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JUDO: Pedro's Challenge Results

Feb. 24, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
For Immediate Release February 24, 2008 Contact: Nicole Jomantas, 719.271.9937 (cell) Nicole.Jomantas@usajudo.us (Colorado Springs, Colo.)-As athletes prepare for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Judo, June 13-14 in Las Vegas, many of the top players in the division can be found fighting at E-Level point tournaments around the nation. This weekend's Pedro's Judo Challenge, held in Wakefield, Mass. was no exception with at least 10 former National Champions in attendance. Competing domestically for the first time in the 78kg division, Kayla Harrison (Wakefield, Mass. / USA Judo National Team FORCE / NYAC) came one step closer to qualifying for the Trials with her gold medal win. A 2007 U.S. Open Champion in the 63kg division, Harrison announced her decision in January to move up to 78kg. In doing so, she found herself fighting a familiar competitor-Katie Mocco (Glenville, N.Y. / NYAC / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center). Harrison and Mocco were the top two 70kg players in 2006-a year when Harrison beat Mocco en route to winning the National Championships as a 15-year-old, but Mocco came back to win a berth to the Pan American Championships where she would win a bronze medal. On Saturday, the two fought twice with Harrison beating Mocco in the first match when she threw her with an ippon seoi nage (shoulder throw) for a waza-ari (half-point) score. As a"true double elimination"tournament, athletes must have two losses before being eliminated from the tournament, meaning that Harrison and Mocco would fight again. This time, Harrison threw Mocco for waza-ari and yuko (quarter-point) scores before Mocco withdrew from the match. For seven-time National Champion Sayaka Matsumoto (El Cerrito, Calif. / NYAC / East Bay Judo Institute), her win in the 48kg division was more than just another gold medal. The win gave Matsumoto the extra point she needed on the USA Judo Senior Elite National Roster to move into the #1 ranking. The ranking is a critical position as whomever is ranked #1 in the division at the end of the USA Judo Senior National Championships, April 11-12 in Virginia Beach, Va., will hold both the #1 seed at the Trials as well as the right to compete at the Pan Am Championships and Zone Cup, May 8-11 in Miami. These two events will be the final opportunity for nations to qualify slots for the Olympic Games and will determine whether the United States can send a competitor in each division to Beijing in August. In the 60kg division, 18-year-old Aaron Kunihiro (Wakefield, Mass. / USA Judo National Team FORCE) and Nick Kossor (Glenville, N.Y. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) fought twice for the gold medal with both matches going to Golden Score (overtime). Kunihiro, who has established himself as a top contender in the division within the past year, is the #4 athlete in the division, but he held his own with 2007 Pan Am Team member Kossor. In both matches, Kunihiro threw Kossor for a koka in Golden Score-his third and fourth consecutive wins after beating Kossor during their last two matches at the 2007 Ladder Tournament in September. Five-time Pan Am medalist Aaron Cohen (Buffalo Grove, Ill. / NYAC / Cohen's Judo) won the 81kg division, beating 2008 Senior Nationals medalist Harry St. Leger (Brooklyn, N.Y. / NYAC / Starrett Judo) twice to win the gold medal. Reigning Pan Am Games bronze medalist Rick Hawn (Wakefield, Mass. / USA Judo National Team FORCE) moved up from the 81kg division to 90kg at this tournament last year and won the division again on Saturday. In a surprise to many competitors, three-time National Champion Nanoushka St. Pre (Brooklyn, N.Y. / Starrett Judo) returned to competition for the first time since 2003 and won the +78kg division. Mike Popiel, a former Canadian National Champion in the 66kg division, made the trip along with many of his teammates down to suburban Boston and fought up to 73kg where he won two of three matches against former U.S. Nationals medalist RJ Cohen (Buffalo Grove, Ill. / Cohen's Judo). Cohen and Popiel both counted victories over 2006 U.S. Open Champion Bobby Lee (Wakefield, Mass. / USA Judo National Team FORCE) among their wins. Ashlie Martini (Chicago, Ill. / Tohkon Judo), a former