World Team Named at the U.S. Open for the Visually Impaired

Sept. 27, 2009, 12:56 p.m. (ET)

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – The first-ever U.S. Open Championships for the Visually Impaired offered athletes not only an opportunity to compete against an international contingent, but also served as the Trials for the 2010 World Championships that will be held in Antalya, Turkey, March 25-29. 

At the conclusion of the U.S. Open and World Team Trials on Saturday at the McEnery Convention Center, 12 athletes were named to the team that will compete in Turkey, including six former World and Paralympic Team members.

Gregory Dewall (Chico, Calif. / Stanford Judo) won a bronze medal at the 2008 Paralympic Games as a +100kg player, but moved down to 90kg earlier this year.  DeWall looked comfortable at the new weight, winning three of his four matches by ippon (instant win) and only dropping the final match in a close loss to German Paralympian Sebastien Junk (GER)

According to the World Team selection criteria, if the top seeded player also was the highest finishing American in a division, he or she would be named to the World Team.  Otherwise there would be a best-of-three fight-off. 

As Greg was a newcomer to the division, the top seed was Robert Deese (Billings, Mont. / Martial Arts Academy) who DeWall threw early in the first round with a drop seoi nage (dropping shoulder throw) for ippon.  Deese declined to participate in the fight-off, giving DeWall a berth on his second World Team.

Myles Porter (Colorado Springs, Colo. / NYAC / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) placed fifth at his first World Championships in 2006 and again at the 2008 Paralympic Games as a 100kg player.  One of the top-five players in the United States among sighted athletes, Porter defeated Tim Rees (CAN) twice by ippon to qualify for the Worlds.   

The first U.S. female judo player to win a medal at the Paralympic Games when the sport was introduced in 2004, Lori Pierce (Austin, Texas / Cahill’s Judo Academy) fought in the 78kg division at the Nationals and Pan American Games earlier this year, but moved back down to 70kg for this tournament where she won the gold medal and qualified for her third World Team after winning a silver medal in 2002.

Ron Hawthorne (Kansas City, Kans. / Cahill’s Judo Academy) qualified for his second World Team after winning both of his matches in the 60kg division, defeating Andriy Butenko (UKR) and Toshiro Yamamoto (San Francisco, Calif. / Cahill’s Judo Academy) by yuko (quarter-point) and waza-ari (half-point) scores, respectively.

Jordan Mouton (Houston, Texas / Diamondback Judo) competed as a teenager at the 2006 Worlds in the 52kg division and the 2007 Worlds at 57kg.  The 2008 Paralympian and former wrestler fought Christella Garcia (Sacramento, Calif. / Sacramento Judo) twice in the Open, throwing Garcia in the first match and pinning her in the second.  As the top seed, and a top-five finisher at the 2007 Worlds, Garcia was given a fight-off, but Mouton pinned her twice more to qualify for the 2009 Worlds.

Christina Thomas (Los Angeles, Calif. / Mojica Judo) lost both of her matches in the 48kg division against Paralympic medalist Carmen Brussig (GER), but as the only American in her division, qualified for her third World Team.  

A silver medalist at the Pan American Games for the Blind, Ryan Jones (Aurora, Colo. / Denver Judo) barely made the minimum cut-off weight for the +100kg division in July, but didn’t struggle in pinning Kenneth Davis (Hillsboro, Ore. / Ojukan) twice to qualify for his first World Team as the top seed.  

“I’m ecstatic,” Jones said after the match as he texted family and friends with the good news, including brother Scott Jones (Little Rock, Ark.), a two-time Paralympian.  “I’m hoping to get more experience under my belt between now and then and go all out in Turkey.”

The top-ranked player in the 81kg division, Adnan Gutic (St. Louis, Mo. / White Dragon Judo Club) moved down to 73kg where he pinned Mike Davis (Sacramento, Calif. / Team Sacramento) twice to win the U.S. Open gold medal and twice more to take the fight-off matches.

A 16-year-old wrestler who has placed in the able-bodied Junior Olympics for wrestling, Joshua Farra (Coatesville, Pa. / Liberty Bell Judo) qualified as the youngest member of the World Team when he defeated Craig Chavez (Temecula, Calif. / Southwest SD) twice to win the U.S. Open title and qualify for the Worlds. 

After competing as a heavyweight at the Nationals, Katie Davis (Sacramento, Calif. / Daiheigen / Team Sacramento) moved down to 78kg to win the U.S. Open and qualify for the Worlds.   

First-time competitor Erin Daley (Littleton, Colo. / Denver Judo) won the +78kg division and also qualified for her first World Team.  

Although she lost to two-time Paralympic medalist Ramona Brussig (GER), her second place finish in the 52kg division qualified Cindy Simon (Wayne, N.J. / Kokushi Kai) for her first World Team.  

Complete results are as follows with World Team members denoted with an asterisk:

Completed Draws

Men’s 60kg
1. Ron Hawthorne (Kansas City, Kans. /Cahill’s Judo Academy)*
2. Andriy Butenko (UKR)
3. Toshiro Yamamoto (San Francisco, Calif. / Cahill’s Judo Academy) 

Men’s 66kg
1. Joshua Farra (Coatesville, Pa. / Liberty Bell Judo)*
2. Craig Chavez (Temecula, Calif. / Southwest SD)

Men’s 73kg
1. Adnan Gutic (St. Louis, Mo. / White Dragon Judo Club)*
2. Michael Davis (Sacramento, Calif. / Team Sacramento)

Men’s 90kg
1. Sebastien Junk (GER)
2. Gregory Dewall (Chico, Calif. / Stanford)*
3. Chris Jones (Hawthorne, Calif. / Cahill’s Judo)

Men’s 100kg
1. Myles Porter (Colorado Springs, Colo. / NYAC / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center)*
2. Tim Rees (CAN)

Male +100kg
1. Ryan Jones (Denver, Colo. / Denver Judo)*
2. Kenneth Davis (Hillsboro, Ore. / Ojukan)

Women’s 48kg
1. Carmen Brussig (GER)
2. Christina Thomas (Los Angeles, Calif. / Mojica Judo)*

Women’s 52kg
1. Ramona Brussig (GER)
2. Cindy Simon (Wayne, N.J. / Kokushi Kai)*

Women’s 63kg
1. Jordan Mouton (Houston, Texas / Diamondback Judo)*
2. Christella Garcia (Sacramento, Calif. / Sacramento Judo)

Women’s 70kg
1. Lori Pierce (Austin, Texas / Cahill’s Judo Academy)*

Women’s 78kg
1. Katie Davis (Sacramento, Calif. / Daiheigen / Team Sacramento)*

Women’s +78kg
1. Erin Daley (Littleton, Colo. / Denver Judo)*

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