Team USA Wins Four Medals in Tahiti

by Nicole Jomantas

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Team USA’s four athletes each reached the podium on Saturday at the Tahiti Open with three athletes winning gold and earning qualifying points towards the 2024 Olympic Games.

Nick Delpopolo (Fort Worth, Texas) returned to the 73kg division in which he qualified for the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games after moving up to 81kg in 2019.

Delpopolo got the event off to a quick start, throwing Tom Gustin (PFY) for ippon (instant win) during the first exchange. In the semifinals, however, four-time Senior World Team member Keisei Nakano (PHI) took Delpopolo into the fourth minute of Golden Score (overtime) before the American threw him for a waza-ari score. Delpopolo’s final match came down to the wire as well, but he caught three-time Oceania Championships medalist Gaston Lafon (PFY) with a throw for a waza-ari (half-point) score in the final 30 seconds of regulation to win gold.

Both of Team USA’s 63kg athletes came to Tahiti for their first senior international event after representing the United States on the U20 and U17 stages last month. Eighteen-year-old Karlee Carrouth (Oklahoma City, Okla. / USA Stars) and 15-year-old Jayda Fulp (Fort Worth, Texas) competed at the Junior and Cadet World Championships, respectively and were now onto the senior circuit.

Carrouth and Fulp faced off in the round robin event with Carrouth throwing her teammate off the grip and pinning her. Fulp escaped Carrouth’s ground game, but was caught in the third minute when Carrouth threw her for ippon.

In the finals, Carrouth threw Teraimatuatini Bopp (PYF) for a waza-ari in the first minute and another in the second minute to win gold.

Fulp fought Bopp as well, but was pinned for a waza-ari score late in the match and finished third overall after being thrown for ippon in the final 10 seconds.

A bronze medalist at the Hong Kong Asian Open in 2019, Jenna Schurr (Torrance, Calif.) won her first major international title with gold in the 52kg division when she threw Ramahere Deflandre (PFY) for ippon in the second minute of their match in the finals.

Top eight and U.S. results are as follows:

Men’s 60kg
1. Jerome Eliet (NCL)

Men’s 66kg
1. Shugen Nakano (PHI)
2. Kerian Vasapolli (PYF)
3. Manatoa (PYF)

Women’s 52kg
1. Jenna Schurr (Torrance, Calif.)

Men’s 73kg
1. Nick Delpopolo (Fort Worth, Texas)
2. Gaston Lafon (PYF)
3. Cedric Jaszczyszyn (NCL)
3. Keisei Nakano (PHI)
5. Noa Gustin (PYF)
5. William Tai Tin (SAM)
7. Tom Gustin (PYF)
7. Gabriel Lao (PYF)

Women’s 57kg
1. Qona Christie (NZL)
2. Charisma Taylor (AUS)
3. Maria Escano (GUM)

Men’s 81kg
1. Maarten De Ridder (NZL)
2. Nicolas Tivant (PYF)
3. Vydal Samin (PYF)
5. Romain Mulot (PYF)

Women’s 63kg
1. Karlee Carrouth (Oklahoma City, Okla. / USA Stars)
2. Teraimatuatini Bopp (PYF)

Also Competed: Jayda Fulp (Fort Worth, Texas), 0-2

Men’s 90kg
1. Cyril Gaudemer (PYF)
2. David Chevalier (PYF)
3. Maevarau Le Gayic (PYF)

Women’s 70kg
1. Haley Gatward (NZL)
2. Carla Nzossi Elecka (PYF)
3. Ashley Suta Dit Saponia (NCL)
3. Shanice Takayawa (FIJ)
5. Anais Gopea (NCL)
5. Haukea Vitielli (PYF)
7. Teeeva Faaruia (PYF)

Men’s 100kg
1. Tevita Takayawa (FIJ)
2. Jakob Edwards (AUS)

Men’s +100kg
1. Jeremy Picard (PYF)
2. Samasona Tevaearai (PYF)

Women’s +78kg
1. Sydney Andrews (NZL)

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