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Nick Delpopolo Wins First National Title
April 15, 2013
Virginia Beach, Virginia The 7th time was the charm for 24 year old Olympian Nick Delpopolo in Virginia Beach today. Delpopolo who fights out of Budokan Judo Club in Miami, FL was competing in his 7th USA Judo Senior Nationals and had piled up four silver medals and two 5th places over the years. The day didn't start out that well for Nick as he had trouble sleeping all night and said he was "tight" all day. "I really wanted to win this one." Delpopolo said "I'm like one of the only people in the world who made their first Olympic Team before they won their first National title." He laughed and continued saying "I didn't sleep well last night, my room was right next to the weigh in room and I heard the door slamming all night and I honestly got about 45 minutes of sleep. I just had a gut check with myself this morning and was like, No excuses, I'm winning today. It might not be pretty but I'm not walking out of here without the gold."
Delpopolo did just that going 4-0 on the day to capture his first national crown. Among Nick's victories were a quick ippon over #1 Junior Everet Desilets (RI) in the quarter final. Nick also defeated Lincoln Han (CA) and Adam Moyerman (PA) to set up a gold medal match with Joseph Hashimoto who competes out of the Olympic Training Center in Colorado. Delpopolo countered an attack by Hashimoto for the match ending ippon at about the half way mark of their 5 minute bout.
Nick summed up his thoughts on the day by saying "I want to thank Evelio Garcia and Jesus Gallo who are my Judo and physical training coaches. These guys have really helped me return to focus and get in the best shape of my life over the past 8 months." Nick continued saying "Evelio wasn't able to be here today as he is coming with me to the Pan American Championships in Costa Rica next week and we asked the Ki Itsu Sai National Training Center coaches German Velazco and Jhonny Prado to coach me in his absence. I work with these two a few times a week and feel very comfortable under their guidance. They did a great job as well and I want to thank them for helping me to victory today."
Next up for Nick will be the Pan American Championships in Costa Rica. Nick is currently ranked #16 in the world and a good performance at the Pan Ams can launch him into the top 10.