(Colorado Springs, Colo.) - Six U.S. junior athletes arrived in Cheongju, South Korea on Monday to compete on Thursday and Friday in the Jikji Cup, an elite junior international tournament.
Max Schneider (Chicago, Ill. / Tohkon) will be looking for his second international gold medal this season after winning the Pan American Juvenile Championships in El Salvador two weeks ago in the 66kg division. The event will be one of Schneider's final tune-up events before the 16-year-old competes at the Cadet World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Aug. 6-9.
Two of Schneider's teammates, Kyle Taketa (Torrance, Calif. / Gardena Judo) and Michael Harrison (Burke, Va. / Sport Judo), also competed in El Salvador where they won bronze medals in the junior 66kg and 90kg divisions, respectively.
Colton Brown (Piscatoway, N.J. / Cranford Judo) won the 81kg IJF-Junior division at the Youth and Scholastic National Championships earlier this year as an unseeded player and was one of the top young athletes at the Senior Nationals when he also entered the event without a seed, but one a bronze medal in one of the tournament's most difficult divisions.
After winning a gold medal at the Youth and Scholastic Nationals in the 52kg division, 14-year-old Mindy Chow (Honolulu, Hawaii / Hawaii Tenri) moved up to 57kg for the Senior Nationals where she won a bronze medal. Chow will be competing in her first major international tournament in the new weight division.
Sixteen-year-old Alix Desmole (San Francisco, Calif.) will be competing in her first major event outside the United States after placing fifth in the 63kg division at the Senior Nationals.
The team will be coached by Derrick Kerr (Honolulu, Hawaii).
All athletes on the team received funding in the form of room and board. Athletes ranked as #1 on the IJF-Junior or Juvenile B rosters (Brown, Taketa and Schneider) also received airfare.
Competition schedule is as follows:
Thursday July 2
Male 60kg, 66kg, 73kg
Female 48kg, 52kg, 57kg, 63kg
Friday July 3
Male 81kg, 90kg, 100kg, +100kg
Female 70kg, 78kg, +78kg