Once again the Moose Jaw Koseikan Club was honoured as the Club of the Year by Judo Saskatchewan.
So it only makes sense that the club of the year, had the best judoka in the province as well.
Those elite competitors were honoured Friday at the Koseikan's annual awards night as the club celebrated the completion of the judo season. It was quite a season for the club which was named the best in the province for the second time in five years, but is closing in on being the biggest in the province as well. The club has it's largest membership ever with 87 competitors representing the club.
"I think it's the spirit of the club," said Sensei Cliff Wiens when asked about the success of the club provincially. "We're the only club in the province that has a wind-up like we do or that has a Christmas party for the kids. We're more of a club than others in the province. Judo is an individual sport and a lot of people treat it like that. Here everybody pulls for everybody else and that spirit drifts over into competition."
As a result of that spirit and a lot of hard work, the Koseikan was named the Junior Club of the Year by Judo Sask and placed seven members of the provincial junior team which will compete at nationals July 6-7 in Edmonton.
"To have a quarter of the provincial junior team is quite awesome," said Wiens.
Brian Smith, Mark Kerr, Kailey Large, Stephanie Legault, Jeremy Williams, Garth Rivers and Tom Glasrud will all represent the Koseikan club at junior nationals.
While that level of success is a feather in the cap for the club, Wiens stressed at the banquet that athletic achievments come secondary to developing young men and women.
"First we make good citizens, then good athletes," Wiens said. "We do that by teaching them respect. Respecting their coaches, their instructors, their teachers, their fellow club members and law enforcement, some of the club members are on scholarships from the Police Athletic Fund. We're not only making good students, but good citizens."
There were few surprises when the club handed out the hardware for their annual awards. Large was named Most outstanding Female Judoka and Michael Herbert was Most Outstanding Male.
The Outstanding Performance winners were Leigh White (cadet), Glasrud (juvenile), Rivers (junior) and Derek Porter (senior). The Most Promising Judoka went to Travis Nepper and the Judo Dedication Award went to Connor MacDonald.
The prestigious Spirit of Judo awards for embodiment of the spirit of the sport went to Williams, Jennifer Herbert, Mark Pivovar and Ray Martin. Legault was a repeat winner of the Purple Heart Award for returning from injury. Legault dislocated her elbow at the Ontario Open in Toronto. Finally, Linda and Al Rivers were the Volunteers of the Year.
The club also acknowledged the belt promotions that occured during the year. Moving up from White to Yellow belt were Tim Lynchuk, Grayson Allen and Jesse Davison. Picking up their Yellow/Orange Stripe belt were Mason Dyck and Zach Robertson. Promoted from Yellow belt to Orange belt were Nepper, Ray Martin, Matthew Martin, Brandon Purington, TJ Langevin and Nick Hughes. Glasrud, Smith and Ken Kettleson were promoted to Green belt from Orange belt. Williams moved from Green belt to Blue belt and Porter, Legault and Garth Rivers each earned their Brown belts.
The club was also well represented at the Sask Judo awards where Williams won the provincial Spirit of Judo Award. Large was the Junior Female of the Year with Legault being named the runner-up. Desi Smith was named Volunteer of the Year and Michelle Wiens was named runner-up for that honour.
Connor MacDonald was runner-up for Cadet of the Year and Jim Wiens was runner-up for Masters Athlete of the Year.
Appeared in the Moose Jaw Times-Herald May 11, 2002