Ross Martial Arts team captures Atlanta Grappling Gold

Brothers Jay (center in black) and Cameron Bell (on right in camo) won first and second place in the novice boys gi division.

Brothers Jay (center in black) and Cameron Bell (on right in camo) won first and second place in the novice boys gi division.

Ross Martial Arts & Fitness Academy’s fight team took a strong start to the 2013 competition season on Saturday, Feb. 9 as 11 local grapplers captured 11 championship titles at the North American Grappling Association’s Atlanta Championships in Riverdale, Ga.

“Our final tally for the day was 11 first places, 12 second places, and one third place finish,” said Jay Russell, co-owner and instructor at Ross MA. “We had competitors as young as 7-years old and as mature as 41-years old, and they all fought hard.”

Russell said tournament officials informed him that this was one of the biggest turnouts the organization has experienced in Atlanta, with approximately one thousand grapplers on the mats from all over the U.S.

“This was some of the toughest competition we have ever faced in our three years of going to NAGA events, but our team really rose to the occasion,” Russell added.

Pictured are Ross Martial Arts team members who competed at the 2013 NAGA Atlanta Championships (left to right): First row - Ronda Russell, Brett Schroeder, Jay Bell, Cameron Bell, Collin Morgan; Back row - Tony Nicholson, Jay Russell, Jackson Morrison, Tristen Fitz-Gerald, Hunter Compton, Terrell Johnson, and Lane Hawkins. Not pictured is Nikki Smith.

Pictured are Ross Martial Arts team members who competed at the 2013 NAGA Atlanta Championships (left to right): First row – Ronda Russell, Brett Schroeder, Jay Bell, Cameron Bell, Collin Morgan; Back row – Tony Nicholson, Jay Russell, Jackson Morrison, Tristen Fitz-Gerald, Hunter Compton, Terrell Johnson, and Lane Hawkins. Not pictured is Nikki Smith.

The tournament also marked the second year that Demopolis High football players have joined the fight team in competition as two of the competitors, Lane Hawkins and Tony Nicholson, were among the medal winners.

Russell said that, due to a critical injury this past summer, Nicholson had to have the lower portion of his left leg amputated and was not able to play during the 2012 season. He added that competing in grappling matches has provided the young man with a challenge that meets his competitive spirit.

Ross Fight Team members who captured wins were: Jay Russell, second in expert director men’s lightweight no gi; Nikki Smith, first in beginner women’s gi heavyweight division and second in beginner women’s no gi heavyweight division; Nicholson, second in men’s super heavyweight gi and no gi; Hawkins, first in 16-17 teens novice super heavyweight gi and no gi as well as second in beginner gi; Tristen Fitz-Gerald, second in 16-17 teens beginner no gi and gi welterweight division; Jackson Morrison, first in 14-15 teens beginner gi and intermediate gi as well as second in no gi; Hunter Compton, second in 14-15 teens novice gi and no gi heavyweight; Brett Schroeder, first in intermediate boys 90-99 pound gi and no gi; Collin Morgan, first in beginner boys 70-79 pound gi and first in beginner boys 80-89 pound gi as well as third in no gi; Jay Bell, first in novice 50-59 pound boys no gi and gi; and Cameron Bell, second in novice 50-59 pound boys gi and no gi divisions.

“Every single member of the team performed spectacularly, from competing to helping coach their teammates,” added Russell. “I’m also thankful for the parents who helped out as well as our local sponsors who defrayed some of the registration costs.”

Collin Morgan (in red) sinks in a kimura shoulder lock to win the beginner boys no gi championship.

Collin Morgan (in red) sinks in a kimura shoulder lock to win the beginner boys no gi championship.

The Ross Fight Team is sponsored by Fitz-Gerald Clinic, Chu Clinic, Demopolis MedCenter, Holiday Cleaners/Batter Up Sports Bar & Grill, Southern Pipe, and Vowell’s Fresh Market.

The team at Ross Martial Arts Academy, 1014 Highway 80 East in Demopolis, will spend the next month adding to their physical conditioning, refining techniques, and adding new moves to their arsenals in preparation for their next competition Apr. 6 at NAGA Tennessee in Nashville.