blair Dmytrow, Melfort.
Senior Men Under-81/90 kg -- 1. Derek Porter; Moose Jaw; 2. Ian MacDonald, Lloydminster; 3. Brett Nielsen, Regina.
Senior Men Under-73/81/90 -- 1. Andy Zettl, Kitchener; 2. Ian MacDonald, Lloydminster; 3. Justin Yuen, Regina.
Senior Men Over-100 kg -- 1. Josh Wiens, Moose Jaw; 2. Jim Wiens, Moose Jaw; 3. Derek Andrews, Saskatoon.
Masters Men Over-90 kg -- 1. Russ Temple, Regina; 2. Derek Andrews, Saskatoon; 3. Jim Wiens, Moose Jaw.
Masters Women over-70 kg - 1. Lorna Hattum, Regina; 2. Bernadette Leuschen, Saskatoon.
Junior/Juvenile Open -- 1. Brett Nielsen, Regina; 2. Matthew Leuschen, Saskatoon. 3. Bethany Stever, Regina.
Senior Open -- 1. Fedor Lazarenko, Prince Albert; 2. Andy Zettl, Kitchener; 3. Josh Wiens, Moose Jaw.
Appeared in the Moose Jaw Times-Herald April 19, 2004