European Junior Cup 2013: Experience Gained, Lessons Learned

For immediate release: Leibnitz, Austria – June 2, 2013:

Sometimes success can’t be judged solely by wins and losses. We live in a very result oriented society. It’s tough to look at the big picture and see what has been gained when we fall short of our ultimate goals. Over the last two days, a team of decorated Jr Judo players from the United States has taken on world class competition at the European Junior Cup in Leibnitz, Austria. If you look strictly at wins and medals, you’d think that the tournament was a failure for Team USA. Head coach Brett Wolf says nothing could be further from the truth. ” Although we didn’t win as many matches as I would have liked, I couldn’t be more proud of our team. We traveled from by far the longest distance to compete. All of our players had extremely difficult first round assignments, but we were in every match. We will certainly be better off because of the experience. “, explained Wolf ( Menomonee Judo Club – Paralympic National Training Site Chicago, IL ).

Wolf hopes that the team members will use the experience gained in Austria to make some waves at the upcoming Cadet World Championships and Junior World Championships. ” I honestly feel like at least one of these players will be in the mix for a medal at either the Cadets or Junior Worlds later this year. We are very close to breaking through at the Junior level. We just need to learn how to close out tough matches on a more regular basis.” said a confident coach Wolf.

Below are the results for Team USA:

Saturday, June 1st –

Morning session:

George Truong ( 60kg ) won his first round match against Iman Sultanov ( Russia ). It was a tough match, with George controlling the pace throughout the four minutes. He was able to win most of the gripping exchanges. The Russian was given a shido for stalling, which proved the difference in the match.

In his second match, George ended up losing to Lukas Reiter of Austria ( ranked #45 in the EJU Jr rankings ). The match was even through two and a half minutes with each athlete being given one shido. Reiter was able to win the match after securing a choke during an exchange on the mat. When Reiter lost his next match, George was eliminated from the tournament.

Afternoon session:

Mackenzie Williams ( +78kg ) lost her first match to Jamie Myers of Great Britain ( ranked #8 in the EJU Jr rankings ). She was behind by only a shido in a back and forth match before getting thrown for Ippon with one minute and ten seconds left. Mackenzie tried to be the aggressor, but she had trouble getting in on her attacks.

In her second match, Mackenzie was ahead of Ekaterina Kosheleva of Russia ( ranked #22 in the EJU Jr rankings ) by two shidos and in complete control before being countered for Ippon after two and a half minutes. She had much more success this match getting a strong grip and taking the lead. This loss eliminated Mackenzie from the competition.

Sunday, June 2nd –

Morning session:

Summer Truong ( 48kg ) faced Hayley Willis ( Great Britain ) the #1 seed in first round. Willis is currently ranked #10 in the European junior rankings and won a bronze medal at the 2011 Junior World Championships. It was a back and forth match from the beginning. Willis was able to force a couple of early shidos with her aggressiveness. Summer came back to take solid control over the last two minutes of the match and nearly scored with two quality attacks. The referee gave Willis one shido, but refused to award the equalizing shido before time ran out. The loss eliminated Summer from the competition. All in all it was a solid performance for her, as she went head to head with one of the top -48kg juniors in the world.

Afternoon session:

Amelia Fulgentes competed in the 57kg division. It was by far the largest female division with 48 competitors. She was matched with the #3 seed, Maria Centracchio ( Italy ) in the first round. Centracchio is ranked #6 in the most current European junior rankings. Amelia was troubled by the Italian’s lefty stance. She was aggressive and tried to take the lead, but was given three penalties during the first two and a half minutes. Despite the uphill struggle, Amelia pushed forward and got one of the penalties back. The Italian spent the last minute of the match on the move sealing the distance victory. The loss eliminated Amelia from the competition.



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