Taryn Montgomery has felt she has made some big strides forward in her judo career this year.
© submitted photo
Taryn Montgomery poses with her Judo Sask Most Improved Female Athlete award and her Female under-18 nomination award.
She isn't the only one.
The Moose Jaw judo competitor was named Judo Sask's Most Improved Female athlete of the year at their recent award night.
"It definitely shows all of the hard work I've put in within the last year," said Montgomery. "It feels nice to be recognized by the coaches and know that I'm not the only one seeing my improvements and that other people are starting to recognize them as well."
Montgomery was also nominated for Judo Saskatchewan's Female Under-18 Athlete of the Year along with Tallissa Edwards from the Moose Jaw Koseikan Club and Brette Poliakiwski.
Montgomery began training with Regina YMCA club this year.
"It was weird at first, but Regina welcomed me with open arms and they I definitely have to thank them for all of my improvements this year," she said. "It's been a really good change from last season to this season."
While she has been happy at her new home, she also appreciates her roots at Moose Jaw's Koseikan Club.
"I leave Moose Jaw with no hard feelings," she said. "I'm very thankful for all of the things that the coaches have done for me there to get me to where I am today. They will always be my first coaches and I'm always going to appreciate everything they've done.
"Going to Regina, it's nice to have a taller coach. I'm a taller fighter and he knows what kinds of throws I need to have."
Montgomery won the under-18 female under-63 kg provincial title in Saskatoon at the start of April.
That was even more impressive when you consider that Montgomery is an under-57 kg fighter and that the under-63 class had some under-70 competitors as well.
"I fought in a different weight division trying to get points for the Canada Games this year," said Montgomery. "Those girls were a lot heavier than I am. Moving up was a bigger challenge, but it definitely paid off.
"It was nice to have different people to fight."
Montgomery is preparing to head to the National Championships in Saguenay, Qué. from May 15-18.
She will also attend the Judo Junior Olympic national championships in Irving, Texas in June and then the U.S. Open in Florida in July.
The Junior Olympics are expected to have 1,100 competitors.
"There's going to be a lot of talented athletes in one place, there's going to be some really good judo to watch," said Montgomery.
The Judo Sask Awards were held in conjunction with the Prince Albert Kenshukan Judo Club's tournament.
Montgomery won the under-18 female combined weight class.
Moose Jaw's Damien Wiens won the under-14 male under-38 kg , while Justin Wiens was second.
Justin Wiens also competed in the under-12 under-34.8 kg class. The under-12s and under-10s gave gold medals to all of the competitors.