Schroeder wins big to lead Ross team

Brett Schroeder, 11, holds up the NAGA championship belt he won in the expert no gi division at NAGA Nashville on April 6.

Brett Schroeder, 11, holds up the NAGA championship belt he won in the expert no gi division at NAGA Nashville on April 6.

Brett Schroeder, a junior Brazilian Jiu Jitsu student at Ross Martial Arts & Fitness Academy, claimed a little spot in history Saturday, Apr. 6 as he became the first Marengo County resident to win an expert division championship belt at the North American Grappling Association’s 2013 Nashville Championships in Gallatin, Tenn.

“I want to thank all my teammates for pushing me and making me work hard,” said Schroeder. “I couldn’t have done it without great sparring partners.”

Schroeder, who has been training in BJJ for a little more than two years, defeated two opponents to secure the championship in the youth 90-99 pound expert no gi division. He also claimed a second place finish in the gi division.

Daniel Alexander faces off against an opponent during the no gi championship match for the lightweight men's intermediate no gi division at NAGA Nashville.

Daniel Alexander faces off against an opponent during the no gi championship match for the lightweight men’s intermediate no gi division at NAGA Nashville.

NAGA championship belts are only awarded to winners at the highest level of competition in the grappling tournaments. The Nashville event saw more than 800 competitors taking to the mats.

“I cannot begin to express how proud the team is of Brett,” said Jay Russell, co-owner and BJJ instructor at Ross Martial Arts. “This achievement is the culmination of a group effort by members of both the kid’s and adult’s grappling classes as everyone helped him get ready for this competition.”

Russell said that Schroeder spent the past several months taking both the junior and adult/teen jiu jitsu classes and has also been working out twice a week with the academy’s youth fitness program to ensure he is in top shape.

Schroeder’s win topped off a strong performance by the Ross Fight Team as the seven competitors all earned at least one medal each and finished the day with two first places and nine second places.

Other team members who captured wins were: Daniel Alexander, second in intermediate men’s no gi lightweight division; Terrell Johnson, second in novice men’s no gi welterweight; Tony Nicholson, second in novice men’s no gi super heavyweight; Nikki Smith, first in beginner women’s no gi heavyweight division and second in beginner women’s gi heavyweight division; Tristen Fitz-Gerald, second in intermediate teens no gi and gi middleweight divisions; Collin Morgan, second in beginner 80-89 pound boys no gi and second in beginner 80-89 pound boys gi divisions.

“More important than the wins are the learning experiences our team members get from these competitions,” said Russell. “I was very impressed to see some type of improvement from each and every one of our competitors at this event.”

Russell added that Alexander and Johnson faced huge divisions to win their silver medals, while Smith and Fitz-Gerald tapped out some experienced opponents for several of their wins. Nicholson, who weighs in excess of 300 pounds, found out what it is like to be the smaller man in his division as he squared off with grapplers closer to 400 pounds, and Morgan displayed technique and maturity in his matches that went beyond his 9 years.

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

The team at Ross Martial Arts Academy, 1014 Highway 80 East in Demopolis, will spend the two months adding to their physical conditioning, refining techniques, and adding new moves to their arsenals in preparation for their next competition June 15 at NAGA Georgia in Atlanta.