The 2019 Judo Yukon Championships were April 27 in Carmacks – making it the first time the championships have ever been held outside of Whitehorse.
With 54 judokas taking part, the turn out was slightly down from years past – but it wasn’t because of the location.
This year’s championship didn’t include any Alaskans, explained organizer Bianca Ockedahl, the sensei of the Carmacks Judo Club.
“That wasn’t because it was in Carmacks,” said Ockedahl. “That was because there are things going on at their end.”
Ockedahl said the tournament ran well and that holding it at the Carmacks Recreation Centre added atmosphere to the event.
“I think the fact it was a smaller space compared to the Canada Games Centre — the gym was smaller, there were two mats, there was more than enough seating — made it … more cozy and intimate, which was nice,” said Ockedahl. “People are more drawn to just focusing on what is going on on the mats rather than everything else going on around them. I think that’s a really huge aspect to that too.”
The tournament started with a live rendition of O Canada performed by Livia Mortimer and Justine Bellmore-Smarch — two local Carmacks Judo Club members.
“I always like to integrate the community and combine culture and sport together,” said Ockedahl. “So I thought it was a nice element.”
On the mats, the 54 participants were split into six age divisions and a total of 15 weight classes.
The under eight weight classes were 22 kilograms and 26 kg respectively.
In the 22 kg class, Marinanna Pacaud was first, Kippen Briggs was second and Levi Bellmore-Smarch was third.
Moving up to 26 kg, top spot went to Henry Todd with Joah Campbell second and Odyn Johnson third.
Under 10 athletes fought in three weight classes.
At the 24 kg level, Bartosz Losinski was the winner. Second place went to Elyse-Anne Pacaud and third place went to Kolton Bellmore-Mayer.
In the 30 kg weight class, Hudson White was first, Ganit Davis was second and Caiden Cruickshank was third.
In the final under 10 class, 31 kg, the winner was Xavier Macht. Second place was Kaiden Johns and third place was Sophie Harris.
Under 12 judokas were split into six weight classes ranging from 29 kg to 55 kg.
Huxley Briggs won the 29 kg class, with Jorja Bellmore-Smarch second and Taylor Minder third.
Moving up to 36 kg, Jada Wheeler was the winner and Josiah Wilcox and Liam Saunders finished second and third.
In the 39 kg weight class, Kenai Bryden won with William Pacaud second, Grayson Holmberg third and Roman Zazula fourth.
The winner of the 41 kg class was Charlie Todd. Reid Sandiford finished second and Monica Kazda finished third.
Lia Hinchey won the 45 kg class, with Andrzej Benson second and Wicktoria Losinska and Zander White tied for third.
Rounding out the under 12 results, Gavin Morgan-Evans won the 55 kg class. Aiden West was second and Cavan Went was third.
The under 14 age group had two weight classes — 36 kg and 60+ kg.
Gabby Farkas won the 36 kg class with second place going to Justine.
The 60+ kg winner was Max Naulet. Silver went to Ashlan Norquay, bronze went to Ryan Raymond and in fourth place was Hunter Went.
The lone under 16 weight class was 44 kg. Jaymi Hinchey won, with Anneka Aasman second, Artur Losinski and Benson tied for third.
Rounding out the results was Richard Zebruck winning the 100+ kg senior men’s weight class. Second place went to Jadon Leenders and Kulbir Gill was third.
The championships mark the end of the season for the summer, and Ockedahl said work is already underway to make next year even better.
“I think overall that Judo Yukon had a really nice season,” said Ockedahl. “I think everybody is looking forward to seeing more next season.”
Ockedahl explained work is underway to host a fall camp in Haines Junction with a former teammate of Ockedahl who competed at the Olympics making the trip.
Contact John Hopkins-Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org