Former Cranston West standout wrestler and current judoka Katelyn Jarrell has overcome a lot throughout her young career in Judo.
Jarrell, who trains out of Mayo Quanchi in Coventry which is owned by her father Serge Bouyssou, has dealt with a string of injuries which has led to four surgeries over the course of the past few years.
However, Jarrell has gotten healthy, overcame the mental and physical fatigue of rehab, and recently qualified for a chance to compete in the Judo World Championships in Azerbaijan.
“My development has been interesting. I’ve had injuries, four surgeries, things that have kept me out for sometimes 6-8 months at a time. As far as development goes, I feel that every single one of those happened for a reason,” said Jarrell, who believes that changes in her health and rehab routine is what helped her fully heal. “I’m very stubborn in my own ways, I didn’t like to really branch out and do different things. After a few injuries, it really humbles you and makes you open to trying new things. Since those injuries my development has been amazing. Those injuries were an eye opener.”
The 24-year-old has been competing in the sport for 18 years. She has emerged as one of the top competitors in her division nationally, competing in events such as the Pan-American Games where she took home third. Jarrell regularly competes in national and international tournaments, and devotes four hours per day to training on top of many more hours for fitness and rehab.
The World Championships feature the top-9 athletes in the world in each division. Although there will be a lot of pressure on the big stage, Jarrell embraces the noise and feels right at home.
“I love world championships. I’m super weird as a competitor. In world championships I perform great, better than I am supposed to. I go out there and let it all out, I love world championships because I feel relaxed, the bigger the stage that I’m on the more relaxed I am,” said Jarrell. “When I come to local tournaments I know everyone has their eyes on me, I stiffen up, I don’t think as well. I have a clear head in the world championships, being on the biggest stage it freaks some people out, but for me the bigger the better.”
Jarrell’s ultimate goal is to be an Olympic champion, something she feels confident will be within reach in the coming years.
“My goal is to be an Olympic champion … I think that it’s a very doable goal for me. I don’t feel like anyone out there totally outclasses me right now. I’m looking to place in these next worlds and every single tournament that I’m signed up for from now until the next Olympic games, I want to win a medal in every tournament,” said Jarrell.
Jarrell also appreciates the support from the tight-knit judo community in Rhode Island, and is proud of all that she has already accomplished in the sport.
“The judo family in Rhode Island is very family oriented … people hang out on the weekends, everybody does stuff together, it’s actually what keeps me sane throughout all the training … it definitely has its rewards,” said Jarrell. “People always ask me, ‘Why do you put yourself through this? The four surgeries, crying on the mat every day.’ But it’s because I believe in myself, my team believes in me, my team is what keeps me going. I met my husband doing this sport, if that is the only thing good that comes from this, it’s worth it to me.”