Senior Nationals medalist in both the 57kg and 63kg divisions, won the 63kg title. Martin was slated to fight five-time National Champion Carrie Chandler (Glenville, N.Y. / NYAC / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) in the final, but Chandler withdrew prior to the match. Chandler's teammate Hannah Martin (Burnt Hills, N.Y.), the 2007 Senior Nationals silver medalist in the 57kg division, placed second in the division after the withdrawal and Chandler placed third. Barry Jackman (Brooklyn, N.Y. / Starrett Judo), an Olympian from Barbados, won the +100kg division where he defeated #2-ranked Daniel McCormick (Wakefield, Mass. / USA Judo National Team FORCE). McCormick also lost to Vinnie Mancuso (Paramus, N.J. / Camal Judo) who won the silver medal. At 46-years-old, two-time Olympian Rene Capo (Naperville, Ill. / Cohen's Judo) was one of the oldest players in the tournament, but Capo proved to be one of the top contenders for the upcoming Trials. Although he hasn't competed since the Fall Classic Nationals in September, Capo beat 2007 Senior Nationals medalists Dariusz Mikolajczak (Brooklyn, N.Y. / NYAC / Starrett Judo) and Kyle Vashkulat (Glenville, N.Y. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) both by ippon en route to winning the 100kg title. The overall team title was taken by Pedro's Judo Center with Mayo Quanchi Judo Club and Starrett Judo taking second and third place, respectively. Complete results are as follows: Women's 44kg 1. Katelyn Bouyssou (Hope, R.I. / Mayo Quanchi Judo) 2. Meena Stout (Unknown) Women's 48kg 1. Sayaka Matsumoto (El Cerrito, Calif. / NYAC / East Bay Judo Institute) 2. Angela Creutzberger (Ballston, N.Y. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) 3. Natalie Lafon (Glenville, N.Y. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) Women's 52kg 1. Kim Carpenter (Burnt Hills, N.Y. / Jason Morris Judo Center) 2. Jessica Elizalde (Glenville, N.Y. / Jason Morris Judo Center) 3. Madison Hatch (Lebanon, Conn. / Mayo Quanchi Judo) Women's 57kg 1. Joliane Melancon (CAN) 2. Christine Ortega (Hope, R.I. / Mayo Quanchi Judo) 3. Hana Carmichael (Wellington, Fla. / Budokan) Women's 63kg 1. Ashlie Martini (Chicago, Ill. / Tohkon Judo) 2. Hannah Martin (Burnt Hills, N.Y. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) 3. Carrie Chandler (Glenville, N.Y. / NYAC / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) Women's 70kg 1. Emilie Claude-Leroux (CAN) 2. Malinda Bridges (Coventry, R.I. / Mayo Quanchi Judo) 3. Leah Fisher (Alexandria, Va. / Jason Morris Judo Center) Women's 78kg 1. Kayla Harrison (Wakefield, Mass. / USA Judo National Team FORCE / NYAC) 2. Katie Mocco (Glenville, N.Y. / NYAC / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) 3. Marie De Villars Matte (CAN) Women's +78kg 1. Nanoushka St. Pre (Brooklyn, N.Y. / Starrett Judo) 2. Janelle Snyder (Unknown) 3. Melissa Resek (Unknown) Men's 60kg 1. Aaron Kunihiro (Wakefield, Mass. / USA Judo National Team FORCE) 2. Nick Kossor (Glenville, N.Y. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) 3. Rafael Moscoso (Unknown) Men's 66kg 1. Jeremy Liggett (Glenville, N.Y. / NYAC / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) 2. Toshiya Nishimura (Spring Valley, Ohio / Renshuden) 3. Josh Shannon (Unknown) Men's 73kg 1. Mike Popiel (CAN) 2. RJ Cohen (Buffalo Grove, Ill. / Cohen's Judo) 3. AJ Silverman (Glenville, N.Y. / Jason Morris Judo Center) Men's 81kg 1. Aaron Cohen (Buffalo Grove, Ill. / NYAC / Cohen's Judo) 2. Harry St. Leger (Brooklyn, N.Y. / NYAC / Starrett Judo) 3. Nick Delpopolo (Glenville, N.Y. / NYAC / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) Men's 90kg 1. Rick Hawn (Wakefield, Mass. / USA Judo National Team FORCE) 2. Yuko Sin (Glenville, N.Y. / Jason Morris Judo Center) 3. Roger Mazzella (Natick, Mass. / Tohoku) Men's 100kg 1. Rene Capo (Naperville, N.Y. / Cohen's Judo) 2. Victor Jean-Baptiste (New York City, N.Y. / NYAC) 3. Dariusz Mikolajczak (Brooklyn, N.Y. / NYAC / Starrett Judo) Men's +100kg 1. Barry Jackman (BAR / Brooklyn, N.Y. / Starrett Judo) 2. Vinnie Mancuso (Paramus, N.J. / Camal Judo) 3. Daniel McCormick (Wakefield, Mass. / USA Judo National Team FORCE) For more information, contact Nicole Jomantas, USA Judo Director of Communications and Media Relations, at 719.271.9937 (cell) or Nicole.Jomantas@usajudo.us. -END-
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