Over the weekend of April 28ththrough the 30th, Blaine Duhs, Joe Taylor (pictured above with Olympian Kayla Harrison), Grace Talusan and Coach Weers traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah for the 2017 National Judo Championships. Salt Lake City is surrounded by mountains, which provides a picturesque setting for a well-kept city. Of course, the mountains also provide conditions conducive to snow, sleet and rain, which entertained us on our first day.
This was Joe’s first Nationals. Your job at your first Nationals is to experience the event, have fun and meet new people. Your first Nationals are not about to bringing home medals. Your first Nationals are not about determining your place in the pecking order of elite competitors. Your first Nationals are more about seeing how you deal with the fact that you’re on the bottom of the pecking order. Joe Taylor handled that reality brilliantly! After going being eliminated in his second round, Joe, all smiles and exuberance, stated simply, ‘I’m coming back!’.
Uncontested at her ‘official’ weight, Grace entered an ‘Open’ division of the top middle and light heavy weight females in the country. In spite of a weight deficit in favor of her opponent’s, Grace finished 3rd in the division.
As usual, Blaine competed in the +100kg and the Open weight division. Unfortunately, early in a 100kg match Blaine ‘tweaked’ his back again. In spite of the constraints presented by the back injury, Blaine won one and lost two at 100+ kg and fought for the bronze in the Open division, where he went two and two. Although Blaine did not bring home the Bronze it was an outstanding performance. After the festivities Blaine decide that moving down to the -100kg division is the best plan for future events.
Upcoming events include the North/South Tournament on May 6th, the International Training Camp June 2nd – 4th, and the Tohkon Classic on June 10th. I need to know who plans to attend which events.
Congratulations to all our team members! Our national players can’t prepare for the big events without your help.