Menomonee Judo Club Turns up the Heat in Oak Lawn

For Immediate Release – Oak Lawn, IL. ( 6/4/11 ):

With the temperature outside rising, the Menomonee Judo Club finished the regional tournament season with a typically dominant performance. The club looks to be in great shape as they head towards the Junior National tour that takes place throughout July. Competing at the 16th Tohkon Classic in Oak Lawn, IL, Menomonee was represented by a team of eleven of of their top players. They ranged in age from 7 to 47 and shared a common goal of doing their absolute best. In what is becoming a fairly regular occurrence, all eleven players left with at least one medal. The final tally included:

3 – 1st place

6 – 2nd place

4 – 3rd place

Some of the highlights from the event included:

– Erich Sauer taking home gold by winning four matches, three by Ippon

( full point ). They included a gorgeous Ippon victory over the very tough and nationally ranked Anthony Rayzman from Cohen’s Judo.

– Max Antoniou earning his third straight gold medal in less than two months. He has now won an impressive seven matches in a row. Max is definitely a player to watch in the coming months.

– Howard Wilson, our 47 year old former marine, who happens to be visually impaired, making his tournament debut. He competed in two divisions, earning both gold and silver medals as well as the Fighting Spirit Award.

– Michael  ” Mikey ” Mutz scored three straight Ippons to earn the silver medal. Mikey now has 6 Ippons in the last two tournaments. It is the third straight tournament that he has brought home a medal. Mikey has been in Judo under a year, but has shown tremendous ability.

– Hiroto Bauer beating the nationally ranked Nico Takano for the third straight time. It only took Hiroto 20 seconds to score the decisive Ippon. Hiroto lost a very competitive match in the finals, but ended up taking home silver.

– Audrey Pettigrew continued her string of solid results by earning a silver medal. In spite of giving up considerable weight in each match, she competed very hard and stayed aggressive throughout.

– Bridget Gibbons showed great heart by coming back from an early loss and taking the silver medal. It was Bridget’s third tournament in less than two months and she has improved each time out.

– David Anderson scored a big victory by defeating the current national champion, Hunter Kollmann from Fond du lac, Wi. D.A also beat Hunter to take home the gold at the 2010 Tohkon Classic.

– Paul Coons going toe to toe with an experienced group of 13 and 14 year old players. His final match was a three minute back and forth struggle. He earned the bronze medal for his efforts.

– Yarina and Kyle Birnbaum both competed in the Ju no kata competition. Yarina earned the silver medal ( as the tori ) with her partner Angela Baluk. She then teamed up with her son Kyle to take home the bronze. Kyle acted as the tori, while Yarina performed as the uke.

The Tohkon Classic is one of the top Judo tournaments in the Midwest. It attracts more than 250 players from throughout the region. At the end of the tournament an award is given to the player that exhibits great skill and will. It’s called the Tohkon Classic Fighting Spirit Cup and is voted on by tournament officials, players and spectators. After his tremendous performance in having 7 matches in less than an hour and a half, Howard Wilson was the runaway winner. Howard fought all 7 of his matches against younger, more experienced, sighted opponents. He gave a herculean effort that is not soon to be forgotten. ” We are honored to have Howard as a member of our club. I think he inspires us all to work harder and get better. ” explained a proud Sensei Brett Wolf. ” Considering that all of our elite teens ( Max Schneider, Andrew Varga, Max Bermont and Ben Feiger ) missed the tournament, the results are that much more impressive. It shows the kind of depth that any club would be envious of. ” concluded Sensei Wolf.

Official Results:

16th Tohkon Classic

Oak Lawn, Il.

June 4, 2011

1. Erich Sauer –    1st place

2. Max Antoniou –   1st place

3. Howard Wilson –  1st place, 2nd place, Recipient of the Fighting Spirit Award

4. Michael Mutz –   2nd place

5. Hiroto Bauer –   2nd place

6. Audrey Pettigrew-2nd place

7. Bridget Gibbons- 2nd place

8. David Anderson – 3rd place

9. Paul Coons –     3rd place

10.Yarina Birnbaum -2nd place Ju no kata, 3rd place Ju no kata

11.Kyle Birnbaum –  3rd place Ju no kata



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