The Junior US Open was held this past weekend, August 3rd and 4th in Boca Raton, Florida. Over 400 competitors from over 20 countries participated in this two-day event, making it the largest international tournament for juniors in the country. Representing the East Bay Judo Institute, located in El Cerrito, were Jessica Hsieh, Stephanie Hata, Marija Djokic, Marti Malloy and Molly O’Rourke. The delegation came away with two gold, one silver, and two bronze medals.
Sixteen-year-old Jessica Hsieh led the team by capturing the first gold medal on the first day of competition. Competing in the Under 17, 48 kilos (106lb) division, Hsieh’s first match was against Carly-Marie Goetsch from the Republic of South Africa. Hsieh threw Goetsch for a wazari (half point) and continued to pin her for ippon (full point-equivalent to a knockout in boxing). She then advanced to the next round where she faced Christina Pro of the United States. These two had competed previously at the Junior Olympics, where Hsieh had won. The 5-minute match ended with no score and went into “Golden Score”-where the competitors compete in sudden death overtime until one scores first. About a minute into Golden Score, Pro received a non-combativity penalty, giving Hsieh the win. Hsieh then faced Stephanie Wolfrom of Puerto Rico, where she used her matwork experience to pin her for full point, coming away with the gold medal.
UC Davis Freshman Stephanie Hata came away with another gold medal in the Under 20, 48 kilo (106lb) division. Hata’s first match was against Veronica Avalos Reyes of Mexico. Hata controlled the match until one exchange went into matwork and Hata applied an arm lock to submission for ippon (full point). In the next round, Hata faced Alexandra Causey from the United States. Hata has an 8-1 record against Causey this year. Hata controlled the match until she threw Causey for a yuko (partial point) and was able to hang on for the win, advancing to the next round. Here Hata faced Carly Marie Goetsch of the Republic of South Africa. Early in the match Hata fell behind by a shido (penalty) for non-combativity but was able to come back from behind throwing Goetsch with her favorite technique, seoinage (shoulder throw) for a wazari score. Goetsch proceeded to get up to a keikoku (half point) penalty for non-combativity giving Hata the title and a spot on the US Junior World Team, which will be competing in Korea this September.
Sixteen-year-old Jessica Hsieh represented East Bay Judo again on the second day of competition in the Under 20, 52 kilo (114 lb) division. Her first match was against Lotte Vanhetend from the Nederlands. Hsieh beat her handily, advancing to the next round where she faced Liz Burns of the United States. Burns recently placed second at the US Senior National Championships and is the current number one junior in the 52 kilo category. Hsieh entered the match confidently, but was outgripped and got thrown with ouchigari (inner thigh reap) for a yuko. Hsieh could not come back from behind which gave Burns the win. The match for third place was against Esperanza Ballenilla from Puerto Rico. Hsieh found herself overpowered and got thrown for ippon (full point) about a minute into the match.
Next to represent the East Bay Judo Institute was sixteen-year-old Marti Malloy. She first faced Margot Wetzer from the Nederlands in the Under 20, 57 kilo (125 lbs) division. Malloy got thrown for 3 kokas (minor points) and was not able to regain the losses, forcing her into the losers bracket. Here she faced Julie Duarte of the United States. Malloy threw Duarte with uchimata (inner thigh throw) for ippon (full point), advancing to the third place final. The match was against Julia Van Helder from the United States, whom Malloy has faced many times previously. Malloy managed to pin Van Helder into submission, giving her a bronze medal as well as a spot on the US Junior World Team with teammate Stephanie Hata.
Seventeen-year-old, San Francisco State Freshman, Marija Djokic came away with a Bronze medal in the Under 20, 63 kilo (139 lb) division. In her first match again Sarah Hogarth from the United States, Djokic lost the match by being choked into submission. She then faced Chandra Ishisaka from the United States where she threw with osotogari (major outside leg reap) for ippon. For the third place match, Djokic faced Jessica Sanfillipo from the United States. Djokic threw her with a beautiful uchimata for ippon and the bronze medal.
Eighteen-year-old Molly O’Rourke took a silver medal in the Under 20, 78+ kilo division. She first faced a very tough Carolina Siqueria from Brazil. O’Rourke threw her for a yuko and managed to hang on to the win to meet Abbie Haire of the United States in the next round. O’Rourke pinned Haire about a minute into the match, and advanced to the final where she met Nina Cutro-Kelly of the United States. About 2 minutes into the match with Cutro-Kelly, O’Rourke got countered and pinned for full point.
These 5 girls represent the East Bay Judo Institute located in El Cerrito. The head instructor of the EBJI is Dr. David Matsumoto, 6th degree black belt. For more information call (510) 237-0607 or visit their website at www.ebji.org.