By Keith Cebula – On Saturday June 23rd we sent a small squad of competitors to the NAGA in Virginia Beach. For some it was to get some experience competing and for others it was just to stay active over the summer. The Virginia Beach NAGA is a good tournament to get some experience, especially for students just starting to compete. Whether just starting out or training for a long time it is good to compete as often as possible.
First up on the day was Madeline Donnelly fighting in the kids division. Madeline is a veteran competitor and it showed. In the Gi she avenged an earlier loss to a larger opponent. Knowing that the girl was a good wrestler Madeline adjusted her strategy to pull guard and it paid off. She swept her opponent to mount and finished her with a paintbrush for gold.
Next up was David Donnelly fighting in the executive division. David controlled his opponent from beginning to end winning the match 6-0 and taking gold.
Ben Klimkowski took silver in the Intermediate No-Gi division. Ben had some tough matches against very good competitors. His first fight was against a pretty good wrestler. Ben was able to counter his wrestling and win a very close fight by an advantage. In the finals ben took his opponent down and controlled him for most of the fight before getting caught in a last minute submission.
Julio Rios fought in the heavy white belt Gi division. After being taken down in the beginning of his first match Julio did not panic. He swept his opponent, passed his guard and went knee on belly defeating his opponent 7 to 2. Unfortunately Julio came up short in his second fight but got to fight for bronze. In his third fight Julio dominated his opponent. He double legged him, passed his guard and then finished him with a breadcutter choke.
I would also like to give a special mention to Sean Gray and Phillip Quigley. This was Sean’s first time competing and Phillip’s second time. Both guys got to fight multiple matches and although they did not place they brought home valuable experience.