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Mar 07 Team USA Wins Four Bronze Medals at the Pan Am Championships

March 28, 2009, 12:09 a.m. (ET)

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) - Team USA won four medals during the final day of individual competition at the Pan American Championships on Friday in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 
 
Competing in his first Pan American Championships, Michael Eldred (Fruitland, Idaho / Western Idaho Judo Institute) and his first opponent, Jose Hipolito (MEX), were each scoreless in the 73kg division when Eldred pinned Hipolito in the last 14 seconds
 
In the quarter-finals, Eldred was thrown by two-time Olympic medalist Leandro Guilheiro (BRA).  Eldred then dropped down to the repechage where he pinned both Leandro Vaz (URU) and Arturo Zapata (VEN) to advance to the bronze medal match where he choked Francisco Cuneo (ARG)
 
Aaron Kunihiro (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE), a 2008 Junior World Team member, also won a bronze medal as a first-time Pan Am Team member in the 60kg division.
 
After a first-round bye, Kunihiro and 2008 New York Open medalist Jose Romero (ECU) went to Golden Score (overtime) before he scored a yuko (quarter-point) to end in the match.
 
Kunihiro then met 2008 Pan Am Champion Javier Guedez (VEN) in the semifinals, but was thrown for ippon (instant win) with a kata guruma (fireman's carry).  
 
In the bronze medal match Kunihiro was down by a waza-ari (half-point) to a yuko to Felipe Kitadaj (BRA), but he came back in the final minute to throw Kitadaj for a waza-ari and win the match
 
Taylor Ibera (Honolulu, Hawaii / Hawaii Tenri) and Connor Murtha (Boulder, Colo. / Team FORCE / Boulder Judo Training Center) won bronze medals in the non-Olympic 44kg and 55kg divisions, respectively.
 
First-time Pan Am Team members Natalie Lafon (Glenville, N.Y. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) and Kayla Chappell (Oklahoma City, Okla. / USA Stars) each placed fifth in the 48kg and 52kg divisions, respectively.
 
After a first-round bye, Lafon threw Evelin Rodriguez (GUA) for ippon.  In the semifinals, however, Lafon was pinned by Luz Alvarez (COL).  Lafon escaped from the pin, but 20 seconds had already elapsed and Alvarez led by a waza-ari score and a previous yuko.  Alvarez was given two penalties for a yuko score, but Lafon lost by the original waza-ari score.
 
In the bronze medal match Lafon fought 2008 Junior World Champion, but placed fifth after losing on points in the five-minute match.
 
Sixteen-year-old Chappell threw Belen Achurra (CHI) for ippon after a first-round bye to advance to the semifinals against Yanet Bermoy (CUB).
 
Bermoy, a former World Champion and 2008 Olympic silver medalist, took control of the match early and threw Chappell for ippon.
 
In the bronze medal match, Chappell fought well against former Glenda Miranda (ECU), a former Pan American Champion in the 48kg division, but lost on penalties to place fifth overall.
 
Eighteen-year-old Angelica Delgado (Miami, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami) rebounded from a first-round loss to Candida Ramirez (GUA) to win her next match against Ana Leon.  With the scored tied after five minutes, Delgado and Leon fought another five minutes in Golden Score before Delgado was awarded the match by referees' decision.
 
In the next round, Delgado looked to be headed to fight for bronze when she countered Joliane Melancon (CAN) with an o soto gari for a yuko score.  Melancon took the match to the ground, though, pinning Delgado for the win.
 
Three other U.S. players competed, but did not advance.
 
Kyle Vashkulat (Glenville, N.Y. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) and Mindy Swanson (Honolulu, Hawaii / Hawaii Tenri) both lost each of their two matches in the Open division.
 
Jeff Fong (San Jose, Calif. / USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University) was thrown for ippon in the first round of the 66kg division by Alejandro Zuniga (CHI).
 
Team USA will be competing in the team and kata (forms) competitions on Saturday.
 
