Reno, NV – May 4th, 2014: Months of hard work and preparation came down to one day as seven members of the Menomonee Judo Club’s Paralympic Team competed at the 2014 USA Judo Senior ( Adult ) National Championships in Reno, NV. The players stepped up to the challenge and performed at a very high level. By the end of the day, all seven players reached the medal podium and took home national medals. With that medal count, Menomonee Judo took the overall team title in the divisions for people with visual impairment. The team left with a total of 12 points ( 3 points for a gold medal, 2 points for a silver medal and 1 point for a bronze medal ), finishing just ahead of the Olympic Training Center, who earned 11 points.
“This is a great day for Menomonee Judo on many different levels. It’s justification for all of the hard work and sacrifices that have been made by our athletes, staff and the people and organizations that have supported us over the years. We made a statement today as a club. Not only are we the largest Paralympic Judo program in the country, our players can play Judo at a high level. I couldn’t be more proud. “, explained Brett Wolf, head instructor of Menomonee Judo. Menomonee Judo Club was designated Paralympic Judo National Training Site by USA Judo in May, 2012.
Other highlights for Menomonee Judo included:
– Angela Geis taking the silver medal in the +70kg division and becoming the second Menomonee Judo player to qualify for the 2014 IBSA World Championship Team. Geis lost only to 2012 Paralympian and World Medalist, Katie Davis.
– Sara Luna earning the silver medal in the 63kg division, losing only to 2012 Paralympian ( at 70kg ), Christella Garcia. This performance comes on the heels of Sara’s silver medals at the 2013 World Youth and Student Championships, 2013 Para Pan American Championships and the 2013 U.S International Championships. Going forward, Luna has serious and legitimate Goals of making the Paralympic Team. ” My goal is to represent the United States at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio. After that, my focus will turn to the Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2020. How cool will that be, representing the U.S. at the Paralympics in the birthplace of Judo. I’m only 16. I will only get better with experience. “, proclaimed a confident Luna.
– Rob Anderson and Nik Crosby taking the +100kg division by storm with four combined victories. For players in only their second Judo tournaments, they both made a name for themselves and gave their opponents a precursor of things to come. Rob ended up taking home the silver medal, while Nik earned a bronze medal. Nik used his wrestling and powerlifting background to get some tremendous lifts on his opponents.
These feats of strength and athleticism brought the crowd to their feet. ” imagine Nik and I with just a few months more of experience. I don’t even turn 21 until late December. Most of my opponents are well into their 30’s. I will only get better technically and in better shape from a cardio perspective. It’s going to be a fun ride. “, exclaimed Anderson after the tournament.
– Bob Kim joining the medal bonanza by taking silver in the 66kg division. After losing competitive matches to much more experienced opponents, Bob is ready to get back to the dojo and make the necessary adjustments. ” I know I will be much more prepared to compete at the next tournament. I learned quite a few good lessons today. It’s just a matter of getting some more time on the mat and keep working. ” said Kim, a fifth degree Black Belt in Hapkido.
– Sarah Chung taking bronze in the +70kg division. Although Sarah came up just short of making the IBSA World Team for 2014, at 25 years old, time is on her side. She has shown a tremendous commitment to her Judo training. Often times, her round trip travel to Judo class
( via public transportation ) takes nearly five hours. ” I’m excited about the prospects for the future. We have a great group at Menomonee Judo right now. We are all pushing each other to improve and reach our individual and team goals. “, informed Chung.
Adding to Menomonee Judo’s big day was head instructor Brett Wolf being named 2013 USOC Paralympic Judo Coach of the Year. ” It’s a great honor for me, but the reality is that it’s a team award. I wouldn’t have even been considered for this honor without the fantastic work that our staff and players put in on a daily basis. It’s nice to be acknowledged, but we will get right back to work on Monday. No time to rest of our laurels. “, said a proud Wolf.
The Menomonee Judo Paralympic Team will next compete as a group at the USA Judo National President’s Cup in Irving, TX November 21st and 22nd.
Complete Menomonee Judo Results:
100kg Male –
Robert Anderson – Silver Medal
Nik Kheal Crosby – Bronze Medal
90kg Male –
Howard Wilson – Silver Medal
66kg Male –
Robert Kim – Silver Medal
+70kg Female –
Angela Geis – Silver Medal
Sarah Chung – Bronze Medal
63kg Female –
Sara Luna – Silver Medal
Total Medal Count –
Silver Medals – 5
Bronze Medals – 2