Local Women Bring Home Jiu-Jitsu Medals - myfoxcarolinas.com

Local Women Bring Home Jiu-Jitsu Medals

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The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation held their New York Spring Open this weekend -- and athletes from Union County made their presence felt.

Joanna Alley took home a gold medal in her adult, female white belt division and Kelly McCann added a bronze medal in the same division, but separate weight class.

Brittany Presson competed and lost to the eventual gold winner of her division by points -- never tapping out.

Jiu-jitsu is far from a male-centric sport for these girls.

"It's really important for women to stick together," McCann said. "...We trained for nine weeks, trained hard. We're in here for six-days a week training and really went up there to represent -- and came back with some medals."

Their instructor, Kris Sparks, who runs the facility where they train, was impressed. This was the first international competition for all of the girls.

"We got to see the highest level of competition in New York and they really performed at a great level," Sparks said. "Just to go to a competition like that takes a lot."

Just the experience of going is something the girls say they'll always remember -- and the medals will make sure of it.

Leaving the competition, they didn't even want to take them off.

"Well first off we wanted to wear them to Time Square and we got a big 'No' on that," Alley said. "So we put them on in the morning when we went to the airport. We're outside the airport, going here, were singing the Rocky theme song running through the airport -- wore 'em on the plan, got a couple congratulations on the plane -- wore 'em on home."


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