USA Judo Junior Olympic Champs Concludes With International Divisions

By Ernest Pund | June 30, 2013, 7:59 p.m. (ET)

With a record-breaking number of entries for competition, USA Judo’s Junior Olympic Championships concluded today with brackets full of international matches, again sending talented young athletes to the podium for medals.

“This is a great opportunity for young athletes to get a hint of what it is like to compete internationally. Different countries bring different judo techniques and styles to the mats,” said Corinne Shigemoto, USA Judo’s Chief Operating Officer and the tournament director. “A lot of these kids came for the national competition and then entered the international brackets to get even more matches.”

Typically topping the brackets today for gold were U.S. athletes among competition coming from Iceland, Peru, Mexico and Costa Rica. To see complete results, go to DAY 3 BRACKETS.

With the international competition, USA Judo ended perhaps it’s most successful Junior Olympic Championships ever with more than 1,000 entries for competition among kids as young as 5-years-old and teens up to 17-years-old (up to 20-years-old in the international divisions today).

Shigemoto said the numbers pointed to a very positive future for judo in the United States: “To see this many young people from big and small community clubs all over the country coming here to join the action is so exctiting! The enthusiasm is taking hold and growing. We are on our way!”

Kids arrived with their families at the Irving Convention Center in the Dallas-Fort Worth corridor from as far as Hawaii and New York to battle through brackets heavy with young ambition and talent. The weekend closed with seveal new players winning wildcard slots on USA Judo’s Junior World Team and Cadet World Team.

Making the U.S. Junior World Team Saturday were Jack Hatton, 81 kg. (Jason Morris Judo Center in Glenville, NY), Willie Inserra, 66 kg. (Sport Judo, Stafford, VA), Ashlyn White, 48 kg. (Somerset Academy-Panther Judo Club, Pembroke Pines, FL)  and Lauren Baez, 63 kg. (USA Judo Training Site, Coconut Creek, FL). The World Team fights in Slovenia in late October.

Added to the team representing the United States at the Cadet World Championships in Miami in August were Brandon Worthen (Tech Judo, North Bergen, NJ), Devin Sobay, 100 kg. (Texoma Judo, Wichita Falls, TX), Mackenzie Williams, 70 kg. (Becerra Judo & Jujitsu, Garland, TX) and Ashlyn White, 48 kg. (Somerset Academy-Panther Judo Club), who made both teams.

The Junior Olympic Championships has many divisions so there were lots of opportunities for kids and clubs to shine. Numerous clubs are returning home with several medals to hang on the wall.

USA Judo Training Site, Ki-Itsu-Sai, Coconut Creek, FL, was one of the top winners. South Florida is a hotbed of judo in the nation and arrived in force to collect the bounty with other clubs, like Florida School of Judo, Kodokan Judo in Cape Coral, Budokan Dojo in Miami and Somerset Academy-Panther Judo Club in Pembroke Pines.

Texas, too, is a judo stronghold and the Junior Olympics couldn’t have been closer. Clubs from the home state taking multipe medals included Becerra Judo & Jujitsu of Garland, Universal Judo of San Antonio and Texoma Judo of Wichita Falls, Ruben Martin Judo Training Center of Burleson.

From the San Francisco Bay Area came Cahill’s Judo in the San Francisco Bay Area to take gold and Tri-Valley Judo of Pleasanton is returning home with medals, too – three players from the club took seven medals, including three gold won by Rachael Butler, 63 kg., Jackson Buttler, 47 kg., and Devon Shah, 40 kg.

Among the clubs from the Northeast taking medals  were Mayo Quanchi Judo of West Warwick, Rhode Island, USA Judo Training Site at Pedro’s Judo Center in Wakefield, Mass., home of U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison, and Jason Morris Judo Center, Glenville, NY.

From the Chicago area came Menomonee Judo and Cohen Brothers Training Center to take medals. And from as far away as Hawaii came Hawaii Judo Academy to claim gold medals.

To see all the many medal takers, go to ALL RESULTS.