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Team USA to Compete at Junior and Cadet Pan American - Oceania Championships This Weekend

by Nicole Jomantas

Harlee Hiller won enters the Junior Pan Am - Oceania Championships as the reigning silver medalist at 48 kg. (Photo by IJF)

(Colorado Springs, CO) – Team USA will take on the best athletes from North and South America as well as Oceania this weekend at the Cadet and Junior Pan American – Oceania Championships in Calgary, Canada.

2023 Cadet Pan Am – Oceania Championships Live Results

2023 Junior Pan Am – Oceania Championships Live Results

2023 Junior and Cadet Pan Am - Oceania Championships Live Stream

Athletes will compete in the cadet (U17) competition on Friday and the junior (U20) competition on Saturday.

The Junior Pan Am – Oceania Championships will serve as a key opportunity for athletes to earn points towards seeding at the Junior World Championships in October.

Team USA’s junior squad is led by four returning medalists from the 2022 Junior and Cadet Pan Am – Oceania Championships in which the U.S. athletes won 11 junior and 12 cadet medals.

Harlee Hiller (Evanston, IL / Cohen Brothers Judo) won silver medals in both the junior and cadet events in 2022. This year, the 16-year-old will compete in only the junior event where she seeks a return to the podium at 48 kg. Hiller, who finished in the top 16 at the Cadet Worlds last month, has competed internationally in both wrestling and judo this year, winning gold in the 49 kg division at the U17 Pan American Wrestling Championships just a week after claiming her Junior Olympic National Championship title in judo at 48 kg in June.

A bronze medalist at the 2022 Junior Pan Am – Oceania Championships at 70 kg, Shavon Gonzalez (West Palm Beach, FL / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center) also won bronze in the cadet event last year and gold at the 2021 Cadet Pan Ams. Seventeen-year-old Gonzalez will be fighting in both age groups in Calgary and is currently ranked ninth in the world as a junior and third as a cadet. Gonzalez earned her second straight seventh-place finish at the Cadet Worlds last month and won a silver medal at the Coimbra Cadet European Cup in Portugal in May.

Seventeen-year-old Emily Jaspe (Hialeah, FL / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center) also secured two medals at least year’s Junior and Cadet Pan Am – Oceania Championships. Fighting at 63 kg, Jaspe won bronze as a junior and gold as a cadet. Jaspe will compete in both age categories this weekend and is looking to improve on her fifth-place finish at the Cadet Worlds last month. Jaspe holds the No. 2 cadet world ranking and is No. 4 in the junior standings.

Three-time Cadet Pan American Champion Christopher Velazco (Coral Springs, FL / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center) aged up to juniors this season and the eighteen-year-old is seeking to build on his past results with a return trip to the podium.

Team USA also is highlighted by a pair of athletes who won gold as juniors competing at this year’s Senior National Championships.

Johan Silot Suse (Salem, MA / New York Athletic Club) has been undefeated in domestic competition at 81 kg this year, winning the Senior Nationals in May as well as the Youth Nationals in March and the Junior Olympic National Championships in June. Suse claimed two more golds in both the IJF-Junior and Senior categories at the U.S. Open in July and earned top-seven finishes in his first two appearances on the Junior European Cup circuit.  

Joshua Yang (Los Angeles, CA / LA Judo Club) won gold at the 2020 Cadet Pan Ams and will be one of Velazco’s top rivals at 60 kg this year. The two have battled all season with Yang winning gold at the Youth and Senior Nationals and Velazco earning the Junior Olympic title.

While Jaspe and Gonzalez are the only returning members from the 2022 Cadet Pan Am Team to this year’s squad, Team USA has a wealth of potential for podium finishes in Calgary, including 16-year-old Jonathan Yang (Los Angeles, CA / LA Judo Club) who reached the podium in his first Cadet European Cup competition in Coimbra this year, earning bronze at 55 kg. The reigning Youth and Junior Olympic National Champion also took a top-seven finish at the Cadet Worlds and the youngest of the Yang Bros is looking to add to the family medal cabinet that includes older brother Josh’s Cadet Pan Am title in 2020 as well as bronze medal finishes in both the junior and cadet event finishes for Jacob Yang (Los Angeles, CA / LA Judo Club) in the 66 kg category at least year’s Pan Ams. 

