Re-printed with the permission of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald
Awards night caps another big year
for the MJ Koseikan Judo Club

Times-Herald Sports Reporter
Connor MacDonald can't stop winning accolades.

The Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club member was named the club's Most Outstanding Male Judoka for the current year at the club's annual awards night Friday. MacDonald was named the province's top cadet male at the Judo Saskatchewan awards night two weeks ago. The 12-year-old even won the door prize Friday.

MacDonald brought home five golds and two silver this season and posted a 18-4 wins and losses record.

The awards night is an annual celebration for the whole club. For the second year in a row, the Koseikan was named the club of the year in the province by Judo Sask -- the first club ever to win back-to-back honours.

The club won 45 gold medals this year along with 55 silver and 45 bronze. They had 83 members who fought in 647 matches.

"The Moose Jaw judo club is one of the most organized clubs in Saskatchewan. They're doing an unbelievable job," said Fedor Lazarenko, head coach for Judo Sask. "I saw Connor in Calgary and was very impressed. He has the best technique."

He was by no means the only outstanding judoka singled out for praise. The club has groomed many elite level competitors and the banquet's guest speaker, Jim O'Sullivan, chairman of this years National Judo Championships in Prince Albert praised the club for its overall quality.

"The Moose Jaw judo club, under the direction of Cliff Wiens, is the envy of all the clubs in Saskatchewan," said O'Sullivan who will be inducted into the Sask Sport Hall of Fame as a judo builder this year.

"Its membership size, success at the provincial and national level and the organization . . . it's a model for all other clubs to follow."

The Koseikan will send an amazing nine athletes to the national championships this year: Jim Wiens, Josh Wiens, Jeremy Williams, Garth Rivers, Kailey Large, Stephanie Legault, Dan Orescanin, Derek Porter and Brian Smith.

For the Most Outstanding Female Judoka, the club honoured another of its young up-and-coming talents in Elisha Billay. Billay won two gold, two silver and one bronze medals this year. Instructor Cliff Wiens said "there's no question she will evolve into one of the top competitors in the province."

Rivers, Williams, Legault and Large will all travel to the junior nationals as well this year. Rivers won a national junior bronze last year and was named Most Improved Judoka and Williams won for Outstanding Junior Performance after winning silver at last year's junior nationals.

Porter won for Outstanding Senior Performance, while Canada Games participant Levi Cordick won for Outstanding Juvenile Performance. Mohamed Aradi won for Outstanding Cadet Performance.

Former university football player Dave Guthrie was named the Most Promising Judoka after an impressive first season with the club. Chad Griffin won the Purple Heart Award for coming back from injury. Carey Herbert won the Parent Appreciation Award and Orescanin was honoured for earning his black belt. It was the sixth straight year someone at the club had earned their black belt.

Finally the club handed out their Spirit of Judo Awards for the judoka who best exemplified the spirit of the sport. Legault, Esraa Aradi, Khawla Aradi, Geoffrey Dupuis, Ken Kettleson, Taryn Montgomery, Bodie Robinson and Meaghann White were all honoured.

The Pivovar family was also honoured for their contribution to the club. Though they live in Regina, they supplied medals this year for the club.

Williams, Large, Legault and Chris Gerry were honoured with Assistant Instructor Appreciation Awards for their work with the younger judoka.

Appeared in the Moose Jaw Times-Herald May 10, 2003

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