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Mar 07 Bencosme and Harrison Win U.S. Open, Sell Takes Silver

Sept. 26, 2009, 12:08 a.m. (ET)

(San Jose, Calif.) – The assistant coach for the USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University came out to compete at the U.S. Open in his hometown of San Jose with no expectations, but finished the day with a gold medal in front of a crowd filled with friends and family. 

Jose Bencosme (San Jose, Calif.) had always been a fixture in the top five at the U.S. Open, but on Friday he made his first medal a gold one with a win over Mervin Rodriguez (VEN) in the 81kg division.  

 “I usually am good for one or two wins at the Open, so after my first match I was like ‘Ok, this is good.’ Then I had MacBaisey and I usually fight him pretty well, so I was still ok.  Then I beat the Japanese player and all of a sudden I was in the finals and then I started to get a little bit nervous,” Bencosme said.

After a first-round bye, Bencosme won matches against AJ Lupie (Aurora, Ill. / Fox Valley Judo & Jujitsu), 2008 Senior Nationals medalist Ross MacBaisey (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. / San Shi) and Kazuma Katabuchi (JPN) to advance to the finals.  His opponent, Rodriguez, also had an excellent day, upsetting 2008 Olympian Ryan Reser (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center / Boulder Judo Training Center) in an overtime semifinal match. 

“We do so many seminars with all the local clubs and kids that I knew a lot of them would be here and then after this morning people kept calling and telling me they were coming to see me fight in the finals.  It was here in San Jose, so I felt like I had to win,” Bencosme joked after the final. 

Bencosme started his final match well against Rodriguez, throwing him after just over a minute and transitioning into a pin.  Rodriguez escaped after only seven seconds and Bencosme was left without a score.

Within a minute, Rodriguez was awarded a waza-ari (half-point) for a throw that was later ruled as worth no score by the jury.  Bencosme got on the board mid-way through the match when he threw Rodriguez with a fireman’s carry for a waza-ari score, but with two penalties of his own, he knew he had to keep attacking to guarantee the win. 

The final minute was an exciting one with several near scores until the clock ran out with Bencosme winning by the waza-ari.  

“He’s a lot longer than I am, so I had to improvise on some of my throws, but I’m just happy I had the technique to carry me through it,” Bencosme said.

Bencosme is one of more than a dozen athletes from SJSU competing this weekend with several fighting on Saturday, including World Team members Marti Malloy (57kg) and Jeff Fong (66kg).

“I still compete here and there, but my number one priority is to make sure San Jose’s program keeps getting better.  If it takes me competing to set a good example for the kids I’ll do it,” Bencosme said.  “I hope it motivates the team and gives them more confidence tomorrow so they can know that all the things we’ve been working on really do work.”

While Bencosme was enjoying his first Open win, 19-year-old Kayla Harrison (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE) added her fifth title to the collection after winning gold medals in 2006, 2007 and 2008 in which she took both the 78kg and Open divisions titles.

After a first-round bye in the 78kg division, the reigning Junior World Champion threw Allison Clifford (San Jose, Calif. / USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University) and pinned her for ippon (instant win).  

Harrison’s final match pitted her against three-time Pan Am medalist Keivi Pinto (VEN), but she held control over the 90 second match in which she pinned Pinto for the win.

Katie Sell (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) advanced to the finals of the 70kg division for the first time after winning bronze in 2008, but lost the match when Marie-Eve De Villers-Matte (CAN) threw her for ippon. 

U.S. athletes also won 10 bronze medals in eight weight divisions. Competition continues on Saturday with the men’s and women’s lightweight and Open divisions.

Complete results are as follows:

Completed Draws

Women’s 63kg
1. Isis Barreto (VEN)
2. Maria Perez (PUR)
3. Paola Genao-Butler (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center / Boulder Judo Training Center)
3. Janine Nakao (Wakefield, Mass. / USA Judo National Team FORCE)
5. Emily Lilly (San Francisco, City College of San Francisco)
5. Christal Ransom (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center / Boulder Judo Training Center)

Women’s 70kg
1. Marie-Eve De Villers-Matte (CAN)
2. Katie Sell (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center / Boulder Judo Training Center)
3. Munguntuya Bantuu (MGL)
3. Aneta Mozden (CAN)
5. Laquinta Allen (Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. / Onikusu Judo)
5. Lisa Nakajima (CAN)

Women’s 78kg
1. Kayla Harrison (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE)
2. Keivi Pinto (VEN)
3. Kaitlyn McKim (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center / Boulder Judo Training Center)
3. Suzie Rizek (Naperville, Ill. / Fox Valley Judo & Jujitsu)
5. Allison Clifford (San Jose, Calif. / USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University)
5. Jaya Creavalle (CAN)

Women’s +78kg
1. Carmen Chala (ECU)
2. Yuliana Bolivar (VEN)
3. Toni Geiger (Dumont, N.J. / Tech Judo)

Men’s 81kg
1. Jose Bencosme (San Jose, Calif. / USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University)
2. Mervin Rodriguez (VEN)
3. Ryan Reser (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center / Boulder Judo Training Center)
3. Kazuma Katabuchi (JPN)
5. Justin Imagawa (CAN)
5. Adderramim Aloui (FRA)

Men’s 90kg
1. Robert Edward (CAN)
2. Jose Camacho (VEN)
3. Dyliver Sheykhislamov (CAN)
3. Carlos Martinez (PUR)
5. Lukasz Mozdzen (CAN)
5. Iavor Kostadinov (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center)

Men’s 100kg
1. Tokuzo Takahashi (JPN)
2. Carlos Santiago (PUR)
3. Anthony Pena (VEN)
3. William Worthington (Richmond, Calif. / Cahill’s Judo Academy)
5. Nedjo Sarenac (CAN)
5. Armen Babayan (Alendale, Calif. / Valley Judo Institute)

Men’s +100kg
1. Cedric Medeuf (FRA)
2. Ricardo Blas (GUA)
3. Daniel McCormick (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE)
3. Matthew Walker (Tacoma, Wash. / Ippon Judo)
5. Connor Driscoll (San Jose, Calif. / USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University)
5. Miguel Soto (VEN)

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