Pedro’s Judo Center out of Wakefield, Massachusetts made waves at the recently concluded 2023 USA Judo Senior National Championships in Spokane, Washington. The team, which sent 12 athletes to compete, ended up taking home seven medals, including two golds. This impressive showing showcases how the team is well on their way to becoming a force to be reckoned with in the world of Judo.
Pedro’s Judo Center is home to Olympians such as Jimmy Pedro, Kayla Harrison, Travis Stevens, Ronda Rousey and more have an Elite Team called US National Team FORCE. They are a relatively young team that is ultimately eyeing the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. However, their performance at the national championships proves that they are already a formidable team. The team’s success can be attributed to the excellent coaching provided by the coaching staff, Jimmy Pedro, US Olympic Coach & Olympic Medalist, Travis Stevens, 3x Olympian & Olympic Silver Medalist, and Tyler Yonemori, USA Judo National Coach.
The team’s success at the national championships was a result of their hard work and perseverance. Many of the team’s members have been training for several years, and their dedication paid off at the competition. The team’s members were well-prepared for the competition, both mentally and physically, allowing them to perform at their best. These athletes all balance either working full time or attending school full time.
The team’s medal haul included two golds, three silvers, and two bronzes. The gold medals were won by Pedro’s Judo Center US National Team FORCE members, Johan Silot (Salem, MA) who won the Senior -81kg division and Romin Bahktiyor (Wakefield, MA) who won the 17-20 year old -73kg division. They showcased excellent sportsmanship and represented the team and Pedro’s Judo Center with pride.
Wakefield native, Liana Morello was able to secure two medals. She earned a bronze in the 17-20 year old -57kg division and a silver in the Senior -57kg division. A truly amazing result for this 17-year-old who works part-time at Pedro’s Judo Center helping with classes and leading the next generation of students.
Isaac Carmichael scraped and clawed his way to the -73kg division final where he ultimately lost to the #1 ranked athlete in the country in a hard-fought battle. Isaac went 3-1 to end the day with a silver. He has made tremendous strides in the past year and is a promising athlete to keep an eye on.
Saugus native and St. John’s Prep student, Domenico Ternullo was the youngest on the team but still managed to do some damage in the 17-20-year-old -66kg division and the Senior -66kg Division going 2-2 despite being only 15 years old.
Teammates, Nathan Belfer, Amin Bahktiyor, and Antonio Alvarado all currently residing in Wakefield, MA fought incredibly well. Not giving any of their opponents an inch during their matches but ultimately falling short of the podium. Nathan recently moved to Wakefield from New York and a promising up-and-coming athlete while Amin is the current 2023 Junior National Champion and Pan American Team member had arguably one of the tougher draws in the division and finally Antonio who just recently recovered from ACL surgery put together all he could muster and fought well. While they did not earn a medal, they still represented themselves and the team with pride.
Pedro’s Judo Center remote athletes Lenny Sheynfeld (New York) and Iseei Barefoot (Japan) both made the medal rounds of the event ultimately earning themselves Silver and Bronze medals respectively while solidifying their spots as top national competitors.
Head Coach Jimmy Pedro had this to say about the team’s performance:
“The young team from Pedro’s Judo Center/ Team Force had an amazing performance this weekend at the US Senior Nationals in Spokane Washington with 4 finalists. The team has put in a lot of hard work this year and it all paid off this weekend for these youngsters. This bodes well for our future as these kids are all so young and are beating our nation’s best. Coaches Travis Stevens, Tyler Yonemori, and myself could not be prouder of the team. The competition’s success is only the beginning for Pedro’s Judo Center / US National Team FORCE. The team will continue to train and prepare for their next competitions, with their sights set on qualifying for the 2028 Olympic Games. The team aims to build on this success and establish themselves as a top-tier team in the world of Judo.”
The success of Pedro’s Judo Center / US National Team FORCE at the 2023 USA Judo Senior National Championships shows how a young team can achieve great things with hard work and determination. The team’s performance is a testament to the exceptional coaching provided by Pedro’s Judo Center, the team’s dedication, and their commitment to excellence. We are confident that this team has a bright future, and we look forward to watching them achieve even greater success in their future competitions.