Five Kenai Peninsula athletes representing the Sterling Judo Club load up on the medal at the prestigious U. S. Judo Junior Olympics competition. The competition took place June 22nd through the 24th at the Spokane Convention Center in Spokane, Washington.
The five fighters and their medals are: Liam Way two gold medals; MacKenzie White double silver medals and Elijah Lee bronze medal. The Fairbanks boys, Charles and River also finished close to the winners’ podium after several hard fought matches. A large group of family and friends accompanied the judo fighters to Spokane in this first ever national competition for the group.
The five Sterling Judo Club representatives, all 2018 State Judo Champions, trained nearly 50 additional hours on the mat following the mid-May conclusion of their regular 2017-2018 Alaska judo competition season while family and friends worked diligently in a successful fund-raising effort intended to cover the athletes’ travel costs.
The local group also hosted a three day judo camp in Sterling. Several other Alaskans from the Anchorage area participated in the camp in addition to sharing a fun weekend and cookout at Sensei Brink’s cabin on the Kenai River.
The Alaskan group had to fight a total of 33 contests in order to bring home their two gold medals, two silver medals and one bronze medal. The hard training and Jr. Olympics experience for this Alaska group will long be remembered along with the Club’s performance back in April where it won the Alaska State Judo Championships Team Trophy, Outstanding Senior Male Athlete Award (Clay Holland), recognition of three Sterling Judo Athlete-Scholars (Caitlin Babcock and her two brothers) and the major competition upset of Ketchikan’s several time state champion Justin Breese by Holland winning two out of three matches and earning Holland his black belt.
The local group of athletes and students of judo of all ages looks forward to the resumption of classes and training in September. Further information is available on the Sterling Judo Club Facebook page.