Chargers sweep league, Wilson Cup and state titles for the second straight year
Most coaches in any sport would be delighted to go out with any kind of a championship.
Kentridge High judo coach Philip Davis is going out with a triple crown – two of them, to be precise.
The Chargers wrapped up an impressive parting gift for their coach last weekend when they captured the state title in their own gym. And for the second consecutive year, that gave them a sweep of judo’s three crown jewels: the Puget Sound Judo League championship, the George Wilson Challenge Cup, and the state championship.
“It felt real good to go out like that – they only remember the last best thing you did,” Davis said with a laugh.
“I wasn’t surprised (at the results). We had a very strong cohort of kids coming in,” he said. “There are always the unknowns, the variables that may change. But I was pretty sure we could take state again because we had a strong lineup.”
Taking state has become a pleasant habit at Kentridge. This title was the seventh in a row and eighth in the last 11 years for the powerful program. The Wilson Cup, which symbolizes supremacy among the four Kent District high schools, was KR’s second straight.
“I’m glad we got it again. There have only been two (triple crowns) in the history of Kent judo, and we have them both,” said senior Matthew Campos, one of Kentridge’s four state gold medalists. “We made history by getting it last year, and made history again by getting it twice.”
Added senior captain Quinton Beedle, “That was something we wanted to do again. We were planning for it the entire season.”
The Chargers not only extended their string of state titles, they claimed this one in record-setting fashion. Kentridge racked up 101 points, eclipsing by one the old record of 100 set by Kentwood in 1997.
The power of 10
Kentridge competitors garnered 10 medals: four gold (Amy Say, Edward Kuo, Beedle and Campos), three silver (Samantha Dang, Alazim Lao and Matthew Degrate) and three bronze (Angie Hong, Kathleen Shuster and Vincent Lee).
The Chargers went 8-1 in Puget Sound Judo League matches, then scored victories against all three of their Kent rivals in the Wilson Cup, including 85-37 against Kentwood in the final after both teams won their first two matches.
“That was a nail-biter,” Davis said. “Kentwood came over with all guns blazing.”
Added Beedle, “We were expecting that. But I had full confidence in our team.”
Kentwood had the edge in the girls portion of the match, winning five of the seven bouts. But Kentridge dominated on the boys side, winning seven out of eight.
Davis cited Beedle, Campos and Degrate for their season-long steady performances. But he spoke just as enthusiastically about three first-year competitors: junior Joseph Cordell, sophomore state silver medalist Dang and freshman state champion Kuo.
Beedle, who is on the verge of earning his black belt, said some of the new girls in particular were key.
“We had a lot of people who were veterans quit the team, so we had a lot of positions to fill,” Beedle said. “They grew quickly, and they were very important.”
Golden glow for K-M, KW
Kentwood and Kent-Meridian also crowned individual state champions last weekend.
Raqia of Kent-Meridian won the women’s 44-kilogram division, and Royals teammate Vivian Vu took the 57 kg crown.
Kentwood had five winners, all on the girls side: Mikaela Cekalski at 48 kg, Asha Louie at 52 kg, Katie Burton at 63 kg, Tess Pinkney at 78 kg and Katie Stillings at 78-plus kg.