By Maj. Michael Shattan, West Point Judo Team OICMarch 23, 2011
WEST POINT, N.Y. (March 24, 2011) -- The West Point Judo Team made history March 12 by winning men's and women's advanced and novice team national championships-a first in collegiate judo history.
Competing in front of a home crowd at the Arvin Cadet Physical Development Center, the cadets fought with amazing tenacity and passion to prove that their victory in the men's division last year over perennial powerhouse San Jose State was not a fluke.
They succeeded in doing so and have established themselves as a new dominant force in collegiate judo.
This year's competition consisted of approximately 150 competitors representing 33 different colleges and universities and was noted by Chuck Jefferson, National Collegiate Judo Association president, as one of the toughest he could remember.
The stakes were higher than normal at the competition. First- and second-place finishers would earn points toward qualification for the U.S. Olympic team and all first-place finishers would be asked to represent the United States at the University World Games in China this August.
However, the West Point Judo Team rose to the occasion with 23 out of 29 cadets placing with a medal.
The men's advanced team's success was lead by the heroic efforts of senior brown belt Joshua Sandhaus, who faced down favored black belts from San Jose State and Boston College before defeating West Point sophomore John Barnes in the finals to win the 66kg men's division.
Incredible performances were also delivered by junior Sun-Won Jung and senior Josiah McCoy who placed second in the 81kg and 100kg divisions, respectively. Freshman white belt Justin Adkins worked against the odds and finished second in the over 100kg division.
Junior Art Lin rounded out the men's team point winners with a third-place finish in the 60kg division.
The combined efforts of these individuals earned West Point a team score of 15, which put them in front of San Jose State who only mustered six team points this year.
Third place was shared between Idaho State and UC Berkeley, each of whom earned five team points.
The women's advanced team showed its dominance over its competition with first-place finishes from freshman Juliet Talavera at 48kg, sophomore Larisa Tudor at 70kg and freshman Kristen Hernandez in the over 78kg division. The women's team also benefited from second-place finishers sophomores Katherine Donohoe and Catherine Clarke-Pounder and team co-captain Danielle Munoz.
Junior Heather Purkey and freshman Elizabeth Posey earned third-place finishes in the 63kg and 70kg divisions, adding to the team's first-place finish as well.
The women's team faced their toughest competition from Iowa State and Texas A&M which finished second and third, respectively.
Both men's and women's novice teams finished in first place to complete the team's sweep of the team national championships.