Five Crazy 88 warriors flew out to Ft. Lauderdale on April 24th, 2015 to compete in the IBJJF Boca Raton International Open. At the airport, they met two teammates from Wrightson BJJ, Brent Moreland AKA “Brentan Morelandius” and Brian Owens AKA “Phillipe”, who were promptly banned from making travel arrangements in the future.
After getting a rental car, Team Crazy 88 piled in and drove around Florida trying to locate the hotels they would be staying in for the next two nights. After two hours, they finally found one of the hotels and fell asleep to prepare for the next morning.
At roughly 7 AM, the Baltimore BJJ competitors woke up, got a quick workout in, and then drove to Florida Atlantic University to compete for the last time before the World Championships in May.
The day began with the Blue belts, both male and female. The guys fought at about 9 AM while the blue belt girls had to wait another hour to go. The day began with Chris Kim and then Brent Moreland and Byung Ju Lee. Lee and Moreland were coming off tough losses at the Atlanta Open earlier that year and were ready to redeem themselves and make it onto the podium.
Chris Kim started the tournament off on a good note with a cross choke from closed guard. The submission streak continued with Brent Moreland catching a 50/50 foot lock and then Byung Ju submitting his opponent with a clean bow-and-arrow choke in less than 3 minutes. Chris Kim was the first to enter the medal rounds with a 3 advs to 0 advs win. Byung Ju followed up with a 2-0 win by lasso tilt sweep vs a solid grappler from Fight Sports. Brentan scored 5 points to 0 for his opponent to also enter medal contention.
With all Blue Belt males in the medal rounds, Vannessa Griffin would have her first match. Griffin kept the momentum going with an advantage win; Griffin caught her opponent in a triangle choke early and kept it on for the duration of the match but could not secure the tapout.
Unfortunately, Chris Kim landed in third place, losing his 3rd match on points. But Byung Ju defeated two Gracie Barra competitors back to back to win the Blue Belt lightweight division. And Moreland finished strong with two submissions in a row to win the Medium heavyweight division, his first ever IBJJF gold medal.
Finally, Vannessa Griffin squared off against Barbara Masch in the finals. Vannessa had previously grappled the Fight Sports student in the Pan American Championships a month and a half earlier, winning 5-2 in a hard-fought match. This time with a better gameplan, Vannessa controlled the positions from start to finish, winning 7-0.
At 5 PM, the Open divisions started and Vannessa Griffin, Brent Moreland, and Byung Ju Lee were all committed to compete again. Unfortunately, after a submission and some controversial calls, the blue belt male duo was not able to secure a spot on the podium in the Open division. Fortunately, Vannessa Griffin made it back on top of the podium after three quick submissions: a breadcutter, a triangle, and a bow-and-arrow choke.
Overall, the Boca Raton Open was a great warm up tournament before the World Championships at the end of May. Byung Ju Lee and Brent Moreland were able to break through and finally get their regional IBJJF golds and Griffin continued to excel. Next stop: Long Beach, CA!