Monday, November 30, 2015
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The Matrix National Team: (Bottom L-R) Andrew Bowron, Mia Willyerd, Keegan Luton, Tate Picklo, Lauren Davidson, Trinity Picklo, John Wiley, Zack Maguire. (Top L-R) Sensei Brian Picklo, Cameron Picklo, James Maguire, Nathan Morse, Will Wiley, Randie Scoon, Jaycee Willingham, Elora Jones, Sensei Trent Smith

By Trey Hunter
Mustang Times
Staff Writer

Matrix Grappling finished fifth as a team and produced five first place medalists at the 2014 USA Judo Junior Olympics National and International Championships in Irving, Tex. on June 26-29. 

Trinity Picklo, Keegan Luton and Lauren Davidson each placed first in the National Division. Picklo, Davidon, Tate Picklo and John Wiley each placed first in the International Division as well. The team also had five second place medalists and six third place medalists at the event.

Zack Maguire and Tate Picklo took home second in the National Division while Andrew Bowron, Luton and Cameron Picklo took second in the International Division. Mia Willyerd, John Wiley and James Maguire placed third in the National Division and Willyerd, Jaycee Willingham, Randie Scooon and Will Wiley each placed third in the International Division.

“The team did fantastic,” Sensei, Brian Picklo said. “We had more medalists than ever. It’s a true national tournament. It gave the kids a chance to test themselves and give them a chance to prove to themselves and walk away as one of the best.

Coming from a small town like Mustang really makes the success that much more rewarding. Most of the kids in the event come from big cities and go up against stiffer competition. To go in there and get so many medals really speaks to how hard the kids have worked.”

Events like the Judo Junior Olympics, allows the Matrix athletes to attain points in order to compete in the Junior Pan-America Games in Puerto Rico. Each athlete placed at the top of their divisions will qualify for the tournament. Currently, Matrix has two athletes sitting in first: Trinity Picklo and Lauren Davidson.

“Judo is one of those sports where you have to earn your way into the championships, Brian Picklo said. “If you’re not a national champion you’re not going to be an international champion. I’m extremely proud of Trinity (Picklo) and Lauren (Davidson). They work really hard and hopefully they can stay in first and make that trip to Puerto Rico.”

Picklo also explained that the Matrix team added 25 extra hours of training throughout the six weeks leading up to the Judo Junior Olympics. They worked on their ground-game, throwing, watched extra film and focused on placing and getting on the same page.

“We train like a team and fight like a family,” he said. “Our kids are so tight together. We started with just my kids (Trinity, Tate and Cameron) and the team has grown pretty much through word of mouth. We really have something growing here in our small town.”

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