Liam "Fearless" Fitzgerald
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On the weekend of August 7 & 8th, 2004 the North American Grappling Association (NAGA) hosted the 5th Annual BATTLE AT THE BEACH Grappling Championship in Wildwood, NJ. The event featured 160 Gi & No-Gi divisions of Kids, Teens and Adult competition along with 6 Expert Divisions for $3,000 in cash prizes sponsored by the NAGA.
The event started at 10:30 AM and ended at 4:30 PM each day! This was the best run NAGA event ever considering we went through 500 Competitors EACH DAY fighting multiple divisions.
1ST CLASS EVENT:
We have never received so many positive emails and phone calls about one of our events. The NAGA definitely stepped up a level and produced the BEST GRAPPLING EVENT IN OUR 9 YEAR HISTORY.
Moving the Kids & Teens to Sunday - Helped to balance out the event, both days the event ended a 4:30 PM so fighters and their fans could enjoy the beach or travel back home at a reasonable hour.
Tremendous Venue – The Wildwood Convention Center was a beautiful, enormous, air-conditioned venue right on the water.
Fencing around the mats – Steel fencing around the rings provided relief to the staff running those rings but more importantly gave everyone watching the event a full view of the matches.
Awesome Medals - The NAGA handed out custom engraved “Olympic Style” dedals which got great reviews!
Remove submissions for the beginner kids – Was a HUGE success! Beginner Children Gi & No-Gi Division Points were still awarded for Take Downs, Guard Passes, Sweeps and Positioning. This definitely helped ease the nervousness that accompanies competition for the 1st time, for the kids & their parents.
EXPERT DIVISION RESULTS:
150 LBS. & UNDER NO-GI EXPERT CLASS
WINNER = Renato Tavares – American Top Team
175 LBS. NO-GI EXPERT CLASS
WINNER = Luke Rinehart – Team Clinch
200 LBS & UNDER NO-GI EXPERT CLASS
WINNER = Moacir Oliveriera - American Top Team
OVER 200 LBS. NO-GI EXPERT CLASS
WINNER = Petrus Walker - American Top Team
UNDER 175 LBS.GI EXPERT CLASS
WINNER = Shawn Williams - Renzo Gracie
OVER 175 GI EXPERT CLASS
WINNER = Keigo Kunihara - American Top Team
WHERE THEY CAME FROM:
Team Renzo Gracie Ottawa Canada (10 hour drive):
Coach Pat Colligan brought down 6 team members including Ray Rice, Nick Castiglia, Eric Veysey, Matthew Hache, Rima Haddad and Chris Gifford.
Club Kozak from Montreal, Quebec drove 12 hours – We lost count of how many hours it actually took. Eugene Shewchuk took 2nd in the Masters LHW, David Polis told us “We had a great time, definitely worth the trip”.
Jared Barolli from Team Renzo Gracie came down from North Haven, CT to compete in the Teens division.
Travis Trayer (South Side Dojo) traveled 12 hours from Kalamazoo, MI to compete in his 1st NAGA event.
Kris Kim & Erich Miller (One Spirit MA/Pedro Sauer) drove 7 hours from Richmond, VA. They slept in their car two nights at a service station eating baby food. Tied for 1st in the No-Gi Advanced Division.
Some others from Pedro Saure’s academy included Klint Radwani, Gary Johnson coached by Dexter Gould.
NESF – Pat Barnes, Mike Bishop & Charles Bishop drove 7 hours from Amherst MA to compete. Didn’t have a hotel Kipp let us crash in his hotel living room – great time.
TJ O’Donnell form Team MSA traveled form Lowell, MA (10 hours) and took 2nd place in the Men’s Advanced Heavy Weight.
Mike Mitrowski, also from Team Elite “I was able to arrange my business trip to end up in South Jersey on Friday. The surf was great because of the hurricane and I was able to rent a surfboard, besides grappling, I had a great time! This event was memorable because a couple of dolphin popped up about 30 feet away from me. Mike also placed 1st in the men’s masters heavy weight – Great event, look forward to next year!
Joe Modica – Team Rodrigo Vaghi – St. Louis, MO. Took 3 hour plane ride to get hear. Took 3rd Place in Men’s Adv No-Gi – Love NAGA events!
Thomas Giove – South Shore Sportfighting Whitman, MA – Drove 8 hours says “It was worth it”! Great tournament. Took 1st in the Beginner Feather Weight.
Gabriel Corti from Team Road House 1st time competing in NAGA – Very enjoyable time – Loved the Novice (6 month & under Division) for new grapplers like himself.
The Clinch Academy drove 6 hours from Fredrick, MD. Erin Comstock, Jesse Crumpton, Lance Trussell, Doug McGiffin, Sergey Shiov, Samantha F., Christopher Hines all took home medals. Even the Chief Instructor Luke Rinehart fought taking home $500.00 Cash prize for the Men’s Expert No-Gi Under 175 lb title!