USA Judo News Team USA Wins 12 Med...

Team USA Wins 12 Medals at Cadet Pan Am and Oceania Championships

By Nicole Jomantas | April 11, 2022, 4:57 p.m. (ET)


(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – The USA Judo Cadet National Team posted its best results at a continental championship since 2010 on Saturday, winning 12 medals at the Cadet Pan American and Oceania Championships in Lima, Peru.

2022 Cadet Pan American Championships Results

Team USA finished second in the medal count at the U17 event, trailing only top-ranked Brazil who ended the tournament with 13 medals. Chile finished third with six medals, followed by Australia, competing in the joint continental event which debuted this year, which earned five podium finishes.

Four athletes from the Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center in Coconut Creek, Fla. led the way for Team USA with gold medal wins.

Sixteen-year-old Christopher Velazco (Coral Springs, Fla.) won his third straight Cadet Pan Am title, adding a gold in the 60kg event to his 55kg titles in 2020 and 2021. Velazco took his first round over Jules Aiberti (AUS) and defeated the 2021 50kg champion, Eduardo Sagastegui (MEX), in the semifinals. Fighting for gold, Velazco threw Calebe Santos (BRA) for a waza-ari (half-point) to win the match in Golden Score (sudden death overtime).

Although 17-year-old Nicole Cancela (Coral Springs, Fla.) won gold in the junior (U20) event in 2021, she had unfinished business after finishing with a bronze medal as a cadet last year. After a semifinal win over Romina Baltazar Minan (PER), Cancela threw Agatha Benedicto (BRA) for a waza-ari in Golden Score to win gold.

Team USA’s other two gold medals were won by first-time team members.

Competing in the 50kg division, 15-year-old David Leiva (Coral Springs, Fla. / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center) forced Guilherme Coronetti (BRA) into three penalties to take the Golden Score win.

Fifteen-year-old Emily Jaspe (Hialeah, Fla. / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center) won her second international medal of the year in the 63kg event, following her silver at the Fuengirola Cadet European Cup in February with gold in Lima. In the quarter-finals, Jaspe bested Ingrid Choco (COL), the 2021 Cadet Pan Am silver medalist at 70kg, by a waza-ari score and defeated Callie Render (CAN) by ippon in the semis. In the finals, Jaspe threw Marissa Finka (AUS) for ippon to shut down the match within the first minute.

Team USA also had four athletes advance to the finals and end the day with a silver medal.

Javier Delgado (Miami, Fla. / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center) returned to the Cadet Pan Am podium after winning silver in the 50kg event as a 15-year-old in 2020. This year, Delgado took wins in his first two matches, defeating Jean Carlos Madonado (COL) and Timeo Tournier (AUS) in the quarter and semifinals. Delgado was caught in the finals, however, where he was thrown for ippon by Jeronimo Pino Balbin (COL).

Aiden Cohen (Vernon Hills, Ill. / Cohen Brothers Judo) also won his second career Cadet Pan Am medal, upgrading his 2021 bronze in the 81kg event to a silver. The 17-year-old held on for a Golden Score win in the quarters over Francisco Galarza Hernandez (PUR), a silver medalist at 73kg in 2021. After a win by ippon over Jorge Suarez (PER) in the semis, Cohen was thrown in the for a waza-ari in the last minute of the finals by Matheus Abreu (BRA)

Although 15-year-old Harlee Hiller (Evanston, Ill. / Cohen Brothers Judo Club) competed at the 2021 Junior Pan Ams, this year marked her first opportunity to compete in the cadet event and she capitalized on the chance, advancing to the finals. Hiller won her quarter-final against Ammy Martinez (CHI) and qualified for the finals when she took a win by three penalties over Clarissa Vumbaca (AUS). Hiller’s quest for gold was stopped short, however, when she was penalized for hooking her opponent’s support leg from the back, giving Isabeli Barreto (BRA) the win.

In her international debut, 14-year-old Daniela Diaz-Negrete (Lehigh Acres, Fla. / Chief Pride Judo Club) split her matches in the +70kg event, defeating Martina Ibaceta (CHI) in the semis, but dropping her final match to Emilly Santos (BRA) who caught Diaz-Negrete with a throw for a waza-ari score and moved into a pin to close the match.

Shavon Gonzalez (West Palm Beach, Fla. / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center), Nikolas Vithoulkas (Whitestone, N.Y. / International Judo Center), Jacob Yang (Los Angeles, Calif. / LA Judo Club) and Joanne Dinh (Kansas City, Mo. / Welcome Mat Judo) each won bronze medals on Saturday.

The reigning Cadet Pan Am Champion in the 70kg event, 15-year-old Gonzalez lost her semifinal bout to Karen Agudelo (COL), but rebounded in the bronze medal final, throwing Zoyla Nevado (PER) for ippon in the first minute.

Sixteen-year-old Nikolas Vithoulkas (Whitestone, N.Y. / International Judo Center) won silver in the 90kg event in 2021 and appeared to be headed toward another final when he opened with a win over Sebastian Benites (PER), but dropped his next match to Alexandre Albano II (BRA). In the bronze medal final, Vithoulkas took Mak Vugdalic (AUS) to the mat in the final minute, first going for an arm bar before locking in a pin that was waved off after six seconds. As the clock hit zero seconds in regulation, Vithoulkas completed a throw for ippon to win bronze.

