By Tamas Mondovics
Three young members of the Florida School of Judo, who trains its students at the Campo Family YMCA, took top honors in their individual divisions at the National Youth and Scholastic Championship held this March in Doral, Florida.
Eleven-year-old Hannah Wagner earned a Gold medal while her sister, Chloe, nine, along with fellow Judo student 15-year-old Sarah Subco, have each won a Silver medal during the event which shined the spotlight on the already well-respected and well-known school, taught by eighth-degree black belt Judo instructor, Professor Ed Maley.
Hannah began training five years ago, while Chloe has been following her sister’s path for the past three years, while Subco’s talent and Judo skills helped her to be ranked first place nationwide in her division last year.
“Winning the medal feels great,” Hannah said, who along with Subco, has her eyes on the Olympics. “I have worked hard and trained hard and feel this is another accomplishment that can get me to the top. That’s where I truly want to be.”
Proud of Maley’s long history with the Tampa YMCA, spokesperson Lalita Llerena commented on what she believes is the reason for the girls’ present and future success.
“Professor Maley is amazing with these young females as he teaches them much more than just technique and skill,” Llerena said. “Positive self-esteem and confidence, among other life values, are all part of the education.”
Maley’s long history of teaching Judo locally includes the opening of the Florida School of Judo in 1959 and is credited to working with thousands of students of all ages not only at his school, but also at various YMCA facilities and recreation centers.
“I would like to have well-adjusted students, who give back to the sport, rather than students who are strictly competitors and only take from you and move on,” Maley said. “I want to see them reach their goals whether is it going to the Olympics or simply bettering themselves by being part of a team and working with others.”
Florida School of Judo students range in numbers of 60-70 training weekly at the Campo YMCA in Valrico.
“All of the credit for our success goes to professor Maley,” Chloe said. “He has taught everyone that has taught me. He is very kind and wants all of us to do our best and have fun and make friends.”
For more information about the Florida school of Judo, please visit www.floridaschoolofjudo.net or call the Campo YMCA at 684-1371.