Summerlin Judo, located at Summerlin Academy in Bartow, had 11 athletes competing at the Sunshine State Games Saturday, June 21, at the Lakeland Center. The team came away with 10 medals.
“All our kids showed some significant improvement,” stated a proud Brian Germain, Summerlin Judo’s head coach. “We were running stadium steps, doing a lot of fundamental drills, and fighting practice in preparation for this tournament. It’s good to see the effort paying off with medals around the kids’ necks and smiles on their faces.”
Summerlin’s gold medalists were Mathew Crowley, Harley MacDonald, Devon Dinsdale, Ray Thomas, and Madison Grode. “All my gold medalists really amped their game up. I was especially impressed with Harley. He went 3–0, winning all his matches by full point including a thrilling come- from-behind win in his first round which set the tone for the rest of the team. Crowley, Dinsdale, and Thomas followed suit and had some big throws too. Grode was especially tough on the mat with her pins. All these kids were fun to watch. They focused well and displayed grace under pressure.”
Silver medals were captured by Ethan Bresinger, Colton Marple, and Justin Seay. The bronze medalists were Britney Thigpen, and Joe Zacarro.
“All a coach can ever ask for in a developmental event like this is for his athletes to try their best and not hold anything back. Even if a kid loses a match or two, but are showing improvement, then I’m happy. It’s not always easy earning your experience in a grappling sport like judo. However with experience comes improvement and ultimately more wins. It’s just a process all athletes have to go through in order to get better.”