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Judo club fares well at tourney

Record-setting turnout highlighted by 15 medalists

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Judo club fares well at tourney

Earning medals from the Manteca Judo Club at the Community College of San Francisco Judo Invitational on Dec. 7 are (front row, from left): Noah Gonzales, Calvin Trotter, Pandora He, Ryan Foo, Robe...


POSTED December 17, 2008 1:08 a.m.
Manteca Judo Club instructor Joe Franco usually doesn’t need the help, but on Dec. 7 he asked his brother and co-founder, Andrew, for a little hand.
The club, which hit its 10-year anniversary in August, had its biggest-ever turnout in a tournament with 20 participants at the Community College of San Francisco Judo Invitational, and 15 of them came home with medals.
“A lot of these kids really like this tournament, so I made it a point to have as many go to it as possible,” Joe Franco said. “It was a good showing, the kids looked great. I’m proud of the way they handled themselves. They represented the club very well.”
From the dojo’s most grizzled veterans in 12-year-old orange belts Simon and Russell Marquez, who are twins, to the newcomers, Franco had great reason to be proud.
Manteca Judo Club had six white belts who were introduced to competitive sparring at the tournament earn medals. One of them was 7-year-old Woodward School student Noah Gonzales, who proudly showed off his second-place silver medal Tuesday.
Despite his young age and inexperience, Gonzales said he wasn’t least bit intimidated.
“It was pretty amazing to get second place in my first tournament,” he said.
Other white-belt placers include: sisters Stephanie (first place) and Sarah (third) Sorenson, Ryan Foo (fourth), Cameron Gonzales (third) and 27-year-old Courtney Meyer (third) — the eldest of the bunch.
“Most of our white belts have been with us for three or four months, but they all learn quickly,” Franco said. “Seeing them place at this tournament really made me feel good for them.”
Yellow belts Jordan Trotter and Jasmine Foo won gold medals. The Marquez twins each took second, as did little brother Vincent.
The rest of Manteca Judo Club’s placers are: Calvin Trotter (fifth, yellow-white belt division), Pandora He (fourth, yellow-white), Ryan Foo (white), Robert Foo (fourth, red), Janine Foo (fourth, yellow-white), Taylor Orner (second, yellow-white), Patrick He (third, yellow), Jacob Orner (fifth, yellow-orange) and Shane Medeiros (third, yellow).
“This was one of our best tournaments in terms of occupying the mat,” Andrew Franco said. “We have lots of talent here, from the beginners to the top athletes.”
Manteca Judo Club will next see action February in a new tournament in Vacaville.
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