Summerlin Judo in Bartow displayed a strong showing at the Sunshine State Games Saturday, June 22, at the Lakeland Center placing 11 of 13 athletes, taking a total of three golds and nine slivers.
“I was very pleased with how everyone fought,” said head coach Brian Germain. “We’ve been doing some extra practices, a mini-camp, and running stadium steps to get ready for this competition. It’s good to see that the extra effort paid off.”
Gold medals were won by Bryson Owens, Jonathon Taylor, and Jesus Martinez.
“These three guys were dominant in their respective divisions,” said Germain. “Bryson is so strong it is hard to stop his attacks. He really showed some technical improvement too. Jonathon has made great strides this year. He has become a very technical fighter as well. Jesus was very explosive in his three wins. He was runner-up for the most outstanding senior male award too,” Germain remarked.
“All three of these guys are a pleasure to coach. That is unless I have to fight them in practice,” Germain said smiling.
Silver medals were won by Jacob Craddock, Ray Thomas, Tyrelle Freeman, Miranda Schwabe, Brooke Smith, Madison Grode, Brett Warnick and Noah Schwabe.
Garrett Clarke and Tommy Neeson also participated and just missed the podium in fourth.
“Each one of these kids stepped up in their own way. Most of them didn’t know what judo was until this past school year when they started taking my class as part of Summerlin Academy’s physical education program. Madison, Miranda and Noah have trained with me for a while but everyone else has not much more than one year of judo experience. It’s good to see when your athletes can make some significant progress and start reaching podiums at tournaments,” Germain said.
The next tournament Summerlin Judo is training for is the Junior U.S. Open Judo Championships in Fort Lauderdale next month.
“This event is the pinnacle of junior judo in the U.S.,” states Germain. “I’ve got a couple of athletes that really want to try and step up to this level. It is a very challenging international event though with athletes coming from Canada and South America. We’ll just have to see how well they can handle this kind of pressure while getting their experience.”