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Apr 11 JUDO: St. Leger Beats World Medalist Olson on First Day of Senior Nationals

April 11, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
For Immediate Release April 11, 2008 Contact: Nicole Jomantas, 719.271.9937 (cell) Nicole.Jomantas@usajudo.us (Virginia Beach, Va.)-Garry St. Leger (Brooklyn, N.Y. / NYAC / Legrossports) made it clear that the Olympic comeback of former World medalist Brian Olson (Boulder, Colo. / NYAC / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) isn't a foregone conclusion when he threw Olson for ippon (instant win) in the first minute of their 90kg final at the USA Judo Senior National Championships on Friday. The Senior Nationals, which continue on Saturday at the Virginia Beach Convention Center with the men's and women's light and Open divisions, are the final opportunity for athletes to qualify for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Judo, June 13-14 in Las Vegas. Olson, a three-time Olympian who returned from his 2004 retirement six months ago, struggled throughout the day, narrowly advancing to the finals after semifinal win by a late yuko (quarter point) over 2007 National Champion Rick Hawn (Wakefield, Mass. / USA Judo National Team FORCE). St. Leger now has defeated Olson twice after winning their last match at the Rendez-Vous Canada in October."I wasn't worried,"St. Leger said."I had a little confidence going in because I'd beaten him before, but I knew it was still going to be tough because he remembers that match too."6 The win moves St. Leger into the #1 seed heading into the Trials."It's a great confidence booster going into Trials,"said St. Leger."It feels good to win, but I also know I'll be training as hard as everyone else between now and then, if not harder."Reigning World silver medalist Ronda Rousey (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE) won her second consecutive title in the 70kg division and fifth overall with her win over Tomoyo Yoshinaga (San Jose, Calif. / USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University). In a match in which Rousey appeared to be working on strategy and techniques, she led by two yukos before finishing Yoshinaga off with a pin. Aaron Cohen (Buffalo Grove, Ill. / NYAC / Cohen's Judo) won his fourth Senior National title in the 81kg division with a victory in the finals over Harry St. Leger (Brooklyn, N.Y. / NYAC / Legrossports). Jonathan Leonhardt (San Jose, Calif. / USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University) produced both one of the day's biggest smiles and upsets when he won by a penalty in the last minute against top seed Anthony Turner (Miami, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami) in the men's heavyweight division. The win marked the first +100kg National title for Leonhardt, a 2006 Pan Am Team member in the Open division. Leonhardt's SJSU teammate Janine Nakao (San Jose, Calif. / USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University) led the 63kg final by a yuko before throwing first-time finalist Paola Genao-Butler (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) for ippon two minutes into the match. The 2007 U.S. Open Champion in the 63kg division, Kayla Harrison (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE) won the 78kg division after moving up from 63kg in January when she threw 2004 Olympian Nikki Kubes (Fort Worth, Texas / Fort Worth Judo) for a yuko. Harrison, who defeated #2-ranked Nina Cutro-Kelly (San Antonio, Texas / Universal Judo) earlier in the day to advance to the final, has now won senior national medals in three different divisions at the age of 17. After returning to major competition for the first time since he was named an Olympic Team alternate at the 2004 Trials, Michael Barnes (San Jose, Calif. / USA Judo National training Site at San Jose State University) was the talk of the tournament when he returned to his former 100kg division. In the finals, however, two-time World Team member Djamaldin Aliev (Greenwood Village, Colo. / Denver Judo / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) threw