It was success as expected for the Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club this past weekend as they posted excellent results at a tournament in Saskatoon.
The 18 local athletes picked up six gold medals, four silvers and five bronzes.
"Overall, I think they did really well," said coach Dan Orescanin. "They've been doing well all season, so they did what we expected them to do."
The regional tournament featured 120 competitors, with 90 of them listed in the under-12 age categories.
"It was a long day for some of them," said Orescanin.
The competition wasn't much of a mystery this late in the season for the club.
"By this point of the year, we've seen most of the fighters and we know kind of how our kids should do," said Orescanin. "They had some personal goals of kids to beat, and for the most part they were able to do that."
While praising the performance of all the local athletes, the coach singled out Brock Pearson as having an excellent weekend.
"He had to fight some really good competition," said Orescanin. "He lost the first time to a kid who is a higher belt than him. . . but he came back the second time and beat him."
Pearson is 15 years old, but competes in the under-17 category, which often pits him against older and more experienced opponents.
"Little bit older, little bit more time in judo for those guys, but he did well."
Orescanin also had praise for the younger fighters, noting that with so many kids in each division, the ones who picked up medals had a long and arduous task.
"Some of the kids who finished first had seven or eight competitors in that category, so they had to win four or five fights to get that first place," he said, specifically noting Jessica and Kim Daly, Simone Beauchamp and Joey Caragata.
"They all really had big categories and a lot of people to fight and they did really well," he said.
A few athletes will now turn their attention to preparing for junior national championships in July. Hailey Walz, Rebecca Hanson and Chad Griffin will attend the tournament in Calgary and as a result spend the next few months in intense training
Meanwhile, Pearson and Adam Langdon will also tag along - but not to compete.
"After the championships there's a week-long training camp with all the kids across Canada who fight at that level," said Orescanin. "So they've been selected to be part of that training camp, sort of planning for the future.
"It's a really good opportunity for them."
Appeared in the Moose Jaw Times-Herald April 9, 2009