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Jun 08 Team USA to Compete at Pan Am Junior and Juvenile Championships This Weekend in El Salvador

June 08, 2009, 6:17 p.m. (ET)

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) - Twenty-eight junior athletes will compete at the Pan American Junior and Juvenile Championships on Friday and Saturday in San Salvador, El Salvador.

One of the most prestigious tournaments in North and South America, the tournament includes Juvenile competition on Friday for 15-16-year-olds and Junior competition on Saturday for 17-19-year-olds. 

Although these athletes are young, 13 players are veterans of previous Pan Am Junior or Infantile (11-14-year-olds) Teams.

Kyle Taketa (Torrance, Calif. / Gardena Judo) has competed at all levels of Pan Am competition, winning a bronze medal in the 55kg division of the Senior Pan American Championships in 2007 as a 15-year-old. 

The reigning Pan Am Juvenile Champion at 60kg, Taketa has moved up in both age and weight this year to the Junior 66kg division.  A fifth-place finisher at the Senior Nationals this year, Taketa won his first title outside of the United States as a 40kg 13-year-old at the 2005 Pan Am Infantile Championships in Costa Rica.

Kadee Shadden (Mineral Wells, Texas / Ruben Martin Judo Training Center) won her first major gold medal last year when she took gold at the 2008 Pan American Juvenile Championships in the 70kg division and will return to defend her title.

Five of Taketa and Shadden's 2008 Teammates also will be competing this weekend.

Andrew Porras (Hialeah, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami) is no stranger to Pan Am competition, having advanced to the finals of four previous events, earning silver medals at the 2007 and 2008 Pan Am Juvenile Championships and placing second at the 2004 and 2006 Pan Am Infantile Championships.  Porras remains 73kg again this year, but has moved up to the Junior division.

This year, Porras hopes to earn his first gold medal and has had earlier success this season at the senior level when he upset the reigning Cuban National Champion en route to placing second at the Jose Ramon Rodriguez Championships - a result which would give the teenager a #5 ranking on the USA Judo Senior National Roster in the 73kg division.

Lisette Abad (San Jose, Calif. / After-School All-Stars) will be competing again in the Junior 48kg division after winning a bronze medal in 2008.  Abad, who competed at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Judo, had her highest placing at the Senior Nationals in April when she finished fifth in San Diego.

A veteran of two previous teams, Kelsi Bostic (Anderson, Ind. / Judan Judo) will be competing for the second time in the Junior 70kg division after winning the bronze medal last year in Buenos Aires. 

Joshua Prado (Coral Springs, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami), a 2004 Pan Am Infantile bronze medalist, won a bronze again last year in the Juvenile 51kg division.  This year Prado moved up to the Junior 55kg division. 

Ruben Martin Jr. (Burleson, Texas / Ruben Martin Judo Club), a silver medalist at the 2005 Pan Am Infantile Championships in the 48kg division, competed in the Juvenile 66kg division last year where he placed fifth.  This year, Martin moved down a weight division to Juvenile 60kg. 

Veronica Prado (Coral Springs, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami) has fought on three Pan Am Junior Teams, winning the 2006 Pan Am Juvenile event as a 40kg player.  Prado also has earned bronze medals in 2005 and 2007 at 40kg and 44kg, respectively.  The reigning Senior National Champion at 44kg, Prado is looking for her first Pan Am Junior title in the 44kg division.

Colin Robinson (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) won a gold medal during his last Pan Am event as a Juvenile player in the 90kg division.  Now a heavyweight, Robinson will compete against athletes in the +100kg Junior division.

Chrissy Chow (Honolulu, Hawaii / Hawaii Tenri) was one of the youngest medalists at the 2008 Senior Nationals when she won a bronze in the 52kg division as a 15-year-old.  Competing in her first Pan Am Junior Championships, Chow was a bronze medalist at the 2006 Pan Am Infantiles in the 53kg division and will fight in the Junior 52kg division this weekend.

