Team USA Wins 17 Medals at the Pan Am Games for the Blind in Colorado Springs

July 18, 2009, 9:49 p.m. (ET)

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) - For blind and visually impaired judo players, there isn't an extensive international competition calendar outside of the World Championships and Paralympic Games. 

But 14 members of Team USA had two opportunities on Saturday - the chance to represent their country as well as the ability to compete against international players on their home soil at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

Beijing Paralympian Myles Porter (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center / Boulder Judo Training Center) was considered Team USA's favorite for gold and he delivered, winning both the 100kg and open division with none of his four matches lasting longer than a minute before each opponent found himself on his back.

"Today was right on par with what we expected at this point," Porter said.  "There were some really good players here and I was coming off a knee injury, but conditioning and excellent coaching prevailed."

Like the rest of his teammates, Porter's focus now shifts to the U.S. Open, Sept. 25-26 in San Jose, Calif., where he will compete in both the sighted and visually impaired divisions.

"I'll fight seniors on Friday and then Trials [for the 2010 World Championships for the Blind] are on Saturday, so I'm really looking forward to both," Porter said.  "This is the first time the visually impaired division has been held at the U.S. Open and San Jose's a great city, so it should be a good event."

For Lori Pierce (Aurora, Colo. / Denver Judo), the Pan Ams were her first international event since she won the silver medal at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens.

Competing in the +70kg division, Pierce avenged her loss in April at the National Championships to Katie Davis (Sacramento, Calif. / Team Sacramento) by throwing Davis for yuko (quarter-point) and waza-ari (half-point) scores and ending the match with a second waza-ari. 

Pierce lost her next match to Leina Ruvalcaba (MEX), the reigning World and Paralympic silver medalist in the 70kg division, when she was thrown for ippon (instant win) with an o soto gari (outer leg throw).

"I took some time off after Athens because I really needed a break," said Pierce who is majoring in child psychology and communications at the University of Texas.  "The women's division has definitely gotten a lot stronger in the past couple years.  There's a lot of very good international competitors, but I just need to work on getting stronger."

Pierce went on to say that she plans on returning to her former 70kg division with the goal of qualifying for the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.

Competing in his first international event for visually impaired players, Jason Keaton (Elizabethtown, K.Y. / Ft. Knox Judo) showed that he could be a dark horse leading at the 2010 World Championships.  An MMA fighter who went by the name of "Blind Fury," Keaton took each of his first two matches at 90kg to the ground where he armbarred both Chris Jones (Pinole, Calif. / Cahill's) and Alexander Radoman (CAN).  Keaton was injured during his match with Radoman, however, and was forced to withdraw before his final match against Jorge Daniel Lencina (ARG), leaving Keaton with a silver medal.

The brother of two-time Paralympian Scott Jones (Little Rock, Ark. / Little Rock Judo), Ryan Jones (Aurora, Colo. / Denver Judo) fought up from his normal 100kg division to +100kg.

In a sport where most athletes cut weight, Jones spent the day before weigh-ins eating often to make sure he met the 100.1kg minimum weight requirement for the division. 

The weight disparity was put on display quickly when Jones's first match was against Johann Shockency (Andover, Minn. / Bemidji State University Judo) who outweighed Jones by nearly 150 pounds. 

Shockency earned the first score of the match with a yuko, but Jones regained control of the match when he threw Shockency twice with drop seoi nages (dropping shoulder throws), first for a waza-ari and then for ippon.

Jones won the silver medal in the division after a loss to William Montero (VEN).

A team competition also was held in the men's division.  Venezuela placed won the gold medal; Argentina took the silver and Team USA earned the bronze.

The team was led by Head Coach Scott Moore (Denver, Colo.) and Assistant Coach Raul Tamayo (Redwood City, Calif.)  Tamayo was the Head Coach of the 2008 Paralympic Team where he was assisted by Scott Moore who previously won three Paralympic medals during his own athletic career.  Marc Vink (Riverton, N.J.) was the Team Leader.

Complete results of the individual divisions are as follows:

Completed Draws

Men's 60kg
1. Juan Pablo Catellanos (COL)
2. Eduardo Guato (ARG)
3. Justyn Karn (CAN)
3. Ron Hawthorne (Kansas City, Kans. / Welcome Mat)

Men's 66kg
1. Wilson Alzate (COL)
2. Marcos Jose Falcon Ovar (VEN)
3. Luis Perez (PUR)

Men's 73kg
1. Eduardo Avila (MEX)
2. Mauricio Briceno Diaz (VEN)
3. Rodolfo Fabian Ramirez (ARG)
3. Michael Davis (Sacramento, Calif. / Team Sacramento)

Men's 81kg
1. Jose Effron (ARG)
2. Reinaldo Rafael Carvallo (VEN)
3. Adnan Gutic (St. Louis, Mo. / Wellman White Dragon)
3. Romeo Edmead (New York City, N.Y. / Oishi Dojo)

Men's 90kg
1. Jorge Daniel Lencina (ARG)
2. Jason Keaton (Elizabethtown, K.Y. / Ft. Knox Judo)
3. Chris Jones (Pinole, Calif. / Cahill's)
3. Alexander Radoman (CAN)

Men's 100kg
1. Myles Porter (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center / Boulder Judo Training Center)
2. Tim Rees (CAN)
3. Martin Langworthy (Salt Lake City, Utah / USA Stars)

Men's +100kg
1. William Montero (VEN)
2. Ryan Jones (Aurora, Colo. / Denver Judo)
3. Johann Shockency (Andover, Minn. / Bemidji State University Judo)

Men's Open
1. Myles Porter (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center / Boulder Judo Training Center)
2. Tim Rees (CAN)
3. Ron Hawthorne (Kansas City, Kans. / Welcome Mat)

Women's 52kg
1. Tina Thomas (Los Angeles, Calif. / Mojica Judo)

Women's 63kg
1. Naomi Alejandra (VEN)
2. Christella Garica (Sacramento, Calif. / Sacramento Judo)

Women's +70kg
1. Leina Ruvalcaba (MEX)
2. Lori Pierce (Aurora, Colo. / Denver Judo)
3. Katie Davis (Sacramento, Calif. / Team Sacramento)