For Immediate Release:
Irving, TX- June 30, 2012:
The Menomonee Judo Club – Paralympic National Training Center was represented by a small, but accomplished group this past weekend at the USA Judo Junior Olympic Judo Championships. The tournament, which was held in Irving, TX, brings together most of the top junior Judo talent in the United States. Over the last couple of years, USA Judo has opened the tournament up to international competition. More than a dozen countries were represented at this year’s event.
Three Menomonee players competed at the tournament. One of the reasons for the small group was the late end to the school year for Chicago Public Schools. School didn’t get out until two days before the tournament began. This didn’t leave much, if any time for the Menomonee players to train for the tournament at the Wolf Judo Camp. ” we probably would have sent an additional 3 – 5 players had it not been for the late end to the school year. Participation at Judo camp has proved absolutely vital to success at any of the Junior National Judo tournaments held during the summer. We want to always put our players in a position to succeed. “, explained Brett Wolf, head instructor of Menomonee Judo. What the group lacked in size, it made up for with effort and skill.
On Day one of the competition, Mikey Mutz and Max Antoniou participated at their first Junior National tournament. both of these players have had dominate years competing extensively on the tough Midwest circuit. Mikey got Menomonee off to a great start by taking a Silver medal in the Intermediate 2 +52kg division. Mikey finished the day with 4 Ippon victories. The only thing that kept him off the top spot of the podium were two extremely competitive losses to Joshua Veller, the number one ranked Intermediate 2 +52kg player in the country. Mikey showed great poise and variety of technique in his matches. He proved that he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. ” I didn’t reach my ultimate goal of taking home the gold medal, but I’m happy with how I fought. I know that I’ll be even more prepared for the Jr US Open next month. “, said a confident Mutz.
At tournaments of this magnitude, the draw becomes a vital factor to being successful. Max Antoniou found that out first hand. His first opponent was multiple time Jr National Champion, Alex Knauf. Knauf, also from Illinois, is an experienced and talented player. Max scored a Yuko to take the early lead, but he was eventually caught for Ippon by Knauf. In his next match, Max fought a very close match that lasted the full three minutes. Neither player was able to score a point, but Max lost after he was awarded a penalty. Although he didn’t have the success that he’s used to as far as wins and losses, Max gave a great effort. ” I know that I could’ve done better. I tried my hardest, but it just wasn’t enough today. I’m not at all discouraged. I’ll be back stronger than ever. “, said a philosophical Antoniou.
The hardened veteran of the group, Max Bermont, competed in the IJF -100kg division on Day two. Just as he did at the Scholastic National Championships / Junior World Team Trials in Miami back in March, Max drew reigning Senior National Champion, LA Smith in the first round. Max stayed level for a few exchanges before eventually being caught by the very talented Smith. In Miami, Bermont scored 4 successive ippons after losing to LA. It wasn’t much different in Texas. Max won three consecutive matches, including wins over opponents from Iceland and Venezuela. With these victories, Max earned the Silver medal. ” I felt good today. I went into the match with LA expecting to win. I feel like I’m getting closer, but he’s a heck of a player. At least I beat everyone else in the division. I have no doubt that I’ll see LA in a competitive setting again in the near future. “, exclaimed a determined Bermont.
On the third day of the tournament, the International divisions were contested. Max Bermont was the lone Menomonee Judo representative. He repeated his victories from the previous day over the opponents from Iceland and Venezuela to take home the Gold medal in the IJF 100kg International division.
“As is always the case at Menomonee Judo, we’re proud of what we were able to accomplish this weekend, but we won’t rest on our laurels. In fact, it’s right back to work tomorrow. We have just started 7 straight weeks of Judo camp. Our players are doing five hours a day, five days a week. We plan on playing much better at the Jr US Open next month in Ft Lauderdale. “, said a proud coach Wolf.
Menomonee Judo returns to action in late July in Florida at the Jr US Open Judo Championships.
Menomonee Judo Club – Paralympic National Training Center Results:
USA Judo Junior Olympic Judo Championships
Irving, TX – June 27 – 30, 2013
1. Max Bermont – Gold Medal, International IJF 100kg division
– Silver Medal, IJF 100kg division
2. Mikey Mutz – Silver Medal, Intermediate 2 +52kg division
3. Max Antoniou – 2 tough matches, Intermediate 2 42kg division