COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M is known for its championship-winning teams.
Another team to make that list is Aggie Judo - Coach Bob Perez spoke about the team’s first historic win.
“To have Texas A&M ranked as a top team in the U.S. it is a great feeling to have," said Coach Perez. "Every coach and athlete aims for their team to finish number one.”
Brette Poliakiwski, a Texas A&M judo competitor made her return to the mat this season. No matter how much time has passed, being number one is very especially having the opportunity to step on the mat once again.
“I took 5 years off [of Judo] when I did my undergrad, training and competing was pretty cool then again to take home the gold was cool too," Poliakiwski said.
Poliakiwski is a native Canadian and expressed how she has made The Lone Star State home.
“I feel like a true Texan, I still say 'ay' at the end of all my sentences [but] I’m incorporating y’all a lot more – I love Texas I can see myself staying here," Poliakiwski said.
From one champion to another— Isabella Garriga is thankful she gets the opportunity to be a part of history.
“It’s nice to see a sport I love so much be recognized and shown in the community and it’s a really great feeling," said Garriga, a Texas A&M Judo competitor.
Aggie Judo has made Garriga successful on and off of campus, as she is headed to compete in Lima, Peru, and China. Garriga said why she is proud to represent her Aggies and The United States.
“To be able to continue traveling, representing America [and] competing in the sport I love the most, is an honor in so many ways," said Garriga.
This team’s work and determination have translated to success on the mat, but Coach Perez says winning is more than just for one day.
“You’re that number one team for that one day and the second day all those teams are coming after you again," said Garriga. "You thrive on that one day – that one day that you’re the champion and the other 364 days, you [must] train to maintain that…because if not, the next team is ready to knock you off.”
Coach Perez said he is very proud of his judo team and hopes to take another title for the 2023 season.