High School Senior, Vannessa Griffin went 8-0 at the 2015 Pan tournament in the Adult Female Blue Belt division and established herself as one of the USA’s top up-and-coming Jiu-Jitsu prospects.
In the weight class, she defeated Dania Obeid, Barbara Masch, Madison Ownings, Brooke Mayo, and then submitted Lauren Sacks in the finals.
In the Open Class, Griffin defeated Amanda da Silva (Heavyweight class Gold medalist), Crystal Demopoulos (Light Feather Bronze medalist), and Leandra Poole (Heavyweight Silver medalist) to reach the Championship round. In the finals, she closed out the division with her teammate, Michelle Welti.
Due to her young age, she turns 18 at the end of the year, the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation did not permit her to compete in the adult divisions until this year.
The Pan was only her second IBJJF competition ever. Her first was the Atlanta International Open earlier in 2015 where she also won the Blue Belt lightweight division and the Open division.
Vannessa, currently a senior at Long Reach High School, began training in the Kids program at Crazy 88, a powerhouse Jiu Jitsu school in Baltimore.
After the tournament, Griffin was gracious.
“Going to the Pan American Championships was by far the most incredible experience of my life so far. The support and help I received to get me on top of the podium was very strong and I appreciate every little bit of it.
Thank you to Master Julius Park for everything you have done to get me to this point and everything you are still doing to help me improve my Jiu Jitsu and get to the Worlds. The lessons you have taught me about life and success have helped me mature and I’m always happy to hear you speak about something you’re knowledgeable about. Also, being in my corner for all of my matches meant a lot to me and I thank you.
Thank you Coach Tye for pushing me in ways not many other people have been able to. The time you take out of your day to condition me and help me with my weight cuts are much appreciated.
Thank you to David Zwanetz and Cathy Tran-Zwanetz for all of the random acts of kindness. Ms. Cathy, you’ve helped me a great deal in the last few years, thank you for everything. Coach Dave your words of kindness and sense of humor always brighten my day.
Thank you Coach Keith for putting up with my childish acts (lol) and always pushing me to do better in everything that I do.
To anyone else that has helped me in any way, especially my teammates and family, thank you as well.
I know thank you’s are more sincere in person, but it’s a lot easier for me to express gratitude with words written down as opposed to spoken. This experience means a lot to me, but it’s already in the past. Worlds 2015 is the next big thing and I’m excited to perform at the highest level and share another great experience with my team.”