The Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club hopes a string of positive results this season will translate into a fourth straight provincial team title this weekend.
And this time, they'll have home court advantage as they make that quest.
More than 100 competitors from throughout the province will converge on Vanier Saturday for the local club's tournament, an event that will double as the Judo Sask Cadet/Juvenile championships.
"Since it's a provincial championship, there's going to be a good range of athletes, right from beginners to kids who will be trying out for the Canada Games and other provincial teams," said Koseikan instructor Jim Wiens. "So we're expecting a lot of great matches and excellent competition."
Competition gets underway at 10:30 a.m. with the youngest age categories, with the provincial championship part of the tournament expected to wrap up around 1:30 p.m.
Medals will be awarded to the top three in each weight division, with the team title going to the club accumulating the most points.
"We should have a shot at it, too, our kids here are very strong since for the first time in quite a few years we have a contingent of kids who have stuck around for awhile," Wiens said. "So they're all to the point where they're expecting to win now since they have the talent to do it."
An idea of just how well things have been going for the local club could be seen from their results at the recent Sasktoon YMCA tournament - four youth division fighters picked up gold, including Samantha Trusty and Elisha Billay in the Cadet girls division, Steven Trudel in Juvenile boys and Patrick Overs in the Junior men's class. The club also had victories from two of their veteran competitors, as Jeremy Williams and Josh Wiens each won gold in the Senior men's division.
Senior matches begin around 2 p.m. and conclude with the popular Senior Open tournament around 4 p.m.
Provincial team coach and former European champion Fedor Lazarenko is the defending champion and will possibly suit up again this year.
"He hasn't indicated whether he'll enter it, but we're hoping he will," Wiens said. "He's also a hunted man, too, there are lots of guys who haven't had a chance to fight him in competition, so they want a chance to see what they can do against a guy like that."
Appeared in the Moose Jaw Times-Herald Mar. 18, 2005