It didn’t matter if they were raw rookies or seasoned vets of Brazilian jiu jitsu, Sherwood Park athletes definitely made an impact during a major tournament in Las Vegas earlier this year.
Under the leadership of Pedro Lott, Sherwood Park’s Frontline Academy sent a healthy contingent of 30 competitors to compete in several divisions at the Las Vegas Convention Center, eager to test their mettle against athletes from across the globe in four days of competition.
Leading off the fight card was the 2019 International Masters Novice tournament, for those just getting into the game.
“While new to the sport of Brazilian jiu jitsu, they are no less ferocious in their athletic ability and drive for victory,” stated a Frontline release. “While all the competitors fought hard, some notable standouts were Sherwood Park’s own Keela Coss, who impressively did not have a single point scored on her during her dominant run to the top of the podium. Paul MacMillan also had a solid performance, besting all competitors in his division to take home a gold medal as well. Chris Portas and Mohamed Kabalan were as game as any athlete on the mats each bringing home bronze medals in their respective divisions.”
The Sherwood success of the new recruits probably inspired some of the old hands to step up their game as well.
“The IBJJF World Masters demonstrated what years of dedication can lead to,” the release continued. “Mike Kent, a formidable former mixed martial artist and savvy brown belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu, brought his ‘A’ game to Las Vegas. In front of his teammates and his loving wife Janette, this gladiator in a gi charged to the top of his division despite giving up over 30 lbs of weight advantage to the majority of his opponents. Another top standout for this homegrown stable of fighters was Sky Stettner. After having been promoted to purple belt only last year at the same event, the relatively newly-minted Sky ground out hard-fought victories, losing only in his semi-final match to take home a respectable bronze. Undaunted, Sky went on to compete in an open weight class event losing a hotly debated match where a Hail Mary submission put his opponent to sleep as the buzzer went off.”
Among those who made the journey to Vegas were a gathering of young adults looking to take home the top prizes of the Las Vegas International Open IBJJF Championship.
“A young female prospect, Chayse Diekema, made the bold decision that competing in one division in a day was not enough,” the release added. “Having enrolled in both the gi and no-gi division, this young warrior would have to battle through two brackets of the toughest blue belts in the world. Chayse, as it turns out was more than up to the challenge taking home top honours in the gi division and a silver in the no-gi division. The truly exciting part of both gold medal matches is they pitted Chayse against the same up and comer, Scout Bosshard of Switzerland. Splitting these gold medal matches may just be the opening exchange to lengthy rivalry. Rounding out the medalists for this contest were Oscar Gamelin with a silver medal in no-gi and Kody Gaumond with a bronze medal in the gi division.
“The adults were not the only ones putting their skills on display. Kids are the future and this stands true for Brazilian jiu jitsu. Several young competitors made the trip and three took home medals in the kid’s division. Ayden Sagert made an impressive showing, dropping the gold medal match to take home silver while Robby Mills and Larson Hoglund each took home bronze medals in their respective weight classes.”
Even instructor Pedro Lott got into the action, getting back into completion after a lengthy absence.
“Top tier athletes require top tier leadership and there is no better embodiment of this than Pedro Lott,” the release concluded. “Owner and head coach Pedro took to the mats after a seven-year hiatus. With his team cheering from the sidelines, Pedro won his first two matches with the same nose to the grindstone attitude that he instills every day in the gym. While a loss in the semi-finals to the UFC veteran Evan Dunham kept him off the podium, this coach, leader and friend was as gracious in his defeat as he was his victories. If his humility wasn’t inspiration enough once he was eliminated from his bracket, he was right back on the line coaching his athletes.”
The final Vegas line for Frontline was an impressive haul of 13 medals.