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Feb 26 USA Judo Announces Nominees to the 2009 Pan American Championship Team

Feb. 26, 2009, 6:36 p.m. (ET)

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) - USA Judo is pleased to announce the 17 players who have been nominated to represent Team USA at the Pan American Championships, March 26-29 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
 
Due to the movement of the Pan Ams from May to March, the nominees were selected based on the USA Judo Senior Elite National Roster as of Feb. 16 with the #1 ranked athlete in each division receiving an invitation to compete in the first 2012 Olympic Qualifying Tournament to be held in the Pan Am region.
 
Although the team includes many first time members of Team USA, nominees include two Olympians, five past Junior World Team members, three past Senior World Team members and six past Pan Am Team members.
 
"This will be a first-time experience for many members of this Team, but with the Olympic qualification process already underway for 2012, this will be a great opportunity for some of our younger athletes to try and earn World Rankings as well as get their hands on many of the best players in the world," said Eddie Liddie (Colorado Springs, Colo.)  "The race is on for London and the sooner our rookie players can experience these high levels of competition, the better off they'll be in the long run."
 
The final Pan Am Team will be announced in March after athletes have accepted or declined their positions.
 
The roster of nominees is as follows:
 
Men's 55kg
Steve Perez (Miami, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami)
 
Men's 60kg
Aaron Kunihiro (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE)
* Seventh-place finisher at the 2008 Junior World Championships
 
Men's 66kg
Jeff Fong (San Jose, Calif. / USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University)
 
Men's 73kg
Michael Eldred (Fruitland, Idaho / Western Idaho Judo Institute)
*2004 Junior World Team member
 
Men's 81kg
Travis Stevens (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE)
* Ninth-place finisher at the 2008 Olympic Games, two-time Pan Am medalist, 2008 Pan Am silver medalist and 2007 Senior World Team member
 
Men's 90kg
Jacob Larsen (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center)
*2006 Junior World Team member
 
Men's 100kg
Djamaldin Aliev (Greenwood Village, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center)
*2005 and 2007 Senior World Team member, 2006 Pan Am Team member
 
Men's +100kg
Anthony Turner (Miami, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami)
*2008 Pan Am Team member and 2001 Pan Am bronze medalist
 
Men's Open
Kyle Vashkulat (Glenville, N.Y. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center)
*2008 Junior World Team member
 
Women's 44kg
Taylor Ibera (Honolulu, Hawaii / Hawaii Tenri)
*2008 Pan Am Champion
 
Women's 48kg
Natalie Lafon (Glenville, N.Y. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center)
 
Women's 52kg
Kayla Chappell (Oklahoma City, Okla. / USA Stars)
 
Women's 57kg
Angelica Delgado (Miami, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami)
 
Women's 63kg
Christal Ransom (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center)
 
Women's 70kg
Ronda Rousey (Santa Monica, Calif. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE)
*2008 Olympic bronze medalist, 2007 World silver medalist, two-time Junior World medalist and five-time Pan Am medalist
 
Women's 78kg
Nina Cutro-Kelly (San Antonio, Texas / Universal Judo)
*2002 Junior World Team Member
 
Women's +78kg
Melinda Swanson (Honolulu, Hawaii / Hawaii Tenri)
*2008 Pan Am Team member
 
Women's Open
Melinda Swanson (Honolulu, Hawaii / Hawaii Tenri)
*2008 Pan Am Team member

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