This year was yet another good year for sumo in North America – and an even better year for women’s sumo in North America! We saw more interest in the sport and more female competitors than ever before, which is an amazing sign for the growth of sumo. I know a lot of this development came from the top, with the United States Sumo Federation putting a large focus into increasing the number of women in sumo. It seems like they are being successful in their endeavor, which makes this post a lot more interesting.
In this post, I recap the major competitors at the national-level in North American Sumo for the year 2019. My last post on the topic focused on the men, whereas this one focuses on the women. Of course, there could be many of the best competitors that go unmentioned, as they may not be competing at national events and/or competing overseas; however, this post should mention most of the primary movers and shakers.
There are a few insights that should be made about North American women’s sumo in 2019. First, the women’s openweight division is completely wide open. Of the US Sumo Nationals, US Sumo Open, and Fitcon Sumo Cup, no competitor won more than one medal. This means, for instance, that no one won gold at both the US Sumo Nationals and US Sumo Open. This is highly unusual, as most divisions have one dominant senshu – but not the lightweight division. This means that someone may step into the division in 2020 and make it their own. . .but we will have to wait and see!
Also, the women’s middleweight and light heavyweight have a little more veteran presence, but they too could be taken by a newcomer. Dr. Morgan Chateau is currently the top middleweight competitor in the nation, and Cody Stout is currently the top light heavyweight competitor; however, I could see someone entering those divisions and quickly becoming a firm second competitor – if not taking the spot of first.
Lastly, the heavyweight division – by far – has the most competition. Mariah Holmes, Danna Engelberg, Jasmine Jones, and Natalie Burns would have a great shot at winning any other division if they dropped down in weightclass, and all four of them duke it out against each other in the heavyweight division. In fact, Mariah jumped up a weightclass this year to compete against these other senshu. I guess the saying is right – steel sharpens steel. I really look forward to seeing what each of them have to offer in 2020. Mariah seems to have the best skills; Jasmine seems to be the strongest; whereas Danna and Natalie seem to be a great mix between skill and strength. It is almost as if they were all made to compete against each other.
So, who was the North American Senshu of the Year for the women? While the men was a close call, I think there is a clear winner for the women – Mariah Holmes. This is the second year in a row she has been named the Senshu of the Year. She won two medals at the US Sumo Nationals, two medals at the US Sumo Open, and made it to the semi-finals at the World Sumo Championships. Each of these achievements are extremely difficult in their own right, but it is even more so impressive that Mariah achieved them in the most difficult divisions – heavyweight and openweight. Needless to say, Mariah is an amazing competitor, and she does North American sumo very proud.
To conclude, I list some of the major achievements of women’s sumo in 2019, and I include gifs of several matches. It was a great year for sumo, and I think 2020 might be even better. As always, please email me at NorthAmericanSumo@Gmail.com if you have any questions or comments. I’ve had many contact me about participating in sumo events, and you could be next!
- US Sumo Nationals Gold Medal in Lightweight Division
- US Sumo Nationals Silver Medal in Lightweight Division
- US Sumo Nationals Bronze Medal in Lightweight Division
- US Sumo Open Bronze Medal in Lightweight Division
- Fitcon Sumo Cup Gold Medal in Lightweight Division
Janna Van Witbeck
- Fitcon Sumo Cup Silver Medal in Lightweight Division
- Fitcon Sumo Cup Bronze Medal in Lightweight Division
- US Sumo Nationals Gold Medal in Middleweight Division
- US Sumo Nationals Silver Medal in Middleweight Division
- US Sumo Nationals Bronze Medal in Middleweight Division
- US Sumo Nationals Gold Medal in Light Heavyweight Division
- Fitcon Sumo Cup Bronze Medal in Heavyweight Division
- US Sumo Nationals Silver Medal in Light Heavyweight Division
- US Sumo Nationals Gold Medal in Heavyweight Division
- US Sumo Nationals Silver Medal in Openweight Division
- US Sumo Open Silver Medal in the Heavyweight Division
- US Sumo Open Bronze Medal in the Openweight Division
- Wold Sumo Championships Semi-Finalist in the Openweight Division
- US Sumo Nationals Gold Medal in Openweight Division
- US Sumo Nationals Silver Medal in Heavyweight Division
- US Sumo Nationals Bronze Medal in Heavyweight Division
- US Sumo Nationals Bronze Medal in Openweight Division
- US Sumo Open Bronze Medal in the Heavyweight Division
- Fitcon Sumo Cup Gold Medal in Heavyweight Division
- Fitcon Sumo Cup Silver Medal in Heavyweight Division