The simple secret of the Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club’s success can be found in an acronym of their sport’s name.
Just Unbelieveably Dedicated Over-achievers.
The club held it’s wind-up Saturday, providing the perfect opportunity to outline the achievements of one of their most successful seasons ever. Take a look at a partial list of additions to the club’s resume:
- 93 medals overall
- seven medals at the Saskatchewan Winter Games in Nipawin
- a new home (dojo) at 801 Hochelaga St. E.
- four members (Jim Wiens, Dustin Large, Vern MacDonald and Cliff Wiens) earned Level I coaching certification
- runner-up for Judo Saskatchewan’s Club of the Year after winning the award last year
- Meaghen Cullen was runner-up for the province’s Juvenile Woman of the Year
- Vern MacDonald and Cliff Wiens were certified as provincial ‘A’ referees, allowing them to referee at nationals
Such successes have helped the club become the province’s largest, with 62 members. In the past, as many as half of the members dropped out. But that number has plummeted to only 10 per cent in recent years and new members continue to join, prompting talk of a beginners’ class in September.
“All the goals we had in mind and that the athletes had in mind have been met,” said Vern MacDonald, noting the club has become a model for others in Saskatchewan. “And we still haven’t peaked yet.”
“It just shows with our success that we’re heading in the right direction,” said sensei Cliff Wiens. “We also have good parent support. We’re only as strong as our competitors’ parents.”
Matthew Bespalko and Meaghen Cullen won Most Medals awards for male and female competitors, respectively. Most Improved awards went to Jim Wiens and Kailey Large. Brian Smith and Chris Ibach shared the Most Promising Male award, while Alana Kerr and Danielle Pakula were co-winners for Most Promising Female.
Seven members were recognized as best exemplifying the spirit of judo: Cameron Walker, Matthew Byer, Dustin Large, Jovette Langevin, Dan Orescanin, Andrew Rininsland and Matthew Bespalko.
Other award winners were: Stephanie Legault (Best Attendance), Ken Blandford (Purple Heart award), Chris Gerry (Outstanding Performance) and Steve Hansen (Blackbelt Achievement).
Earning belt promotions were Stephan Gerry and Kyle Coghlin (white to ye llow); Leigh White, Troy Busse, Jovette Langevin, Dayna Tondevold, Connor MacDonald and Alex MacKay (yellow to yellow/orange); Dan Orescanin, Alana Kerr, Stacey Waller, Jeff Robinson, Wanda Deong, Danielle Pakula, Chris Gerry, Cameron Walker, Tynan McLeod, Marisa Kerr, Chris Ibach and Brian Smith (yellow to orange); Stephanie Legault and Mark Kerr (orange to orange/green); Kailey Large (orange to green); Dustin Large (green to blue); and Levor Guenther (blue to brown).
Appeared in the Moose Jaw Times-Herald May 11, 1998