Kelsey Billups Takes 1st Place at Morris Cup Tournament

By Pamela Stern

 Kelsey Billups is a six-year judoka who has a purple belt in the Starrett Judo Club and earned 1st place at the Morris Cup Tournament on Sunday, October 9th in Burnt Hills, New York.  She was one of three members of the Starrett Judo Club (including her twin brother, JJ) that participated in the tournament. Unfortunately, the other two members did not get to compete because they were not feeling well.

Kelsey’s moves and techniques set her aside from her competitors. Her signature move is Uchimata. “This was a tough tournament but, it was exciting for the judokas to compete,” said Kelsey’s mom, Krystal Pena. “Kelsey practices hard and is pretty confident once she gets on the mat. Her love for Judo shows especially when she is challenged in tournaments,” her mom said.

This tournament was an international tournament. The founder of this tournament is Jason Morris who is a 1992 silver medalist, and a four-time Olympian. He is also the tournament director and a coach. His daughter has previously competed twice against Kelsey and won. But not this time! Kelsey beat her two times at the Morris Cup.

 “Kelsey has a shot at competing in the 2028 Olympics if she continues to train and stay on the path that she is on,” said Sensei Legros.

Congratulations to Kelsey!

Photos by: Krystal Pena

Pamela Stern