U.S. Team Takes Gold, Silver At Junior Pan Ams in Cali, Colombia
September 8, 2012 - A USA Judo team of young stars put three on the podium for a gold and two silver medals at a super competitive Pan American Junior Championships in Cali, Columbia yesterday.
Mackenzie Williams, 70+ kg, (Becerra Judo) scaled the brackets for gold, her third consecutive Pan Am gold, now spanning two age divisions. Competition yesterday was for judoka under 17. Taking silver medals were Ashlyn White, 48 kg (Somerset Academy-Panther Judo), and Devin Sobay, 90+ kg (Texoma Judo & Jujitsu).
Placing 5th were Frankie Hyatt, 40 kg (Cahill's Judo Academy), and Jonathan Brook, 90 kg (Brighton Judo). Placing 7th were Isabeau Ross, 57 kg (Southwest Judo Academy), Robert Pair, 50 kg (McCall Judo Club), and Caleb Wesley, 66 kg (Okuri Judo).
Competition continues today with under 20-year-olds taking to the mats. Nearly 300 competitors from 23 countries converged on Cali for this tournament.
This is just the sort of experience that paves the way for future U.S. Olympians and it is a strategy of USA Judo to foster participation among our youth judo fighters in these international events to prepare them for the brightest lights on the planet.
These stellar victories come close on the heels of history making medals in London at the 2102 Olympic Games. Kayla Harrison, 78 kg (Team FORCE, Wakefield, Mass.), took the nation’s first Olympic gold medal, and Marti Malloy, 57 kg (National Training Center at San Jose State University, CA), took bronze, making it the first time in decades that the U.S. Judo Team has taken multiple medals at the Olympics. The roots of their success are in junior tournaments like this one in Colombia where they gathered important experience and confidence. A key strategy of USA Judo is to foster the next generation of judo stars by supporting and organizing team travel to these and other international tournaments.
The delegation to Colombia is led by Coach Jhonny Prado of Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center in Coral Springs, FL. Also attending are referees Edson Mallo, Scott Galles and Robert Donaldson, Team Manager Rich Moss (Southwest Judo Academy) and USA Judo CEO Jose H. Rodriguez.