Ransom and Harrison Earn Match Wins Against Brazil in Exhibition Team Event
(Colorado Springs, Colo.) - Top-ranked U.S. players Kayla Harrison (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE) and Christal Ransom (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) won two of Team USA's five women's matches during an exhibition team event against Brazil on Thursday in Porto Alegre.
Ransom earned the first win for the Americans when she pinned Hellen Aguiar in the 63kg division.
The win brought the two women's teams to a tie at one win, loss and draw apiece.
Prior to Ransom's match, 2007 Pan Am Team member Veronica Prado (Coral Springs, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami) and Mayara Gomes were tied in the 48kg division when Gomes threw Prado with an ippon seoi nage (shoulder throw) for a yuko (quarter-point) score in the final 20 seconds of the match.
Former Pan Am Games medalist Jeanette Rodriguez (Davie, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami) and Taciana Rezende de Lima also fought a close match with neither player scoring in the 52kg division. With seconds left on the clock, Rodriguez pinned the Belo Horizonte World Cup Champion, but the pin was waved off by the referees before the 15 seconds needed to earn a score, leaving the second match as a draw.
Katie Sell (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center), a 2009 World Team member, fought well against 2005 Pan Am Silver medalist Marcia Lima Vieira, but was down by a yuko score until the final minute when Vieira threw Sell for ippon (instant win).
With Team USA needing another win to tie the competition, Junior World Champion Kayla Harrison (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE) pinned Rafaela Nitz in the first minute of their match in the 78kg division.
The tied score (2-2-1) meant Rodriguez and Rezende de Lima would fight a three-minute Golden Score (sudden death) match to determine the winner of the team event.
Rodriguez went in for a te guruma (hand wheel throw) attack, but Rezende de Lima countered her with an o uchi (inner leg throw) to win the match.
The men's team featured several close matches, but Team USA lost the overall exhibition event.
Aaron Kunihiro (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE) fought up from 60kg to 66kg where he was thrown for ippon by Afonso Baldigen.
In the 73kg division, 16-year-old Andrew Porras (Hialeah, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami) and Felipe Amaro Braga went four minutes without a score until Braga armbarred Porras for the win.
Beijing Olympian Travis Stevens (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE) met a familiar foe in the 81kg division - Guilherme Luna, the 2008 Pan Am Champion who Stevens lost his match to by a penalty on Sunday at the Belo Horizonte World Cup.
Penalties were a factor again for both players with the score tied at three each. The match was decided, however, by a yuko scored by Luna.
Jacob Larsen (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) fought a close match in the 90kg division against Eduardo Santos, a seventh-place finisher at the 2008 Olympic Games, with the match ending in a tie.
Like Stevens, Shintaro Higashi (Scarsdale, N.Y. / NYAC / Kokushi Budo Institute) also fought a player who he met in the 100kg division at the World Cup on Sunday. Leandro Goncalves defeated Higashi in the bronze medal match in Belo Horizonte, but this match was closer, going a full five minutes before Goncalves won by a yuko score.
Heavyweight Olympian Daniel McCormick (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE) fought a close match as well with three-time Pan American Champion Walter Santos, but Santos pinned McCormick for the win.
This event will be the first of a series of team tournaments for U.S. athletes against all-star teams from other nations with the next being held in Miami later this year.