Re-printed with the permission of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald
Judo club caps season
By Times-Herald Sports Staff
Thirteen competitors, 14 medals . . . all in a day’s work for the Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club.

The local club put the wraps on yet another successful season Saturday, dominating a tournament in Prince Albert. The meet came on the heels of another dominating performance at a recent meet in Saskatoon.

“We had some exceptional results in Prince Albert,” Sensei Cliff Wiens said. “We’ve been dominating every tournament we’ve went to this season.

“We’ve got the numbers,” he added, explaining part of the reason for the club’s success. “With 65 students we’re able to fill up most of the divisions.

“But it’s not just the numbers. The kids are great fighters, too.”

Quantity and quality are the direct result of the club’s practice philosophy — hard work and fun.

“We have a lot of talent in this club,” Wiens said. “It’s because of a lot of hard work and a lot of fun. With kids, you’ve got to make sure they’re having a lot of fun.

“And we’ve got some good coaches, too,” he added, mentioning Vern MacDonald and Jim Wiens.

The local club, which will host the 1998 Judo Saskatchewan Annual General Meeting and Awards Banquet Saturday, has once again been nominated for the province’s Club of the Year Award. It’s the third straight year the club has been nominated and they’re looking to win its second straight.

Meaghen Cullen, who placed fifth at the Canadian junior Championships and second at an international meet in Vancouver, has been nominated for the Juvenile Female Athlete of the Year Award for the second straight year.

Cullen didn’t take part in Saturday’s tournament in Prince Albert but there was still a large gold medal haul by the Moose Jaw contingent.

In the Cadet Girls’ Division Marissa Kerr won the 46 kg.’ class and Danielle Pakula won the 42 kg. class while in Juvenile Girls Stephanie Legault (43 kg.) and Kailey Large (48 kg.) won their respective events.

In Cadet Boys Chris Gerry (under-30 kg.) and Connor MacDonald (23 kg) won gold, Mark Kerr won gold in the Juvenile Boys’ under-69 kg. and Jim Wiens won the Senior Men’s plus-100 kg.

Silver medals went to Alana Kerr (Junior Women plus-78), Matthew Bespalko (Juvenile Men plus-74 kg.) and MacDonald (Cadet Boys’ under-26 kg.) while bronze medal winners included Brian Smith (Junior Men under-81 kg.), Steve Erickson (Juvenile Boys’ plus-74 kg) and Alex MacKay (Cadet Boys’ under-30 kg.).

Stephan Gerry (Cadet Boys’ under-26 kg.) and Smith (Juvenile Men, plus-74) managed fourth place finishes.

At the tournament in Saskatoon Bespalko won gold in the Juvenile Boys’ under-73 kg. and under-80 kg. while placing third in the Junior Men’s under-73.

Other gold medal winners included Meaghen Cullen, Glen Cullen, Legault and Pakula. Silver medalists included Mark Kerr, Alana Kerr, Jarrod Robinson and Smith who also picked up a bronze medal. other bronze medals went to Chris Ibach and Erickson while Gerry managed a fourth place finish.

Following the club’s hosting of the provincial banquet Saturday, the Moose Jaw club begins preparations for its own banquet slated for May 9 at the Dojo.

Appeared in the Moose Jaw Times-Herald April 20, 1998

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