The 2023 U.S. Open Judo Championships in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Eight American Judo athletes from Team FORCE out of Pedro’s Judo Center in Wakefield, Massachusetts competed at the 2023 U.S. Open Judo Championships from July 28th through July 31st in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The biggest event of the year draws around 2,000 competitors domestically and internationally for an event packed with amazing judo on display.
Cadet Domenico Ternullo -66kg competed in two divisions during the weekend. First he competed at his natural age group of Cadet Males. Drawing a bye in the first round, Domenico advanced following a win by Ippon in the second round for his first match of the day. Unfortunately, in the following round Domenico would fall victim to a questionable hansoku-make call by the referees.
Domenico would battle back extremely well the following day moving up an age division to the IJF Junior Males. He would avenge his hansoku-make in the first round scoring a waza-ari. In the second round he made quick work with an Ippon just over 30 seconds into the match. He would drop his next match and head into the repechage but once again made quick work of his opponent throwing for Ippon in just under a minute's time bringing home a bronze medal!
Next up for Cadet athletes would be Octavio DeOliveira -81kg. Seeded as the #1 seed Octavio received a bye in the first round but would fall in the second round during his match of the day. His day was not over. Octavio would be dominant in the repechage rounds. Of his three matches he won them all by Ippon with two throws coming in under 30 seconds time. Octavio would bring home the bronze medal as well.
First up for the Junior athletes would be Liana Morello -57kg who would also be seeded as number 1 in her Junior Females bracket. Liana battled hard as she faced tough competition in all her matches. Her first match of the day would go the distance as she would win by waza-ari. The following round would go into golden score for a total match time of 12 minutes and 25 seconds. Liana would move on to the finals following a hansoku-make by her opponent. She would lose the finals match but still brings home a well earned silver medal. Liana would also move up to the Senior Female division on the next day of competition. Once again, she faced tough competition throughout the day. She would drop her first match and then go one to win in one match in repechage.
Lenny Sheynfeld -66kg would dominate his Junior bracket winning all his matches by Ippon after receiving a first round bye. He secured the gold medal for the juniors at -66kg. Moving up to the senior bracket, Lenny would drop his first match and then battle all the way back to the bronze medal match in the repechage rounds. He took home the bronze medal for the senior bracket.
The next Junior athlete to step up would be Johan Silot -81kg. In his junior bracket, Johan would win all of his matches by way of Ippon! Two of his matches took some time to feel out while in the other two he made quick work of his opponents in less than a minute, bringing home the gold medal. However, he was not yet done! Moving up to the senior division, Johan would win by way of Ippon in a little more than 30 seconds of his first match. The following match he would advance by hansoku-make. His next two matches would be difficult but he would go on to bring another gold medal home, making it two for the weekend!
The first true senior to compete would be Nathan Belfar -66kg. Nathan started the day off strong with two Ippons during his first two matches of the day. Heading into the semifinals he would not advance. He would unfortunately drop his match in the repechage for the bronze medal.
Next up was Isaac Carmichael and Tony Alvarado in the -73kg Senior Division. The two faced tough competition throughout the day. Tony’s first match would go on to take home the gold medal. He would then win two matches in the repechage rounds. Isaac would win his first match and drop his second, also to the eventual silver medalist.
Last to compete would be Maksim Somau +100kg. Max won his first two matches of the day but unfortunately dropped his third. In the repechage, Max battled back to the bronze medal match but unfortunately would not be taking home the medal this time around.
Congratulations to all those who won medals. For those who did not, remember to stay focused and keep up the hard work. The future is bright!