Team USA to Compete This Weekend at the Pan American Junior and Juvenile Championships in Santiago, Chile:
This is one of the more prestigious and competitive tournaments in North, Central and South America. Competition will include Juvenile divisions ( 15 – 16 year olds ) on Friday and Junior divisions ( 17 – 19 year olds ) on Saturday. Many of the athletes will also compete at the South American Championships on Sunday ( September 12 ).
The top juniors from more that 20 countries are expected to participate. This includes delegations from traditional power Brazil, along with Argentina, Peru, Costa Rica, Colombia and Peru amongst others.
The US team which includes 11 male players and 5 female players has nice mix of youth and experience.
The team is being lead by Head Coach Brett Wolf ( Menomonee Judo Club, Chicago, IL ). Menomonee Judo is well represented with two players ( Andrew Varga IJF 73kg and Max Bermont IJF 100kg ) on the team. Wolf will be assisted by Henry Okamura
( Chicago, IL ).
A veteran of numerous Jr Pan Am Teams, Kyle Taketa ( Taishi Judo Club, Torrance, CA ) is the most experienced and decorated member of the team. Last year at this event, Kyle took home the gold medal in the IJF 66kg division.
Five members of the team will also compete this November at the Junior World Championships being held in Cape Town, South Africa. They are Lauren Baez (Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center, Coral Gables, FL ), Nathan Kearney (Okuri Judo, Keller, TX ), Kyle Taketa ( Taishi Judo Club, Torrance, CA ), Andrew Varga ( Menomonee Judo Club, Chicago, IL ) and Derek Wojcik ( Ippon Judo, Tyrone, GA )
Another five members of the team recently returned from Kiev, Ukraine where they competed in the Cadet World Championships ( 15 – 16 year olds ). These players include, Adonis Diaz, William Inserra, Michael Assels, Lauren Baez and Alisha Galles.
A complete roster of athletes competing this weekend is as follows:
Junior Team ( 17 -19 year olds )
1. Mary Decker ( Colorado )
2. Carla Genao-Butler ( Colorado )
3. Nathan Kearney ( Texas )
4. Kyle Taketa ( California )
5. Andrew Varga ( Illinois )
6. Austin Cavanaugh ( Illinois )
7. Derek Wojcik ( Georgia )
8. Max Bermont ( Illinois )
9. Jimmy Barnes ( Oklahoma )
Juvenile Team ( 15 – 16 year olds )
10. Lauren Baez ( Florida )
11. Alisha Galles ( New Mexico )
12. Seraiah Martin ( Texas )
13. Matthew Kearney ( Texas )
14. Adonis Diaz ( Florida )
15. William Inserra ( Virginia )
16. Michael Assels ( Texas )
Head Coach • Brett Wolf ( Illinois )
Assistant Coach • Henry Okamura ( Illinois )