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Sep 25 U.S. Open Championships Day 1 Preview

Sept. 25, 2009, 2:28 a.m. (ET)

(San Jose, Calif.) – The U.S. Open will begin on Friday with competition in the middle and heavyweight divisions at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, Calif. 

Competition begins at 9 a.m. and gold medal finals will be held at 5 p.m.

A complete breakdown of the divisions is as follows:

Women’s 63kg

The biggest surprise of this division looks to be the entrance of Kayla Chappell (Oklahoma City, Okla. / USA Stars).  The 17-year-old became the #1 player in the 52kg division after winning the 2008 U.S. Open and represented Team USA as a 52kg player at the Senior World Championships in Rotterdam.  Just over a month later, Chappell has moved through two weight divisions and will have the most difficult draw on the division with an opening round match against Isis Barreto (VEN), a seventh-place finisher at the 2008 Olympic Games.  The winner of that match will face two-time Senior National Champion Janine Nakao (Wakefield, Mass. / USA Judo National Team FORCE) in the quarter finals.  

On the top of the pool, 2008 Senior Nationals silver medalist Paola Genao-Butler (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center / Boulder Judo Training Center) has a first-round bye and needs only a win against Sofia Mani (SWE) to advance to her first U.S. Open semifinal.  

Top seed Christal Ransom (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center / Boulder Judo Training Center) won her first U.S. Open bronze medal in 2008 and will need a win against either Tomoko Okuda (JPN) or Emily Lilly (Daly City, Calif. / Sawtelle Judo), an 18-year-old who placed twice at previous U.S. Opens, to advance to the semis.  

Women’s 70kg

Top seed Katie Sell (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center / Boulder Judo Training Center) won bronze medals at the last two U.S. Open Championships, but will be looking for a trip to her first final.  One thing that will be guaranteed in this division is that a first-time Champion will be crowned.  Among the other contenders are Munguntuya Bantuu (MGL) as well as 2009 Senior Nationals medalists Samantha Bleier (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center / Boulder Judo Training Center) and Laquinta Allen (Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. / Onikusu Judo Club)

Women’s 78kg

Reigning Junior World Champion Kayla Harrison (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE) won this division with straight – and quick – ippons (instant wins) in 2008 and is favored to advance to the finals again this year where she could face three-time Pan Am medalist Keivi Pinto (VEN).

Women’s +78kg

Toni Geiger (Dumont, N.J. / Tech Judo) is the only U.S. player in this round robin that also includes 19-time Pan Am medalist Carmen Chala (ECU) and Yuliana Bolivar (VEN).

Men’s 81kg

Olympian Ryan Reser (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center / Boulder Judo Training Center) has won four U.S. Open titles at 73kg, but is entering the 81kg division for the first time at the Open.  Ross MacBaisey (Racho Santa Fe, Calif. / San Shi Judo) is the division’s top seed and is looking for his first U.S. Open medal.  With 10 foreign players in this 24-man bracket, the 81kg podium is bound to have an international flair that could include Adderramim Aloui (FRA) or Semchi Mongnkhuyag (MGL).  

Men’s 90kg

Both of the 2008 U.S. Open finalists in this division will be competing with former gold medalist Robert Edward (CAN) on the opposite side of the draw of silver medalist Jake Larsen (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center / Team FORCE).

Men’s 100kg

Two members of the 2009 Junior World Team could face off in the second round of this division.  Kyle Vashkulat (Glenville, N.Y. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) is a two-time Junior World Team member in this division and has a first-round bye.  Colin Robinson (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center / Boulder Judo Training Center) is a two-time Junior World Team member in the +100kg division who is moving down to the 100kg division for the first time.  Robinson will open his day against Victor Fischman, the reigning Israeli National Champion in the 90kg division.  Reigning U.S. Open silver medalist Tokuzo Takahashi (JPN) also is in this section of the pool.  The top of the bracket includes 2008 Paralympian Myles Porter (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center / Boulder Judo Training Center) and Anthony Pena (VEN) who is one of a number of excellent Venezuelan players competing in this event.

Men’s +100kg

Olympian Daniel McCormick (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE) won his first Senior National title this year and is hoping to add a U.S. Open to his repertoire after placing ninth at the 2008 Olympic Games.  Cedric Medeuf (FRA), the 2008 U.S. Open silver medalist, could face McCormick in the semifinals.  In a difficult half of the draw, 2008 Pan Ams fifth-place finisher Miguel Soto (VEN) could face Medeuf in the quarter-finals or McCormick in the semifinals.

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