Texas A&M Judo Wins First National Collegiate Team Championship
For the first time in the club’s 60-year history, Texas A&M Judo claimed a national collegiate team championship this month — and took home the top honors on its home turf.
At the National Collegiate Judo Association’s 2022 Championships, held March 12 at Texas A&M University’s Physical Education Activity Program Building, the Aggie men beat out the competition to claim first place and the title of team champions. The men’s novice team also took first, while the women’s novice & senior team grabbed a second place spot. Texas A&M sophomores Isabella Garriga and Dario Maaskant were named 2022 NCJA Female and Male Athletes of the Year, while Aggie Judo coaches Bob Perez and Dan Gomez jointly received NCJA’s Coach of the Year award.
“I’m very proud of the current athletes, whose hard work was reflected in the overall performance,” Perez said. “I’m also thankful to have Dan Gomez coaching with me. He’s one of the best technicians I’ve ever had the privilege to work with and this contributes to the development of the athletes. Finally, I also would like to recognize our former students who continue to support Texas A&M Judo.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this month’s competition was the first chance most Aggie Judo athletes had to compete in an NCJA championship. Gomez said it was an excellent opportunity for the students to test their skills against a wide variety of opponents.
“I’m extremely proud of our team this year,” he said. “This was a great experience to show how we compare to the rest of the other colleges.”
In addition to her Athlete of the Year award, Garriga also earned a spot in the upcoming World University Games in Chengdu, China. She said she is honored to represent the U.S. on the world stage, and she is pleased with her team’s overall success.
“The whole day from start to finish was an absolute blessing,” Garriga said. “I am so happy and honored to be part of the Texas A&M Judo Team.”
Maaskant, who serves as team president, said Aggie Judo’s impressive performance at the NCJA Championships serves to showcase the tremendous progress the team has made.
“The A&M competitors, especially the newer members, have progressed so much in a short amount of time and I cannot be more proud of them,” Maaskant said. “I believe that the team’s success at this tournament reiterates that, under the excellent coaching of Dan Gomez and Bob Perez, the Texas A&M Judo Team is one of the most successful university judo programs in the United States.”