Members of the Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club earned a lot of medals this past weekend in Saskatoon.
Emphasis on earned.
The local club saw eight of their 10 judoka came home with medals from the YMCA Annual Tournament, while the other two finished fourth. In a deep field of young competitors the results were solid.
"We attend a lot of smaller competitions like Vibank where there might be three people in a division and you just have to fight the other two and decide your placing for a medal," said Koseikan coach Jim Wiens.
"Here, to get to a medal you have to work. You have to have quite a few wins under your belt to get a medal."
"It's so central in the province that there are a lot of fights," said Wiens. "They come from every direction to compete. Every year there's good competition."
Brock Pearson (cadet boys under-38 kilograms), Brianna Walz (cadet girls under-26 kg), Connor MacDonald (juvenile men under-60 kg) and Michael Herbert (juvenile men under-73 kg) each won gold medals. Herbert also won the Canada Games trials portion of the competition in the same weight class
Haley Walz (cadet girls under-42 kg) and John Fellinger (cadet boys under-30 kg) each won silver, while Taryn Montgomery (cadet girls under-26 kg) and Carlie Orr (cadet girls under-34 kg) each won bronze. Braydon Johnson (cadet boys over-50 kg) and Hannah Tremblay (cadet girls under-34) were both fourth.
Orr and Amy Hughes both recently attended the Balmoral Judo Open in Stonewall, Man. as part of the Judo Sask goodwill team. It's a grassroots program and is a developmental team for young judoka who are on the cusp of the provincial team. It allowed both Hughes and Orr to get their first taste of competition from outside the province.
Both had a great competition and met each other in the final of the girls under-35 kg category with Hughes winning gold and Orr earning silver.
"It's too bad they had to fight each other for gold," said Wiens. "You can't fault either one, they had an incredible showing and had to fight it off for gold." The club has a deep talent pool of girls who are all the same age and weight. The fact that they Orr and Hughes were able beat competition from Manitoba, Saskatchewan and northern Ontario and were still the last two standing showed just how talented their fellow Koseikan clubmates are.
"I think they get a little frustrated and disappointed that they aren't getting gold. But it's people from our club who are beating them out," said Wiens. "So it was good to see them go away and still do just as well. They're behind each other by an inch and not a mile."
Next up for the club is a trip to Edmonton where they will send 19 competitors to the Edmonton Invitational Judo Competition at the West Edmonton Mall. The event features 370 competitors.
Appeared in the Moose Jaw Times-Herald Apr 4, 2006