Often referred to as "The Maxes," Max Golembo (Vernon Hills, Ill. / Cohen's Judo) and Max Schneider (Chicago, Ill. / Tohkon) won bronzes on their first team together at the Pan Am Infantile Championships in 2005.  Back then, Golembo was a 53kg player and Schneider fought in the 42kg division. 

This year, the two will compete together on both the Pan Am Juvenile and Cadet World Teams with Golembo weighing in at 73kg and Schneider at 66kg. 

Matthias Montez (Brentwood, Calif. / After-School All-Stars) will return to his second U.S. Team after wining the 2004 Pan Am Infantile Championships as a 53kg player.  Five years later, Montez will be competing in the Junior 81kg division.

The Team is being led by Head Coach Ruben Martin (Burleson, Texas).  Martin is the father of team members Ruben Martin Jr. and Samantha Martin (Burleson, Texas / Juvenile 52kg) who train at his eponymous club.

Martin is being assisted by Brett Wolf (Chicago, Ill.)  Other members of the coaching staff include 2006 Junior World Team Coach Jhonny Prado (Coral Springs, Fla.), Henry Okamura (Chicago, Ill.), Bill Andreas (Orlando, Fla.) and Delcides Diaz (Tampa, Fla.)

USA Judo CEO Jose H. Rodriguez (Colorado Springs, Colo.) will be travelling with the Team as the Head of Delegation.

Denise Martin (Burleson, Texas) will serve as the Team Coordinator / Athlete Chaperone. 

A complete roster of athletes competing this weekend is as follows:

Junior Team (17-19-year-olds)

Female 44kg
Veronica Prado (Coral Springs, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami)

Female 48kg
Lisette Abad (San Jose, Calif. / After-School All-Stars)

Female 52kg
Chrissy Chow (Honolulu, Hawaii / Hawaii Tenri)

Female 63kg
Jillian Roman (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center)

Female 70kg
Kelsi Bostic (Anderson, Ind. / Judan Judo)

Female 78kg
Helen Delpopolo (Westfield, N.J.)

Male 55kg
Joshua Prado (Coral Springs, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami)

Male 66kg
Kyle Taketa (Torrance, Calif. / Gardena Judo)

Male 73kg
Andrew Porras (Hialeah, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami)

Male 81kg
Matthias Montez (Brentwood, Calif. / After-School All-Stars)

Male 90kg
Michael Harrison (Burke, Va. / Sport Judo)

Male 100kg
Armen Babayan (Alendale, Calif. / Valley Judo Institute)

Male +100kg
Colin Robinson (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center)

Juvenile Team (15-16-year-olds)

Female 40kg
Destinee Nagtalon (Cupertino, Calif. / San Jose Buddhist Judo Club)

Female 44kg
Vanessa Calimquim (Long Beach, Calif. / South Bay Judo)

Female 48kg
Brianna Padron (Davie, Fla. / Panther Judo)

Female 52kg
Samantha Martin (Burleson, Texas / Ruben Martin Judo Training Center)

Female 57kg
Crystal Butts (Fontana, Calif. / LACC Judo Club)

Female 63kg
Yesenia Crespo (Dover, Fla. / Del Diaz Mambi Training Center)

Female 70kg
Kadee Shadden (Mineral Wells, Texas / Ruben Martin Judo Training Center)

Female +70kg
Micaela Enriquez (Burleson, Texas / Ruben Martin Judo Training Center)

Male 51kg
Daniel Neyra (Boca Raton, Fla. / Onikusu Judo Club)

Male 60kg
Ruben Martin (Burleson, Texas / Ruben Martin Judo)

Male 66kg
Max Schneider (Chicago, Ill. / Tohkon Judo Academy)

Male 73kg
Max Golembo (Vernon Hills, Ill. / Cohen's Judo)

Male 81kg
Pablo Redden-Gonzalez (Earlysville, Va. / Charlottesville Judo Academy)

Male 90kg
Mike Harris (Clermont, Fla. / Central Florida Judo & Jujitsu)

Male +90kg
Jimmy Barnes (Oklahoma City, USA Stars)

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