Though the field at the Sask Open Judo championships was deeper than usual, the local Koseikan Judo Club saw its competitors rise to the top.
The local club sent 18 competitors and brought home 14 medals despite facing a field of 195 competitors in Regina.
“It went very well,” said Koseikan instructor Jim Wiens. “I don’t think we had anyone place lower than fourth. And we had competitors in divisions with 11 or 12 people in them.
“It was probably the biggest in-province tournament we’ve had in at least five years.”
Samantha Trusty (cadet girls under-38 kilograms), Devin Kiryk (cadet boys under-31 kg) and Haley Walz (junior women under-57 kg) won gold.
Wiens (masters men over-90 kg), Taryn Montgomery (cadet girls under-31 kg), Eryn Langdon (cadet girls under-38 kg), Adam Langdon (juvenile men under-48 kg), Chad Griffin (junior men under-55 kg) and Garth Rivers (senior men under-73 kg) each took home silver medals.
Hayley Hendrickson (cadet girls under-31 kg), Brianna Walz (cadet girls under-38 kg), Connor Ryan (cadet boys under-48/over-48 kg combined) and Shaylea Locken (juvenile women under-48/52 kg combined) won bronze.
Bolstered by competitors from Edmonton and Winnipeg, the field was quite strong and offered some different competition than the norm.
“It’s great to have people to fight and to have people you don’t fight every day,” said Wiens. “There were lots of new faces and lots of new people to line yourself up against.
“The last few years the province and our club as a whole have been attending a lot of out-of-province tournaments,” added Wiens. That has encouraged those clubs to reciprocate knowing there would be strong competition waiting for them.
It also meant a lot more bouts over the span of a tournament than some are used to. Shane Kivol finished fourth, but had a strong showing over his six fights in a strong field.
“He had the biggest division in the tournament as well — he had 13 in his division,” said Wiens. “He was 4-2 and his two losses came to a guy who placed in the U.S. Open last year and to Ian MacDonald from Lloydminster whose been our representative at nationals for the last seven years — so very, very strong competition.
“Your strategy changes,” added Wiens regarding the bigger fields. “When you’re in the preliminary rounds you want to end those matches as quickly as you can.”
The strong performances in Regina could earn some of the young competitors a trip to junior/juvenile nationals in Mississauga, Ont. in July.
Moose Jaw’s Cliff Wiens chairs the coaching committee which will select the team for junior nationals at the end of the season. The performances at the Sask Open will weigh heavily in the selection process.
Appeared in the Moose Jaw Times-Herald Jan 22, 2008