As a new chapter of Scranton MMA’s Judo competition season began, the final chapter in a major part of East coast Judo history was written. The 45th and final East coast judo championships were held this past weekend in Newark, New Jersey. Always known for being a hard hitting, no nonsense tournament, The East coast championships have showcased not only the best talent from New York and New jersey, but from around the country as well.
The tough level of competition was best illustrated by Scranton MMA’s Lee Loewinger who, competing in a 12 man green belt division, went 3-2, had one of the fastest victories on the day, and yet finished in fourth place because of the large quantity of competitors in his division. Lack of medal aside, his coaches were very pleased with his performance ”This was Lee’s first major tournament outside of the dojo/academy setting and he proved himself more than capable of competing with the toughest up and coming competition out there “ Said Head judo Instructor Tom McGuire “This was a great beginning for him”
Writing a sort of new beginning for herself was Bev Koss who, competing with Scranton MMA for the first Time, displayed a new confidence and new set of techniques defeating two out of three of her opponents using new groundwork techniques she learned at the academy on her way to going 2-1 and earning a second place finish in the women’s Masters category.
Also finding success in the Masters category was head jiu-jitsu instructor Jeff Reese. After having a little difficulty in the senior division, Jeff, undaunted, jumped into the men’s masters category and battled his way to a third place finish executing well timed throws as well as powerful matwork. Proving the old adage to be true “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish”
Day two of the East Coast featured smaller competitors but just as big of fight as the kids took Center stage on Sunday. The day opened with three of Scranton MMA’s youngest members taking to the middle of the Mat as Nathan and Braden Reuther as well as Jake Leslie competed in the boys 4-6 year old division.
Despite their young age, each competitor demonstrated technical skill well beyond their years with Nathan finishing 2-1 and claiming a second place finish, Jake battling to a 1-2 record but by all accounts having one of the best matches of day and Nathan, despite going 0-2, fighting his heart out till the very end. Scranton MMA’s asst instructor Matt Marcinek was very impressed with his youngest students performances on the day
“How great were they?!” Marcinek asked with a smile I couldn’t ask for a better showing from my little guys, this was Jakey’s (Leslie’s) second ever tournament and he fought like he’s been doing this forever and the twins? (Braden and Nathan) for their first tournament? Just awesome”.
Part of the reason that the younger kids do so well is that they have the ability to practice with a host of very talented older students at Scranton MMA who also showcased their talents on Sunday.
Jake’s older brother Matt Leslie, a very season competitor, slammed his way to a gold medal in the 8 and 9 year old division while Gavin Williams aggressive, take charge style netted him a bronze in the same division.
Cole Wendolowski, competing in his first tournament ran into a very tough competitor and while he fought a very sound technical game, came up just short going 0-2 but regardless of medals one thing is very sure with such talented kids and adults Scranton MMA’s future is extremely bright.