Pan-American Team Results
- Mike Atkin
- Senior 3 Gi Blue Belt Medium Heavyweight (<194.5 lbs) – GOLD
- Senior 3 Gi Blue Belt Open – GOLD
- Roberto Torralbas
- Adult Gi Blue Belt Middleweight (<181 lbs) – GOLD
- Amie Turton
- Adult Gi Blue Belt Super Featherweight (<118 lbs) – GOLD
Mike Atkin and his first opponent battled on the feet for the duration of the match. Based on his aggression, Mike was awarded the victory. In the finals, Mike turned on the heat, quickly taking his opponent down, passing his guard, and submitting him from the side-mount. After securing a Gold in his weight division, Mike entered the Open Weight category and fought his way to the final where he would face the Super-Heavyweight division winner, Gary Casey. This was a WAR!!!
Mike got things started immediately with an attempted lat-drop throw but ended up on his back. Gary passed Mike’s guard, forcing him to turn to the knees. Well-trained by Claudio Franca, Casey jumped on Mike’s back and began working the choke. I remember Mike telling me that he won’t tap to chokes and that he would rather go unconscious. Just as I was preparing myself mentally to resuscitate him, Mike escaped and reversed his opponent, taking Casey’s back! Mike fought hard, looking for the submission but Casey was tough and managed to escape in similar fashion to how Mike just had. The buzzer rang soon after and the match ended with Casey’s hand raised but there were no losers in this match. Both competitors gave 110% and left everything on the mat! Congrats to Mike on 2 medals!
Roberto Torralbas overcame many obstacles to achieve his goal of becoming Pan-American Champion. As a full-time engineering student at Cornell University, Roberto faced not only a tough academic semester but financial difficulties. Luckily, through the help of some last-minute sponsors and a few understanding professors, we were able to get Roberto out to California! The Crazy Cuban didn’t let anyone down, defeating 5 tough opponents on his way to the title, winning 2-0, 5-0, 9-0, advantage, and topping it off with a judge’s decision. This guy has been working his tail off since receiving his blue belt a few months ago: analyzing tapes, doing the conditioning, and formulating strategy; we are delighted to see his dedication pay off.
Amie Turton was the favorite to win the division and she lived up to her reputation. Amie has had a weight on her shoulders since losing a close match in last year’s final but now she can relax (at least until the training for the Mundials starts). Amie easily submitted her first opponent via armbar and defeated her 2nd opponent handily on points. In the finals, she faced Miku Matsumoto, a tough Japanese grappler. This was a contrast in styles, with Miku having a crushing top game and Amie fighting with her tricky guard. Amie scored 2 points early but Miku battled back, trying to pass and get her points. The pair ended up in some crazy positions but in the end it was Amie with the 2-0 victory and the Gold medal.