Colorado State University-Pueblo junior Kathleen Sell returned from the 2009 Collegiate National Judo Championships in California with the top prize in her weight class (70g) and currently is the top ranked athlete in the nation. This was her second straight collegiate title, as she also placed first in 2008 and second in the 2007 collegiate championships while competing for the University of Texas-Brownsville.
A Wisconsin native, Sell is an exercise science major and part of the Judo National Development Program at the Olympic Training Center. Judo became an Olympic Sport at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964. It is a system of self-defense, a physical and mental discipline that is hailed as one of the best sports for boys and girls because it develops self-confidence and skills that are transferable to all other sports.
Sell was a 2008 U.S. Olympic alternate in the weight class that featured bronze medalist Ronda Rousey, who became the first American female judoka ever to win an Olympic medal. She continues to traverse the globe in hopes of qualifying for the 2012 Olympics, which are scheduled for London, England. At the recent NCJA Collegiate National Judo Championships at San Jose State University, Sell, a current U.S. Olympic Team Alternate, won the 70kg division after defeating Amy Haurilak-Stuck from the University of Tennessee.
Over Spring Break, Sell won the 70kg division at the Midwestern Championships in Waukegan, Ill. , and then traveled to the 2009 Pan American Championships, a USA Judo Senior B Level Tournament and a Olympic qualifying tournament, March 26-29 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. While she did not place in her division, the USA women’s team took third place in the team competition.
Sell admits that it has been difficult to juggle the demands of the sport and her school work, but she has no regrets.
“I don't have a lot of free time on my hands, but it is worth the sacrifice. I might not have much of a social life but I get to travel all over the country and the world,” Sell said. “I have gotten to experience so many things that many people my age haven't.”
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