Manuel Rosenkranz Takes Gold at the Matsumae Cup in Denmark, by Defeating his Menomonee Judo Teammate, Max Antoniou!
After traveling more than 4,000 miles to seek out high level, European competition, Menomonee Judo’s Manuel Rosenkranz and Max Antoniou had to face one another for the Gold Medal, in the Under 18 66kg final at the Matsumae Cup in Vejle, Denmark.
Manny and Max have been training with and competing against, one another since 2010. They’ve fought each other in more than 25 matches and hundreds, upon hundreds of rounds of randori over the last ten years, but never with so much on the line. A player from the United States winning a gold medal at a major European competition is a rare occurrence. Earning that title against one of your teammates makes the accomplishment even more unique.
The Matsumae Cup brings together more than 700 top Judo players from fifteen countries, including a team of more than 30 athletes from Japan. The competition was stiff, but the athletes from Chicago were more than up to the challenge.
The Menomonee Judo contingent included 8 athletes in the Under 18, Under 21 and Sr age categories. Our group also participated in a two day training camp at the conclusion of the Matsumae Cup. At the camp the players did around 40 rounds of randori with players from all over Europe and Japan.
The Gold Medal match was a tense and tight affair throughout, with both players vying for control. As with many of their previous encounters, the match went to golden score (overtime). Behind two penalties and having trouble finding openings, Manny was able to counter one of Max’s attacks for the decisive score. At the conclusion of the match, the players embraced and Max raised Manny hand in a show of tremendous sportsmanship. It was a wonderful moment for Menomonee Judo. One that won’t be forgotten.
While Manny and Max meeting in the final was certainly a special moment, it wasn’t the only highlight for Menomonee Judo in Denmark.
Natalija Stanojevic, Adam Eckardt and Ruben Martin, all had strong showings for the club.
- Natalija won all of her matches by ippon to earn the Gold Medal in the U18 +70kg division. It’s her third International title on foreign soil in the last 15 months (2017 Flanders Cup, 2017 Infantil Pan American Championships). She followed up her performance on Saturday with another solid showing on Sunday, in the U21 division. Competing in her new, 78kg division for the first time, Natalija missed the podium on a little known tiebreaker, finishing in 5th place.
- Adam had one of the most consistent, high level performances of his career. Against some very tough 60kg competition, he placed in both the U18 (5th) and U21 (7th) divisions. The results will give him great confidence moving forward.
- Ruben went 3-2 for the day, finishing 5th in the 28 man, Sr 81kg division. Coming off his participation at the Paris Grand Slam and the accompanying training camp, Ruben will use the momentum from his performance, as he competes this Saturday (February 23rd) at the Düsseldorf Grand Slam.
- Mikey Mutz (90kg), Gabe Wrubel (73kg) and Lorenzo Lopes (81kg) all fought hard and gained vital experience at both the tournament and the training camp that followed. Proving they can be successful against this level of competition.
Success can’t always be measured by medals. The gains that all 8 of our players made during this trip will be on display next month, as they compete at the Youth National Championships in Colorado Springs, vying for Cadet and Junior World Team spots.
Congratulations to all who competed. We’re extremely proud of each and every one of you!
Below is our official roster and results for the Matsumae Cup:
Saturday, February 16th:
1. Manuel Rosenkranz, Cadet 66kg - Gold Medal
2. Natalija Stanojevic, Cadet +70kg - Gold Medal
3. Max Antoniou, Cadet 66kg - Silver Medal
4. Ruben Martin, Sr 81kg - 5th place
5. Adam Eckardt, Cadet 60kg - 5th place
6. Michael Mutz, Sr 90kg
7. Gabe Wrubel, Cadet 73kg
Sunday, February 17th:
1. Natalija Stanojevic, IJF 78kg - 5th place
2. Max Antoniou, IJF Jr 66kg - 7th place
3. Adam Eckardt, IJF Jr 60kg - 7th place
4. Manuel Rosenkranz, IJF Jr 66kg
5. Gabe Wrubel, IJF Jr 73kg
6. Michael Mutz, IJF Jr 90kg
7. Lorenzo Lopes, IJF Jr 81kg