Re-printed with the permission of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald
Williams medals at national judo championships
Times-Herald Sports Reporter

For two of the Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club's competitors, it was their last kick at the can, one last chance to pick up a medal at the national juvenile/junior championships.

For two others, it was their first shot at the event and a prelude to potential future glory.

Call it a changing of the guard of sorts, and a successful one at that.

Veteran Koseikan nationals competitor Jeremy Williams capped his junior (19-and-under) career with a bronze medal in the under-55 kg division at the 2004 championships recently in Kelowna, B.C., while fellow multiple nationals fighter Stephanie Legault battled injury and fell short of the medals in the under-70 kg womens class.

Meanwhile, first-year juvenile (16-and-under) Connor MacDonald won his opening match in the under-48 kg division before dropping his next two while Freddy Myers put together a 2-2 showing in the juvenile under-72 kg division to finish fifth overall.

"It was a good weekend and the kids fought well, but the competition is getting better all the time and it really showed," said Koseikan head instructor Cliff Wiens. "So for us to do as well as we did was pretty good."

Williams' performance was the highlight of the weekend for the local club, as he rebounded from an opening round loss to eventual champion Joey Tobin of New Brunswick to win his next two bouts and advance out of his round robin pool.

He then lost his first match in the championship round to settle for bronze.

"Jeremy fought very well, he showed lots of heart," Wiens said. "He wanted to finish higher since it was his last year and he'd already won silver in the past, but he still did a great job, especially against that kind of competition."

Legault's run wasn't as successful as the continuous injury bug she's battled throughout the season caught up to her at nationals and saw her bow out in two straight matches.

"She got hurt in her last match and even though she finished she just didn't have anything left," Wiens said. "Steph just hasn't had any luck, she's been injured all year, with her knee and her elbow she just gets over one and then it's back with the other. It would have been nice to see her do well in her last time there, but she couldn't get a break."

For MacDonald and Myers, the event was essentially a chance to gain valuable experience against national level competition, something that could turn into hardware in the future.

"For Connor, this is his first year in the division and he still has two more to go, so the experience he gained is well worth it," Wiens said. "He's been working hard, so he's been doing well and he's going to be a bright spot soon.

"Freddy had some really good matches too, against some really tough fighters, and he's showing a lot of potential, too. There's no doubt he'll be a champion one day."

Appeared in the Moose Jaw Times-Herald July 17, 2004

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