Pacific Top Team (PTT) are the cream of the crop in Western Canadian Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
The team, which has members throughout the Okanagan Valley, won four trophies in the western Canadian championship. Athletes from PTT Penticton won five gold medals along with five silver and nine bronze at the South Okanagan Events Centre Saturday.
“I thought everyone did good as a whole,” said PTT program co-ordinator Jacob Gardhouse. “My goal is to spread Jiu Jitsu to as many people as I can. The more people I can get involved the better. Competition is a good way to do that. If you do well people tend to notice.”
Featured in the Penticton Western News last week, Mitch Burke earned bronze in no gi beginner middle class weight. It was the first time Burke competed.
“It was definitely a good experience. Not that I thought it was going to be easy, but it was harder than I expected,” said Burke. “A lot of really good, talented, athletic, strong, fast competitors there. I’m happy I pulled off a medal.”
Burke also competed in the gi division but didn’t medal.
“I just feel like where I was weak and they were strong, they were able to capitalize on it,” he said. “The matches I did win, I was capitalizing on their weaknesses. I gave it everything I had.”
Burke said he learned a lot, especially in the matches he lost.
“I’m kind of glad that I lost a bunch of matches. When you lose, your eyes get opened to why did I lose? What do I need to work on?” he said.
“I thought he did really well for his first tournament,” said Gardhouse. “Going into his next few ones I’m hoping he will be even better. Hopefully getting that bronze will definitely add confidence leading up to his fight coming up as well.”
Egzon Emini captured gold in no gi intermediate, silver in the gi blue belt and bronze in no gi intermediate. Emini wrestled in high school for Penticton Secondary School and said that experience helped.
“It gave me that edge and getting the points and taking people down,” said Emini, who was fresh off winning gold at the provincial championships in Abbotsford. “Taking the fight to the ground. All my competitors were tough. They were very skilled.”
“He had a lot of matches all day. He fought his heart out,” said Gardhouse. “He definitely likes to go for it. That guy is a competitor. He likes to have fun and just likes to get in there and have as many matches as he can.”
Like Burke, Rebecca Morrison experienced competing for the first time and was nervous. Morrison, who started training in February, earned the club a bronze medal in gi white belt.
“I felt overall like it was a great learning experience,” said Morrison, who also learned more about her weaknesses and strengths. “I think that was very valuable.”
Other PTT Penticton competitors earning medals were Nicolas Voges, gold in the peewee open gi division. Keagan Ingram, gold in junior male gi. Dustin Little captured gold in the adult male gi white belt and Jeff Beausoleil won gold in the no gi master 1 beginner.
Silver medals were won by Shyla Lee-Doyle in gi white belt, Stephanie Lund in blue belt, Ingram in no gi intermediate and Tayla Ingram in no gi junior female intermediate. Bronze medals were won by David Voges in gi junior male yellow or orange belt, Joshua McGinnis in gi white belt, Beausoleil in gi white belt and Aaron Schindel in gi blue belt and intermediate.
“I was very proud of the whole team,” said Gardhouse.