The Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club hoped home-mat advantage would lead to their fourth-straight Cadet/Juvenile team championship this weekend but an off weekend proved to be their undoing.
The local club failed to win a single division in the youth competition and settled for third overall in the provincial championship tournament Saturday at Vanier, a result that, while disappointing, was a product of excellent competition throughout the weekend.
"There were quite a few who fought well, but for the most part a lot of the kids ended up having a tough day," said Koseikan instructor Josh Wiens. "But Lloydminster had a good group of fighters and Watrous brought a lot of kids and they fought really well, so they definitely earned it."
Watrous won the team title with 157 points while Lloydminster finished second with 123 and Moose Jaw third at 119.
Wiens felt one factor in the disappointing performance was the fact Koseikan hadn't focused completely on tournament preparation leading up to the weekend.
"We graded all the kids this week, so a lot of our time leading up to this was spent focused on doing all our belt stuff, so we kind of got away from the competition part of it all," he explained. "But we're going to P.A. in a couple weeks, so we'll be taking a busload up there and hopefully making the statement that that's actually our trophy."
The local club did have its share of medal performances, picking up four silver and eight bronze in the youth divisions to go along with Wiens' victory in the Senior Men's over-100 kg class and silver and bronze medals for Garth Rivers and Jeremy Williams respectively in the Junior/Senior men's under-66 kg division.
Rivers and Williams also turned in the match of the weekend, a nine-minute battle that saw Rivers narrowly emerge victorious.
"It was just a crazy fight, it didn't look like it was ever going to end," Wiens said with a chuckle. "But they both know each other so well that you could almost expect that."
Wiens' victory came over older brother Jim Wiens, who fought in his first tournament since breaking his ankle in a match a little over a year ago.
He also finished third in the Senior Men' cash open, with provincial team coach Fedor Lazarenko defending his title with a victory over Vibank's Chris Dornstauder in the final.
Appeared in the Moose Jaw Times-Herald Mar. 21, 2005