Fighting at his first Cadet Pan Ams, 17-year-old Jacob Yang (Los Angeles, Calif. / LA Judo Club) lost his opening bout to Antonio Rocha (BRA), but ended with three straight wins to claim the 66kg bronze. In the first round of the repechage, Yang held 2021 Cadet Pan Am Champion Keiner Sanchez Garnica (COL) to three penalties and took out Fabricio Meyer (CHI) by ippon in the next round. Yang needed just 20 seconds in the bronze medal final to throw Guillermo Perez (CHI) for ippon.

After a loss in the first round of her Cadet Pan Am debut to Manuela Crespo (COL), 14-year-old Johanna Dinh (Kansas City, Mo. / Welcome Mat Judo) advanced to the bronze medal final where she took a walkover win against Thayssa Assis (BRA).

Top eight and U.S. results are as follows:

Men’s 50kg
1. David Leiva (Coral Springs, Fla. / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center)

2. Guilherme Coronetti (BRA)

Men’s 55kg
1. Jeronimo Pino Balbin (COL)
2. Javier Delgado (Miami, Fla. / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center)
3. Calos Santos (BRA)
3. Galo Villavicencio (ARG)
5. Mateo Condor (PER)
5. Timeo Tournier (AUS)
7. Jean Carlos Maldonado (COL)
7. Victor Prado (PER)

Men’s 60kg
1. Christopher Velazco (Coral Springs, Fla. / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center)
2. Calebe Santos (BRA)
3. Jules Aiberti (AUS)
3. Eduardo Sagastegui (MEX)
5. William Zollinger (AUS)
5. Juan Pablo Ramirez (MEX)
7. Lucas Saldarriaga (PER)
7. Diego Faucheux (PER)

Men’s 66kg        
1. Kohsei Toyoshima (AUS)
2. Antonio Rocha (BRA)
3. Jacob Yang (Los Angeles, Calif. / LA Judo Club)
3. Kimi Jost (AUS)
5. Guillermo Perez (CHI)
5. Iker Celis (PER)
7. Fabricio Meyer (CHI)
7. Jhonatan Castillo Sepulveda (COL)

Men’s 73kg
1. Lasha Tsatsalashvili (CAN)
2. Antonio Medeiros Neto (BRA)
3. Agustin Moreno (CHI)
3. Tiago Parada (ARG)
5. Nicholas McClifty (AUS)
5. Tomas Hernandez (CHI)
7. Thomas Cramp (AUS)

Men’s 81kg
1. Matheus Abreu (BRA)
2. Aiden Cohen (Vernon Hills, Ill. / Cohen Brothers Judo)
3. Benjamin Galarreta (PER)
3. Francisco Galarza Hernandez (PUR)
5. Jorge Suarez (PER)
5. Luis Pariche (VEN)
7. Jose Valenzuela (CHI)
7. Lucas Guerrero Vargas (COL)

Men’s 90kg
1. Alexandre Albano II (BRA)
2. Carlos Quinchen (CHI)
3. Sebastian Benites (PER)
3. Nikolas Vithoulkas (Whitestone, N.Y. / International Judo Center)
5. Eduardo Franco (VEN)
5. Mak Vugdalic (AUS)
7. Linares Christian (MEX)
7. Derik Rodriguez (PUR)

Men’s +90kg
1. Vitor Fagundes (BRA)
2. John Messe A. Bessong Jr. (CAN)
3. Francisco Gonzalez (ARG)
3. Patricio Urra (CHI)
5. Valentino Valdivia (PER)

Also Competed: Anthony Shaw (Providence, Utah / Cache Valley Judo Club), 0-2

Women’s 40kg
1. Caroline Soares (BRA)

Women’s 44kg
1. Manuela Crespo (COL)
2. Natalia Odreman (VEN)
3. Joanne Dinh (Kansas City, Mo. / Welcome Mat Judo)

Women’s 48kg
1. Isabeli Barreto (BRA)
2. Harlee Hiller (Evanston, Ill. / Cohen Brothers Judo Club)
3. Adriana Echevarria (PUR)
3. Ekaterina Danilkov (CAN)
5. Ammy Martinez (CHI)
5. Clarissa Vumbaca (AUS)
7. Angie Paola Sanchez (COL)
7. Blanca Florimande (PER)

Women’s 52kg
1. Nicole Cancela (Coral Springs, Fla. / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center)
2. Agatha Benedicto (BRA)
3. Frida Maya (MEX)
3. Tatiana Galvez (CHI)
5. Leomaris Ruiz (VEN)
5. Romina Baltazar Minan (PER)
7. Wendy Golu (COL)

Women’s 57kg
1. Bianca Rosa (BRA)
2. Luciana Julca (PER)
3. Aliya Koliaska (CAN)
3. Marina Moreno (CHI)
5.  Ivona Ristevski (AUS)
5. Deana Finka (AUS)
7. Leticia Saavedra (PER)
7. Suneha Kumar (Lake Stevens, Wash. / Ippon Judo)

Women’s 63kg
1. Emily Daniela Jaspe (Hialeah, Fla. / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center)

2. Marissa Finka (AUS)
3. Constanza Perez (CHI)
3. Ingrid Choco (COL)
3. Callie Render (CAN)
5. Julia Mendonca (BRA)
7. Saray Noval Saldana (COL)
7. Ci A Tiffany Lee (AUS)

Women’s 70kg
1. Mary Silva (BRA)
2. Karen Agudelo (COL)
3. Shavon Gonzalez (West Palm Beach, Fla. / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center)
3. Avalon Anskey (AUS)
5. Zoyla Nevado (PER)
5. Samara Poblete (CHI)

Women’s +70kg
1. Emilly Santos (BRA)
2. Daniela Diaz-Negrete (Lehigh Acres, Fla. / Chief Pride Judo Club)
3. Barbara Padilla (MEX)