Katelyn Bouyssou and Max Schneider Place Fifth at Cadet World Championships
(Colorado Springs, Colo.) - A pair of teenagers showed that the future of USA Judo is bright when they each placed fifth at the Cadet World Championships for 15-16-year-olds on Friday in Budapest, Hungary.
Held for the first time this year, the Cadet Worlds drew 529 athletes from more than 70 nations, including Japan and Russia who have dominated the top of the podium for the first two days of competition, winning seven of the eight gold medals awarded between the two nations.
Katelyn Bouyssou (Hope, R.I. / NYAC / Mayo Quanchi Judo Club) and Max Schneider (Chicago, Ill. / Tohkon) each held their own with players from Europe, Asia and South America, placing fifth in the 48kg and 66kg divisions, respectively.
The event was the first World Championship of the season for Bouyssou, a 15-year-old who made history earlier this year by becoming the youngest U.S. player ever to qualify for a Senior World Team.
Bouyssou had a bye before her first round match against Bernadett Keliger (HUN) who won a bronze medal at the European Cadet Championships in June.
"The first match is always the toughest because I had to get all of my nerves out, but you just have to know you can do it," Bouyssou said.
Bouyssou took the lead in the match when Keliger went in for an attack and Bouyssou countered with a throw for a yuko score.
In the quarter-finals, Bouyssou faced Hiromi Endo (JPN) who threw Bouyssou with an early o uchi gari (inner leg throw) for a yuko score and followed with a drop seoi later in the match for ippon. Endo would go on to become the only player in the first two days of the Worlds to win gold with straight ippons.
Still eligible for a bronze medal, Bouyssou dropped down to the repechage where she controlled her match against European U17 Championships medalist Lien Moors (BEL). Bouyssou forced Moors into three penalties that equaled a waza-ari score before ending the match when she pinned Moors for 20 seconds, giving the American the second waza-ari to win the match and advance to the bronze medal round.
Julia Rosso (FRA) took an early lead when she threw Bouyssou with a tomoe nage (circle throw) for a yuko (quarter-point) score. After putting up the first score of the match, Rosso decreased her attacks and was eventually given a stalling penalty.
"I was getting really frustrated because I didn't know what to do when she was running," Bouyssou said. "She'd back away, then I'd get a grip and she'd kill it and then back away again. She kind of ran after that yuko, but I know it was my fault that I didn't fix things."
With Bouyssou continuing her attacks in the final minute, Rosso was given another stalling penalty in the last 10 seconds that would have tied the score and sent the match into Golden Score (overtime).
The penalty was waved off by the corner judges, however, and Russo won the bronze medal while Bouyssou placed fifth.
In just over two weeks, 15-year-old Bouyssou will return to the world stage when she competes at the Senior World Championships, Aug. 26-30 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
"This helped prepare me for Senior Worlds. It was kind of an eye opener," she said. "I think today went well. I could've done better than what I did, but I just need to keep practicing, keep my head up. I know I have the skills, I just have lots of things I need to work on."
Sixteen-year-old Schneider began his day with a first-round bye in the 66kg division and a second-round match against Zoltan Horvath (HUN). Schneider threw Horvath three times, leading the match by a yuko score before throwing Horvath with a pair of fireman's carries for waza-ari and ippon scores to advance to the third round.
Schneider's fireman's carry would come in handy in his next match when he scored a waza-ari with the throw against Alonso Wong Albujar (PER) before pinning him to win the match.
In the next match, Schneider threw Gum-Song Kim (PRK) with a tomoe nage for a waza-ari score and then pinned him to win the match.
With the opportunity to fight for gold on the line, Schneider faced Jalil Jalilov (AZE) in the semifinals, but was thrown twice with te gurumas (hand wheel throw) and dropped down to the bronze medal match where he was thrown by Bong-Ju Kwak (KOR) with an uchimata (inner thigh throw).
"I was a little disappointed with my last match, but stuff happens. You live, learn and get better. Other than that, I'm happy with how I did today," Schneider said.
Throughout the day, Schneider demonstrated his strength against opponents on the ground, something he is expected to continue when he returns to Lane Tech High School in Chicago as a sophomore this fall. Schneider made an early first impression last season when he placed second at the Illinois State Championships in wrestling - a feat for any freshman, but even more so considering that it was his first season in the sport which he picked up to supplement his judo.
"I placed second at State at 135 [pounds] in my first year," Schneider said. "I always liked mat work in judo, so I just took to wrestling pretty quick."
A veteran of two Pan Am Junior Teams, Schneider is no stranger to international competition, but has also taken time to enjoy his first World Championship experience.
"We've had fun interacting with other teams. I've been working on my Italian and taking pictures with other countries. I've even been doing some trading and brought some Chicago 2016 wristbands with me to trade too," Schneider said.
One of three athletes from Illinois on the team, Jessica Irons (Yorkville, Ill. / Team FORCE / Yorkville Judo) started out strong in the 52kg division, nearly scoring on Eun-Ju Lee (PRK) several times, but in the final minute Lee caught Irons with an uchimata (inner thigh throw) for a yuko (quarter-point) score. Irons picked up her pace and went in with an attack, but Lee countered and threw her with another uchimata to win by ippon (instant win) with 17 seconds remaining in the match.
Irons was eliminated from the tournament and Lee went on to win the silver medal.
Everet Desilets (Hope, R.I. / Mayo Quanchi Judo) was the fourth member of Team USA who competed on Friday. Desilets was down by two penalties to Shukhrad Farkhizoda (TJK) when Farkhizoda threw Desilets with an ippon seoi nage (shoulder throw) for the waza-ari (half-point) score that won the match.
Competition continues on Saturday with the following divisions:
Max Golembo (Vernon Hills, Ill. / Cohen's Judo)
Jeremy Galib (Pittsfield, Mass. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center)
Carly Patton (Zephyrhills, Fla. / Del. Diaz Mambi Judo)
Complete results are as follows:
1. Naohisa Takato (JPN)
2. Matheus Machado (BRA)
3. Song-Chul Heyon (PRK)
3. Beka Tugushi (GEO)
5. Davit Ghazaryan (ARM)
5. Vlad Visan (ROU)
7. Alexandre Mariac (FRA)
7. Romen Singh Nongmeikapam (IND)
Also Competed: Everet Desilets (Hope, R.I. / Mayo Quanchi Judo Club), 0-1
1. Arbi Khamkhoev (RUS)
2. Jalil Jalilov (AZE)
3. Bong-Ju Kwak (KOR)
3. Phuc-Hong Cai (DEN)
5. Max Schneider (Chicago, Ill. / Tohkon Judo)
5. Roman Moustopoulos (GRE)
7. Dulguun Otgonbayar (MGL)
7. Gum-Song Kim (PRK)
1. Hiromi Endo (JPN)
2. Odette Giuffrida (ITA)
3. Julia Rosso (FRA)
3. Anna Dmitrieva (RUS)
5. Katelyn Bouyssou (Hope, R.I. / Mayo Quanchi Judo Club)
5. Ecatrina Guica (CAN)
7. Lien Moors (BEL)
7. Maja Rasinska (POL)
1. Ning Li (CHN)
2. Eun-Ju Lee (PRK)
3. Takumi Miyakawa (JPN)
3. Christine Huck (AUT)
5. Rotem Shor (ISR)
5. Denise Nortan (NED)
7. Nataliya Ilkiv (UKR)
7. Cristina Matel (ROU)
Also Competed: Jessica Irons (Yorkville, Ill. / Team FORCE / Yorkville Judo), 0-1