The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M judo is ready for nationals

On+March+12%2C+the+team+will+host+the+National+Collegiate+Judo+Association+Championships+at+the+PEAP+building+on+West+Campus.
Photo by Photo by Madeline Koiner

On March 12, the team will host the National Collegiate Judo Association Championships at the PEAP building on West Campus.

Texas A&M is hosting the National Collegiate Judo Association Championships on Saturday, March 12 in the Physical Education Activity Program building on West Campus.
Since spring of 2020, Texas A&M judo has been unable to compete or practice due to COVID-19. This season, the team and individuals have competed at smaller events and regionals, leading up to nationals, when they will compete against colleges from all over the country. Attendees can park in lots 95 and 100 for the free event. A YouTube livestream is being planned and all age groups can attend, but only full-time college students can compete, Daniel Gomez, one of A&M’s judo coaches, said.
There are individual awards in each weight category, in the novice and senior categories, Gomez explained. As a team, each school accumulates points based on individual matches and goes to team points, he said.
“If you are into watching judo or martial arts, support the judo team,” Gomez said.
The biggest challenge this year has been other teams not attending competitions, Gomez said, as other schools have not been able to practice and may not be ready.
Isabella Garriga, a black belt on the A&M judo team, said she started competing when she was four years old. She joined the A&M judo team as soon as she was accepted in 2020 on a judo scholarship. According to the official A&M judo team website, anyone can donate to the three scholarships given out.
“This school is one of the best judo programs,” Garriga said.
Garriga is currently No. 1 for IJF -70 kilograms division and third for senior women -70 kilograms division. Competing in China for the World University Games is the goal, Garriga said.
“My big competition was in Italy for junior worlds in October,” Garriga said. “I went to Colombia, [Calif.], for the Junior Pan American Championships in August.”
In the beginning of the 2021 spring semester, there were a lot of restrictions from COVID-19, Garriga said, but now the competitions are back to normal.
“This is a chance to see something new,” Garriga said. “It might change perspective since it’s not very popular [in the U.S.].”
On the team, Garriga said she has made friends, but has also grown as an athlete. Whether inexperienced or experienced, she said she expects everyone at the competition will do well.
Om Waghela, a novice on the A&M judo team, said he found judo at A&M after searching for a place to practice when he moved to the U.S. from India. As a beginner, he said he is excited to compete at his first nationals and looks forward to having fun and learning from the experience.
“I’m hoping to get a couple wins from matches,” Waghela said.
Having gotten to know his teammates better after practicing and traveling to competitions, Waghela said their advice motivates him.
“We have a lot of good players that have done this for a long time,” Waghela said. “Everyone has a good chance to win a medal.”
Having people attend is important for the sport to grow, and Waghela advised newcomers to be open-minded when watching the games.
“Look with the point of view you would with football,” Waghela said.

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  • On March 12, the team will host the National Collegiate Judo Association Championships at the PEAP building on West Campus.

    Photo by Photo by Madeline Koiner
  • The Texas A&M Judo team competed in the Feb. 12 National Collegiate Judo Association Southwest Regional Championship. On March 12, the team will host Nationals at home at the PEAP building on West Campus.

    Photo by Photo by Madeline Koiner
  • The Texas A&M Judo team competed in the Feb. 12 National Collegiate Judo Association Southwest Regional Championship. On March 12, the team will host Nationals at home at the PEAP building on West Campus.

    Photo by Photo by Madeline Koiner
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