Moreau’s Training Center in Londonderry had a crew of eight of its judo practitioners attend the ninth annual University of New Hampshire Wildcat Invitational Judo Tournament recently and do both themselves and their instructors more than a little proud.
The day full of competition brought forth approximately 30 schools from across the Northeast, with competitors ranging from first-timers to national champions and even Olympic hopefuls.
The Londonderry school’s first competitors of the day were competitive newcomers Sharunas Fritschy and Matt Soucy, who engaged in action in the lightweight division for 5- and 6-year-olds.
Both youngsters performed well, but Soucy was bumped out of medal contention by his teammate Fritschy. And the latter judo athlete bagged his first medal – a bronze – after that.
Next up for Moreau’s were 7- and 8-year-old level competitors Jack Nadeau and Anthony Picarello.
“Both Anthony and Jack had a division filled with active veterans of the sport, and they had to prove their grit,” said their head coach, Tom Moreau.
Picarello wound up claiming a bronze medal, while Nadeau finished just out of medal contention in fourth.
Eight-year-old Sophie Rench showed her mettle by competing in a pair of divisions – the girls’ 7-8 class and the 9-10 division as well – driving her way to some flawless victories and, in the end, walking away with a bronze medallion.
The final junior team competitor from the local school was Tommy Moreau, who did his work in the advanced boys’ 11-12 open weight division. And the younger Moreau battled his way to a silver medal before the day was done.
“Tommy had hard-fought, tactical matches on the day,” said his proud dad and coach. “His only loss was to the gold medal winner.”
Chris Plourde was then the first Moreau’s adult student to compete, which he did in the men’s advanced 178-pound division. Plourde drove his way to a superb, 5-1 day in six matches, losing only to gold medalist Aaron Kumihiro.
And last up for the local training center was coach Tom Moreau, who at 190 pounds found himself giving up anywhere from 20 to 70 pounds to opponents in the men’s advanced open weight category.
Setting a fine example for his students, Moreau drove through the tough ranks of competitors but in the end had to settle for the silver medal behind national champion Aaron Hardy, against whom the local training center instructor faced off several times.