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Trotter shines at USJF Junior Nationals

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Trotter shines at USJF Junior Nationals

Manteca Judo Club member Jordan Trotter, left, joined Sid Kumarraj, Conrad Perez and Daniel Luz to win the U.S. Judo Federation National Championships team competition.

Photo contributed/

POSTED July 17, 2009 1:57 a.m.
Jordan Trotter was unsure of himself as he went into the two-day 46th Annual U.S. Judo Federation National Championships, also known as Junior Nationals, July 11-12 at San Francisco City College.

Once there, opponents were unsure about going toe to toe with the towering brute.

The 10-year-old Mantecan returned to his dominant form after going two and out in the California Judo Championships in San Diego in May.

He placing second in the intermediate boys 43-kilogram division Saturday and helped Daiheigen win the USJF Yudanshakai team competition Sunday.
“He was pretty nervous going into nationals,” said Manteca Judo Club head instructor Joe Franco, Trotter’s grandfather.

Strange, considering that Trotter already had Junior Nationals experience. He was third in his division last year.

Trotter, who has trained with the Manteca Judo Club since he was 6, rolled through three straight tournaments prior to the state competition.

“I thought he was ready and up for the challenge,” Franco said. “But at state he lost both of his matches. “He was devastated. I was devastated. It was like, ‘What happened?’

“He just had a bad day, I guess, but he bounced back and did very well.”

Trotter tore through the opening stages of Junior Nationals, winning three straight to earn passage into the gold-medal round. There, he lost to Esteban Thumas of Pacifica by pinfall.

He wasn’t done yet.

When it came time to select competitors for the team tournament, Franco lobbied for his grandson.

The USJF is divided geographically into several Yudanshakai (Black Belt Associations). Daiheigen consists of 22 Judo clubs, most coming from Northern California.

Each Yudanshakai that had enough to fill a roster fielded male and female contingents comprising of five Judokas of varying ages and weight classes. Team Daiheigen’s male squad had just four, and it had to win three of the individual five matches to score the victory.

After a first-round bye, Daihaigen won two straight to win the competition. Trotter was triumphant in both of his bouts. He was joined by Sid Kumarraj of Stockton Judo Club and Team Sacramento mates Conrad Perez and David Luz.

“The referee didn’t start Jordan’s first match after looking at him and the smaller guy he was facing,” Franco said. “He asked of it was the correct matchup. Later on I was asked how old he was because he was so much bigger than all the other 10-year-olds.”

This year’s Junior National included 569 contestants. Manteca Judo Club sent six of its students. Others who fared well were Michael Sarmento (fourth place) and Vincent Marquez (sixth). Both are 10 but competed in different weight classes.

Manteca native Sara Phillps, representing Stockton Judo Club, took third in the juvenile 48-kilogram division.
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