They’ve been the class of the Saskatchewan judo scene all season long and they aren’t showing signs of letting up.
The Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo club sent seven members to the Saskatoon YM-YWCA tournament recently and every one of their competitors ended up coming home with a medal in their respective age and weight divisions.
And some in two.
Stephanie Legault, Kailey Large, Mark Kerr and Brian Smith were all double medalists at the tournament, continuing a trend that has seen members of the Koseikan club dominate their opposition.
“It’s our newer members, the younger competitors, who are really making the difference,” said Koseikan club sensei Cliff Wiens. “They’re all learning so quickly and they’re to the point where they’re starting to win all the time.”
Smith has been especially impressive in recent competitions, easily winning the juvenile boys division and going on to fight very competitively in the next highest age class, the junior boys. At the Saskatoon tournament, he won the juvenile over-74 kilogram category and followed with a second-place finish in the junior over-74 kilogram.
On a whole, Smith has been untouchable in his regular age class — a perfect 26-0 this season. All this from a competitor who has only been active in judo for about a year and a half.
“He’s going against fighters who have been in judo for three or four year and beating them easily,” Wiens said. “When he does fight in the higher division, he’s always been competitive, usually in the top three. When he moves up next year, he should be right in the thick of things right from the start.”
Waiting in the wings is be current juvenile boys teammate Mark Kerr, who was second in the under-74 kilogram and over-74 kilogram divisions.
“Mark has two years left in juvenile and he’s already medaling,” Wiens said. “So you can imagine where he’ll be in a couple years.”
Smith and teammate Matt Bespalko will be tested in their next competition, though, as they take part in a tournament in Edmonton on April 17 against some of the top judo players in Alberta. Other members of the club will participate in their final tournament of the year on the same weekend in Prince Albert.
Full results from the Saskatoon tournament are as follows.
Connor McDonald — cadet boys under-25 kilogram, first.
Marissa Kerr — cadet girls over-44 kilogram, second.
Garth Rivers — juvenile boys under-43 kilogram, third.
Stephanie Legault — juvenile girls under-48 kilogram, first; juvenile girls under-52 kilogram, second.
Kailey Large — juvenile girls under-52 kilogram, first; juvenile girls under-57 kilogram, first.
Mark Kerr — juvenile boys under-74 kilogram, second; juvenile boys over-74 kilogram, second.
Brian Smith — juvenile boys over-74 kilogram, first; junior boys over-74 kilogram, second.
Appeared in the Moose Jaw Times-Herald April 6, 1999