Members of Gracie Barra Vernon grappled four medals at the U.S. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Championships in Irvine, Calif.
Head instructor and black belt Mario Deveault earned double-silver, finishing runner-up in the middleweight division before falling to renowned Ricardo (Franjinha) Miller in the gold-medal final in the open class.
“I got to try a few things so they’re tournament tested. I was pleased after being out of competition a little bit. It’s fun to go up against big names like that,” said Deveault.
Dave Rothwell, the Vernon club’s other black belt, struck silver in his weight class and went on to earn bronze in the open division. He bowed to six-time world champion Saulo Ribeiro in the semifinals.
Vernon’s Devon Chinnock, a new purple belt, and John (Danger) Davies, a white belt, both lost in their opening bouts. Both their opponents went on to claim gold in their respective classes.
“It’s just the way it goes, but John knows what he can do better. It’s all learning experience,” said Deveault.
Vernon club members are now preparing for the Calgary Open BJJ & No-Gi Tournament, Oct. 22 in Alberta.