Crazy 88 competition team kept things busy the weekend of April 30 when they split up and try taking over the west coast. Big Sal (Al Washington), Tom Shrum and Cathy Tran-Zwanetz represented the team at the 4th American Cup in San Jose, CA hosted by Claudio Franca. It was the first time, the Crazy 88 group competed in this particular tournament. The blue belts competed on Saturday, April 30 in this two day tournament. The adventure started while flying out to California, Big Sal’s credit card number was stolen. The thief went on a shopping spree, ironically enough in San Diego, while Big Sal was still in the air on his way to California.
Cathy Tran-Zwanetz started the day off with 3 others in her bracket. Cathy won her first match with her classic mount and ezekielle with plenty of time to spare. Cathy changed things up in her second match, taking her opponents back and finishing with a rear naked choke to win her division. Cathy continued her day by doing the Women’s Blue Belt Open. This also ended up being a small group. For her first open match, Cathy stuck to her game plan fighting a slightly larger opponent, finishing her with an ezekielle. Cathy ended up with silver in the open, losing in the finals by an advantage after her opponent came up first during a double pull.
Shrum was raring to go and test his skills in California. Shrum’s first match started with him being taken down, giving his opponent the lead for most of the match. The last few minutes, Shrum was able to turn the tables by winning 4-2. Shrum’s second match didn’t work out as planned. Shrum was taken down but was able to get his opponent into his close guard. Shrum diligently worked on getting a Brabo choke or trying to sweep his opponent. Even thought his opponent was called for stalling, Shrum was not able to make up the points. Shrum is staying focused and ready to clean up his game.
Big Sal was excited to get in some extra matches prior to going to Brazil the following week. He carefully laid out his game plan and felt ready to execute. Big Sal dominated his first match winning 12-0. Big Sal quick movements and grace stunned the crowd, showing them that size doesn’t matter. Big Sal looked like he was in trouble in his final division match. His opponent quickly got into north-south and did a good job holding a big man down. Big Sal was able to turn the tables getting his opponent into close guard and winning the match 2-0 with a quick sweep towards the end. What a nailbiting match! With Big Sal’s attentiveness, he was able to win the division gold! Considering Big Sal only got a couple of matches in during his division, he saved some energy for the open. Big Sal’s first open division match had him pulling guard then moving into deep half and finishing up with a sweep leading him to his win based on points. His second open match was more exciting as Big Sal continued with his game plan and ended up with him in mount and finishing his opponent with an Americana with less than two minutes left. Big Al fought hard in his semi-final match, unfortunately losing due to points but winning Bronze.
Overall it was a good business trip to California, considering this traveling team was there for less than 48 hours and was coming home with 4 medals and some extra prep for the Worlds.