Senior Nationals Produce Champions From Huge Numbers

By Ernest Pund | April 27, 2012, 12:51 a.m. (ET)

April 21, 2012 – Irving, TX – Big numbers of black belts converged today to capture top spots on the podium in USA Judo’s Senior National Championships.

The total number for the weekend of elite competition, which includes the Senior Nationals today followed tomorrow by divisions for kata, paralympics and masters, is 537, far exceeding the draw last year, which was under 390.

Stepping on the mat at the Senior Nationals are some of the best in the business, almost entirely black belts, producing a picture on the podium that could include Olympians to come.

Taking gold in the men’s 73 kg division was Michael Eldred (Western Idaho Judo Institute, Fruitland, ID), who faces off against Nick Delpopolo, also 73 kg (NYAC/Jason Morris Judo, Scotia, NY), in the ‘Hour of Power’ next month at the back-to-back World Cup Miami and US Open to decide who gets a spot on the US Olympic Judo Team that will fight in London this summer – only one per weight division. Delpopolo did not compete today.

Jacob Larsen, 90 kg (Boulder Judo Training Center/U.S. Olympic Training Center, Colorado) nailed an ippon with less than 10 seconds on the clock to grab gold in the fina of his division.

Others taking the peak were:

Allison Clifford, 78 kg

Hana Carmichael, 57 kg.

Hannah Martin, 63 kg.

Jonathan Fernandez, 81 kg.

Samantha Bleier, 70kg.

Ajax Tadehara, 100 kg.

Bianca Lockette, +78 kg

Mark Fletcher, +100 kg

Go to complete RESULTS.