This past weekend the students of Ivey League MMA produced some of the best results we’ve ever had in an open field competition. To say we were proud of what took place would be a massive understatement that’s for sure.
The competition I’m talking about was the Pennsylvania NAGA Grappling Championships. This is one of the better events held on the east coast and always features the best MMA/BJJ academies.
We sent a good sized team up to PA with many of them coming back with 1st place honors. And this time around, it ended up being the adult students who stole the show.
Don’t get me wrong, the kids were awesome too but we’re used to seeing that from them. With the adults, just getting them to compete is tough. Not this time however.
Perhaps seeing the kids tournament team do so well in the past has inspired the adult team. Either way I’m happy as heck with how the day played out, both for the kids and adults.
Below you can find a list of who competed and where they placed. 1st place students are in bold.
- Mark Saunders – 1st Place
- Thor Davis – 1st Place
- Drew Lubienski – 1st Place
- Juji Miller – 1st Place
- Eli “Hawk” Natale – 1st Place
- Lania “CraCra” Nick – 1st Place
- Proto Miller – 1st Place
- Mouth Garlington – 1st Place
- Sean Garlington – 1st Place
- Magnus Benz – 1st Place
- Emily Hollister – 2nd Place
- Olivia Costello – 2nd Place
- Bryce Payne – 2nd Place
- Cutter Gardner – 2nd Place
- Logan Gatling – 2nd Place
- CC Fowler – 2nd Place
- CJ Monger – 2nd Place
- WikiFish Avila – 2nd Place
- Robbie Ballinger – 2nd Place
- Patrick Ellis – 2nd Place
- Anthony Barrett – 3rd Place
- Austin Hartman – 3rd Place
- Neal O’Shea – 3rd Place
- Michael O’Shea – 3rd Place
- Phil Higgins – 4th Place
As you can see from the results above, tons of students came out to test their stuff. Below are some write ups I did for a few of the students that really shined in PA.
If I didn’t do a write up for you please understand that I’d love to but I don’t have that much time.
Anyone that knows Mark knows how intense he can be. Anything he pursues will be done with the very highest levels of intensity. By that I mean something as simple as folding a shirt is an intense activity to Mark.
So it’s no surprise that Saturday’s competition brought out the bull in china shop. The end result was a few souls taken and a 1st place medal in Mark’s hands. Oh and we might have even seen smile from Mark (It was a half smile but we’ll take that)!
Young Eli, or better known around here as “Hawk”, was super impressive. He showed skills that go far beyond the time he’s been training. He used many of the skills that we stress in the Little Ninjas Program including snap, snap, shoot and the bullfight guard pass.
If the PA NAGA was any kind of indication for the future then we should all sit back and enjoy the show cause Hawk’s just getting started…
Jacob “Juji” Miller
It’s been too long since we’ve seen this BJJ Yellow Belt and former Pan Kids Champion on top of the podium. Well, the wait’s over and 11 year old Juji made it back to his favorite place to be… FIRST.
It wasn’t an easy road to first place as anyone watching would tell you. Juji battled some of the best kids on the east coast and earned top honors using a variety of techniques.
Everything from wrestling takedowns to turtle guard to funky skinny kid scrambles were on display. It was a real treat to watch. Juji proved that if you work hard enough in the training room and stay persistent you’ll get to the promise land.
Longtime student and local chess master Big Drew Lubienski also made out well in PA. Aside from having very good overall fundamental skills Big Drew also has the ability to make himself feel like 500 pounds when he gets on top.
Drew made good use of his top pressure to all but smother his opponents into submission, pretty much the same thing he does to folks here at IL. **watch one of his matches below
After watching him compete we were shocked to find out this was the first and only grappling tournament he’s ever done! Well that might be true but he sure didn’t make it look that way. Congrats Drew on a job well done.
So when it was all said and done the Ivey League students did as proud. I know some students weren’t pleased with placing anything below first, and we can understand that. Your time is coming, trust me.
Keep training hard, taking notes, asking questions and stay on the right track. It won’t be long before those 2nd and 3rd place medals turn into nothing but 1st place. Remember to always believe in yourself.