Barnes for ippon in the first minute and advanced from being unseeded at the beginning of the day to earning a likely third seed at the Trials in June. Among the other players making returns to competition also was three-time Senior National Champion Nanoushka St. Pre (Brooklyn, N.Y. / Legrossports) who defeated 2007 U.S. Open Champion Heidi Moore (Englewood, Colo. / Denver Judo) in the +78kg final. Competition continues on Saturday at the Virginia Beach Convention Center with the men's and women's light and Open divisions. Complete results are as follows: Women 63kg 1. Janine Nakao (San Jose, Calif. / USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University) 2. Paola Genao-Butler (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) 3. Hannah Martin (Burnt Hills, N.Y. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) 3. Ashlie Martini (Chicago, Ill. / Tohkon / Victorious Judo) 5. Christal Ransom (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) 5. Anastasia Krivosta (Smithtown, N.Y. / Smithtown YMCA) Women's 70kg 1. Ronda Rousey (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE) 2. Tomoyo Yoshinaga (San Jose, Calif. / USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University) 3. Jaclyn Feuerschwenger (Linden, N.J. / Cranford Judo) 3. Katie Sell (Harlingen, Texas / USA Judo National Training Site at Harlingen) 5. Jennifer Tutass (El Cerrito, Calif. / Cunningham's Judo) 5. Natalie Laursen (Livermore, Calif. / Amador Judo) Women's 78kg 1. Kayla Harrison (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE) 2. Nikki Kubes (Fort Worth, Texas / Fort Worth Judo) 3. Katie Mocco (Glenville, N.Y. / NYAC / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) 3. Molly O'Rourke (El Cerrito, Calif. / East Bay Judo Institute) 5. Nina Cutro-Kelly (San Antonio, Texas / Universal Judo) 5. Lorey Edwards (Lorain, Ohio / Chu To Bu) Women's +78 kg 1. Nanoushka St. Pre (Brooklyn, N.Y. / Legrossports) 2. Heidi Moore (Englewood, Colo. / Denver Judo) 3. Melinda Swanson (Honolulu, Hawaii / Hawaii Tenri) 3. Toni Geiger (Dumont, N.J. / Tech Judo) 5. Janelle Snider (Latham, N.Y. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) 5. Andi Bongert (Dubuque, Iowa / Sioux City Judo) Men's 81kg 1. Aaron Cohen (Buffalo Grove, Ill. / NYAC / Cohen's Judo) 2. Harry St. Leger (Brooklyn, N.Y. / NYAC / Legrossports) 3. Jose Bencosme (San Jose, Calif. / USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University) 3. Ross MacBaisey (Atlanta, Ga. / Emory Judo) 5. Lucas Mignogna (Golden, Colo. / Northglenn Judo) 5. Danny Satinsky (Buffalo Grove, Ill. / Cohen's Judo) Men's 90kg 1. Garry St. Leger (Brooklyn, N.Y. / NYAC / Legrossports) 2. Brian Olson (Boulder, Colo. / NYAC / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) 3. Rick Hawn (Wakefield, Mass. / USA Judo National Team FORCE) 3. David Ellis (Roselle Park, N.J. / Cranford Judo) 5. Jacob Larsen (Santa Rosa, Calif. / Redwood Coast Judo Club) 5. Landry Ambouroue (Richland, Texas / Ruben Martin Judo Training Center) Men's 100kg 1. Djamaldin Aliev (Greenwood Village, Colo. / Denver Judo / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center) 2. Michael Barnes (San Jose, Calif. / USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University) 3. Brian Picklo (Mustang, Okla. / USA Stars) 3. Dariusz Mikolajczak (Brooklyn, N.Y. / NYAC / Legrossports) 5. Kyle Vashkulat (Glenville, N.Y. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Jason Morris Judo Center) 5. Rene Capo (Naperville, Ill. / Cohen's Judo) Men's +100kg 1. Jonathan Leonhardt (San Jose, Calif. / USA Judo National Training Site at San Jose State University) 2. Anthony Turner (Miami, Fla. / USA Judo National Training Site at North Miami) 3. Michael Prieditis (Fayetteville, N.C.) 3. Derek Alef (Santa Barbara, Calif. / Santa Ynez Judo) 5. Vinnie Mancuso (Paramus, N.J. / Camal Judo) 5. Matthew Walker (Tacoma, Wash. / Budokan Judo) For more information, contact Nicole Jomantas, USA Judo Director of Communications and Media Relations, at 719.271.9937 (cell) or Nicole.Jomantas@usajudo.us. -END-
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