Four athletes from Summerlin Judo in Bartow reached the podium at the Florida Open Judo Championships Saturday, Feb. 2 in Coral Springs.
“I like coming to south Florida to compete,” said Summerlin Judo’s head coach Brian Germain. “South Florida was always a hotbed of judo activity when I was growing up and that is still the case today. Some of the better players in the state, and a few of the best in the country come out of south Florida. It is a good place for developing judokas to test themselves at.”
The Summerlin team was led by Nick Plante. Nick captured an easy gold in the 15-16 year old, 60 kg novice division. He then bumped up to the advanced division and earned another gold. In the finals, with time running out and behind in the match, Nick scored a full point throw with no time left to take his second gold.
“Nick never stopped fighting,” exclaimed an excited Germain. “What a thrilling come from behind victory to complete a double gold day!”
Jonathon Taylor also earned an easy gold in the 15-16 year-old, 66 kg novice division.
“Both Nick and Jonathon have shown some rapid improvement since starting judo this school year. They both easily handled their novice divisions,” stated Germain. “They definitely need to just focus on more experienced divisions going forward.”
Jonathon also bumped up to his advanced division and made the finals. However with the match tied Jonathon was thrown hard on his shoulder and was unable to finish.
“He got his shoulder checked out and it was only bruised. Jonathon is a tough kid and I know he will be back training in a couple of weeks. Finishing with a gold and silver is still not a bad day’s work.”
The Summerlin team also captured another pair of medals. Austin Fackender took silver in the 17-19 year-old, 81 kg. advanced, and Madison Grode earned a bronze in the 15-16 year-old, 63 kg advanced.
“I know both Madison and Austin would have wanted to finish on top of the podium. However they both showed a great deal of fighting spirit and technical improvement. I was pleased with the way they fought,” Germain said.
“I like to use these events to gauge progress and to see if any of my athletes would be legitimately ready for the upcoming National Scholastic Judo Championships in Miami during spring break,” remarked Germain. “I’ll just keep turning up the heat on them and see how they respond and develop.”