In addition to Jaspe, Gonzalez and Yang, 10 other members of the Cadet Pan Am / Oceania Team also competed at the Cadet Worlds in Zagreb:

  • Damian Lang (Bellevue, WA / Washington Judo Academy / 50 kg)
  • Henry Parsadanian (North Hollywood, CA / 55 kg)
  • Alexander Prado (Coral Springs, FL / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center / 60 kg)
  • Kevin Do Carmo (Lehigh Acres, FL / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center / 66 kg)
  • Anthony Farnot (Lehigh Acres, FL / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center / 73 kg)
  • Daniel Liubimovski (Staten Island, NY / Colton Brown Training Center / 90 kg)
  • Malia Manibog (San Gabriel, CA / San Gabriel Judo Dojo / 44 kg)
  • Samantha Garcia (Torrance, CA / Harbor Judo Dojo / 48 kg)
  • Jayda Fulp (Fort Worth, TX / Chandler Judo Academy / 63 kg)
  • Chloe Williams (Stafford, VA / Wall 2 Wall Martial Arts / 70 kg)

The complete delegation roster is as follows:

Coaches
Jhonny Prado (Coral Springs, FL)
German Velazco (Coral Springs, FL)
Carrie Chandler (Fort Worth, TX)

Junior Men’s 60 kg
Joshua Yang (Los Angeles, CA / LA Judo Club)
Christopher Velazco (Coral Springs, FL / NYAC / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center)

Junior Men’s 66 kg
Lenny Sheynfeld (Staten Island, NY / Pedro’s Judo Center)
Amin Bakhtiyor (Fairfax, VA / Pedro’s Judo Center)

Junior Men’s 73 kg
Kai Wallace (Murrieta, CA / Los Angeles Tenri Judo Club)
Romin Bakhtiyor (Fairfax, VA / Pedro’s Judo Center)

Junior Men’s 81 kg
Johan Silot Suse (Salem, MA / New York Athletic Club)

Junior Men’s 90 kg
Daniel Liubimovski (Staten Island, NY / Colton Brown Training Center)
Harutyun Mutafyan (Glendale, CA / Olymp Fight Club)

Junior Women’s 48 kg
Jayne Loo (Mercer Island, WA / Budokan Judo Doo-Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington)
Harlee Hiller (Evanston, IL / Cohen Brothers Judo)

Junior Women’s 52 kg
Kaycie Tanimoto (Fort Worth, TX / Chandler Judo Academy)

Junior Women’s 57 kg
Liana Morello (Wakefield, MA / Pedro’s Judo Center)
Elizabeth Cesta (Woodbury, MN / Docs Gym)

Junior Women’s 63 kg
Jayda Fulp (Fort Worth, TX / Chandler’s Judo Academy)
Emily Jaspe (Hialeah, FL / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center)

Junior Women’s 70 kg
Shavon Gonzalez (West Palm Beach, FL / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center)
Kira Ferrandini (San Jose, CA / Nakano Judo Academy)

Cadet Men’s 50 kg
Damian Lang (Bellevue, WA / Washington Judo Academy)

Cadet Men’s 55 kg
Jonathan Yang (Los Angeles, CA / LA Judo Club)
Henry Parsadanian (North Hollywood, CA)

Cadet Men’s 60 kg
Alexander Prado (Coral Springs, FL / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center)

Cadet Men’s 66 kg
Domenico Ternullo (Saugus, MA / Pedro’s Judo Center)
Kevin Do Carmo (Lehigh Acres, FL / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center)

Cadet Men’s 73 kg
Anthony Farnot (Lehigh Acres, FL / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center)

Cadet Men’s 81 kg
Octavio DeOliveira (Lynnfield, MA / Pedro’s Judo Center)

Cadet Men’s 90 kg
Daniel Liubimovski (Staten Island, NY / Colton Brown Training Center)

Cadet Men’s +90 kg
Kanta Ueyama (Burbank, CA / LA Tenri Judo Dojo)

Cadet Women’s 44 kg
Malia Manibog (San Gabriel, CA / San Gabriel Judo Dojo)

Cadet Women’s 48 kg
Samantha Garcia (Torrance, CA / Harbor Judo Dojo)

Cadet Women’s 52 kg
Natalie Pino (Hialeah, FL / Budokan Judo School)

Cadet Women’s 57 kg
Jasmine Macias (La Puente, CA / Guerreros Judo)

Cadet Women’s 63 kg
Jayda Fulp (Fort Worth, TX / Chandler Judo Academy)
Emily Jaspe (Hialeah, FL / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center)

Cadet Women’s 70 kg
Chloe Williams (Stafford, VA / Wall 2 Wall Martial Arts)
Shavon Gonzalez (West Palm Beach, FL / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center)

Cadet Women’s +70 kg
Sophia Dresel (Casselberry, FL / Sasaki Judo)

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