Carrie Chandler Article in news

Article on Carrie Chandler:
Chandler again is national champion
By Howard Herman
Berkshire Eagle Staff

A national championship now under her belt, Carrie Chandler is going to try and make the U.S. Olympic judo team.

Chandler, 22, a Dalton native, won the USA Judo Senior National Championship title at 57 kilograms, or 125 pounds, this past weekend. It marked her second national title, having won one also in 2001.

"It's never easy to win a national title," Chandler told The Eagle last night, but she quickly added that this wasn't her toughest tournament.

The reason? USA Judo's No. 1 athlete in her weight class, Ellen Wilson of Colorado Springs, Colo., didn't compete in the tournament which was held in San Diego. There were more than 800 athletes competing.

"She declined to fight," said Chandler, explaining that as the No. 1 seed, Wilson was allowed to do that. "I was hoping she would fight."

Chandler, who competes with the Jason Morris Judo Club in the Albany, N.Y., area, won her second 57-kilogram championship in the event. She won all her matches by ippon, beating third-seed Katherine Ensler in the final. For the record, an ippon is when a judo competitor throws an opponent on his or her back and scores a full point.

"It was the fourth time we fought," said Chandler, who beat Ensler in the previous three meetings. "It actually gave me a confidence boost."

That's because Valerie Gotay, who is ranked third, lost to Ensler in the semifinals. Ensler's finish earned her a fourth seed in the Olympic Trials.

Chandler seeded No. 2

With her performance, Chandler has earned the second seed at the U.S. Olympic Trials, to be held June 5 in San Jose, Calif. This marked the fourth consecutive year that Chandler has made the final.

Nate Torra of Clarksburg,

Nate Torra of Clarksburg, meanwhile, went 4-1 at 66 kilograms (145 pounds) to win a silver medal. Torra's loss came to Taylor Takata, who beat the Berkshire native in overtime.

Torra earned the third seed in his weight class at the trials.

The Olympic Trials will be held on June 5, at the San Jose State Events Center in California.

The top five judo players in Chandler's and Torra's weight classes have been invited to the Olympic Trials. When the dust clears from this five-person competition, only one at each weight class will go to Athens.

Wilson has the top seed, followed by Chandler, Gotay, Ensler and Crystal Ransom. In Torra's weight class, Alex Ottiano is the top seed, followed by Justin Flores, Torra, John Matsuoka and Takata, who beat Torra in the final over the weekend.

In the trials, the top seed earns a first-round bye. The second and third seeds fight each other, while the fourth and fifth seeds also do battle.

The winner of the 4-5 match will meet the top seed. If the top seed wins, he or she fights for the right to go to Athens. If the top seed loses to the winner of the 2-3, then there is a best 2-of-3 competition between those two. If Chandler or Torra are to go to Athens, they'll have to win four bouts.