The Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club was far and away the biggest club in the province this year, and there is some excellent talent in those numbers.
The scary thing is - most of the best are barely out of the juvenile level still, or are still at that level and younger.
The club's season ending banquet Friday say a parade of young athletes coming up to the podium to accept a barrage of plaques and certificates of promotion. The season capped off an impressive Koseikan campaign.
"We're the biggest club in the province, by more than double the other two," said Jim Wiens, one of the team's coaches. "We were the winners of the club of the year, for the province, we won the provincial championships . . . and we just have a huge amount of people that are being so successful."
For example, Chad Griffin, 15, will be off in July to the junior nationals in Mississauga, Ont.
Asked about the secret to the club's success, Wiens credits the coaches for the success the club has had this year in developing the numbers of raw talent they get in new every year.
"There's no way we could get this big without the core base of coaches that we have," he said. "There's no way we could have one or two coaches and run a 100-member club. We have so many variances in people that are just trying it for the first time, or people like Chad who are going to junior nationals."
With coaches like Cliff Wiens, Garth Rivers, Jeremy Williams, Dan Orescanin and Derek Porter never too far away, it's easy to see how the coaches fill all of the extremes, and the youngsters that Jim Wiens has been coaching are starting to make names for themselves in their age bracket.
"If we could fast-forward this three years and look ahead. . . in 2003, we had a huge swath of people that came through then, including Garth, and myself, we sent eight people to nationals," Wiens said. "We set a record in 2003 for the most people at nationals from one club. And in another three years, we could see doing that again."
Appeared in the Moose Jaw Times-Herald May 10, 2008