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The US high school and collegiate national championships were held in Spokane, WA, on Saturday 22 March 2003. Over 265 contestants from high schools and colleges/universities from around the country competed in this prestigious championships.
East Bay Judo Institute (EBJI) was represented by Veronica Castillo and Marti Malloy in the high school divisions, and Marija Djokic and Molly O’Rourke in the collegiate divisions. Together they turned in the best performance of any dojo in the country.
Veronica Castillo, 14 and a freshman at El Cerrito High School in El Cerrito, CA, started off the day in the female under 63kg division with a win when she beat Jessica Wooldridge by ippon through penalties. In judo an ippon is the equivalent of a knockout in boxing. She then won her second match with a reverse triangle hold for ippon. In the semi-finals she threw her opponent for ippon with uchimata, inner thigh reap. In the finals she pinned Janine Nakao of Monterey, California reverse triangle hold once more to secure her first gold medal, which was quite an accomplishment for this freshman. In addition, Veronica received the Best Technique Award for the high school division.
Sixteen-year-old Marti Malloy of Oak Harbor High School in Oak Harbor, WA, competed in the female under 57kg division. She won her first match by a triangle hold for ippon. She won her second match against former 52kg elite player Katherine Ensler of Oklahoma by throwing her with osoto-gari (major outer reap) for ippon. In the finals she faced Tawny Uemura of Los Angeles, California, whom she also threw for ippon with osoto-gari. Marti also received the award for Fighting Spirit.
Molly O’Rourke, 19 and a freshman at Contra Costa Community College, won her first match in the female under 78kg category by throwing her opponent for ippon with osoto-gari, bringing her to the finals. There she faced Lisa Uemura of Salinas, California, who thwarted Molly’s counter attempt for ippon, giving Molly the silver medal.
Eighteen-year-old Marija Djokic, a freshman at San Francisco State University, won her first match in the female under 63kg division she threw her opponent for ippon with osoto-gari in the first 10 seconds. She then threw her next opponent for ippon with uchimata, bringing her to the finals. There she faced Heidi Bartkowski of San Jose State University, whom she also threw for ippon with uchimata in the first gripping exchange, securing the gold medal.
Overall the EBJI team had a record of 11 wins and 1 loss, and all wins were decided by ippon. The three gold and one silver medal was the best performance of any single dojo in the country at the championships.
The East Bay Judo Institute is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the teaching of Kodokan Judo. It’s head instructor is Dr. David Matsumoto, 6th degree black belt. For information about classes, schedules, location, and contact information, see www.ebji.org or call 510-237-0607.