The following is the lineup for the team event:
 
Men
66kg: Jeff Fong (San Jose, Calif. / USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University)
81kg: Travis Stevens (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE)
90kg:  Garry St. Leger (Brooklyn, N.Y. / NYAC / Legrosports Starrett)
100kg:  Kyle Vashkulat (Glenville, N.Y. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center)
Open:  Daniel McCormick (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE)
Alternate: Michael Eldred (Fruitland, Idaho / Western Idaho Judo Institute)

Women
52kg: Kayla Chappell (Oklahoma City, Okla. / USA Stars)
63kg: Christal Ransom (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center)
70kg: Katie Sell (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center)
78kg: Suzie Rizek (Naperville, Ill. / Fox Valley Judo & Jujitsu)
Open:  Mindy Swanson (Honolulu, Hawaii / Hawaii Tenri)
Alternate:  Angelica Delgado (Miami, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami)

Two pairs of athletes will be competing in the women's kata events: 

  • Claudia Smith (Cypress, Texas / Houston Budokan) and Carla Martin (Houston, Texas / Houston Budokan)
  • Karen Whilden (Vienna, Va. / Hui-O Judo) and Diane Jackson (Silver, Md. / Hui-O Judo)

Complete results are as follows:

Men's 55kg
1. Damian Villalba (ARG)
2. Dodanim Garcia (COL)
3. Connor Murtha (Boulder, Colo. / Team FORCE / Boulder Judo Training Center)
3. Shujon Mazunder (CAN)

Men's 60kg
1. Javier Guedez (VEN)
2. Frazer Will (CAN)
3. Yosmany Piker (CUB)
3. Aaron Kunihiro (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE)
5. Mariano Russo (ARG)
5. Felipe Kitadaj (BRA)
7. Jose Romero (ECU)
7. Juan Postigos (PER)

Men's 66kg
1. Joao Derly (BRA)
2. Miguel Albarracin (ARG)
3. Michal Popiel (CAN)
3. Luis Carlos Galindo (COL)
5. Alejandro Zuniga (CHI)
5. Carlos Figueroa (ESA)
7. Israel Verdugo (ECU)
7. Guilherme Adib (URU)

Also Competed: Jeff Fong (San Jose, Calif. / USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University), 0-1

Men's 73kg
1. Leandro Guilheiro (BRA)
2. Nicholas Tritton (CAN)
3. Michael Eldred (Fruitland, Idaho / Western Idaho Judo Institute)
3. Yordanis Arencibia (CUB)
5. Fernando Salazar (CHI)
5. Francisco Cuneo (ARG)
7. Arturo Zapata (VEN)
7. Pedro Viveros (COL)

Men's Open
1. Luciano Correa (BRA)
2. Oscar Brayson (CUB)
3. Luis Ignacio Salazar (COL)
3. Hector Campos (ARG)
5. Sergio Garcia (MEX)
5. Carlos Zegarra (PER)
7. Kyle Vashkulat (Glenville, N.Y. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center)
7. Manuel Bueno (URU)

Women's 44kg
1. Steffany Garatejo (COL)
2. Jacqueline Solis (GUA)
3. Antonieta Galleguillos (CHI)
3. Taylor Ibera (Honolulu, Hawaii / Hawaii Tenri)

Women's 48kg
1. Paula Pareto (ARG)
2. Luz Alvarez (COL)
3. Sarah Menezes (BRA)
3. Edna Carrillo (MEX)
5. Bianca Ockedahl (CAN)
5. Natalie Lafon (Glenville, N.Y. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center)
7. Luciana Suarez (URU)
7. Evelin Rodriguez (GUA)

Women's 52kg
1. Yanet Bermoy (CUB)
2. Yulieth Sanchez (COL)
3. Oritia Gonzalez (ARG)
3. Glenda Miranda (ECU)
5. Kayla Chappell (Oklahoma City, Okla. / USA Stars)
5. Erika Miranda (BRA)
7. Belen Achurra (CHI)
7. Jimena Islas (MEX)

Women's 57kg
1. Yurisleidys Lupetey (CUB)
2. Danielle Zangrando (BRA)
3. Joliane Melancon (CAN)
3. Diana Villavicencio (ECU)
5. Candida Ramirez (GUA)
5. Melissa Rodriguez (ARG)
7. Katia Caviglia (URU)
7. Angelica Delgado (Miami, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami)

Women's Open
1. Idalis Ortiz (CUB)
2. Vanessa Zambotti (MEX)
3. Carmen Chala (ECU)
3. Claudirine Cesar (BRA)
5. Melinda Swanson (Honolulu, Hawaii / Hawaii Tenri)
5. Alyssa Caughy (CAN)

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