Jiujitsu’s next big thing lives in Edwards | VailDaily.com

Jiujitsu’s next big thing lives in Edwards

Dustin Racioppi
Isaac Magdaleno | Special to the Daily

EDWARDS ” Remember the name Lauren Magdaleno, because the next superstar in Brazilian jiujitsu just might be in Eagle Valley’s backyard.

You might want to learn the name Kimberli Smith, too. She goes by other names, such as Krossface Killer or Killer K. She’s the 13-year-old, nationally ranked No. 1 Brazilian jiujitsu fighter in the country, and she’s the one who got beat ” twice ” by Magdaleno at the Arnold Sports Festival in Ohio the weekend of March 6.

“She was really tough, and you could tell she was really confident. She just walked around like nobody could beat her,” Magdaleno said of her opponent. “I guess that wasn’t true.”

The hard part for Magdaleno and her father, Isaac, to believe was who Lauren beat. When Lauren, 12, took Smith down for the first time, earning her first medal at the tournament, Isaac Magdaleno said people started coming up to his family and asking if they understood who Lauren just beat. The family didn’t know or really care much at the time and continued to enjoy the matches.

Then, in the second match between the teenage girls, Lauren made Smith tap out in the first 90 seconds of the match.

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Another medal, another upset victory and more people at the tournament started talking.

“More people started coming up to my mother and saying (Smith) was the No. 1 ranked 13-year-old,” Isaac Magdaleno said. “My mom said, ‘Well, she ain’t no more, is she?'”

Even though Isaac Magdaleno and his family have been training in Brazilian jiujitsu for years, he had no idea who Smith was. When he returned home to Edwards, he did a little research and fully understood the magnitude of the weekend’s wins for his daughter.

“We didn’t really believe it. We were like, ‘No, that can’t be true,'” he said. “One guy said it looks like we have a future Olympian here.”

It’s possible, and Isaac Magdaleno is now pushing for his daughter to get more involved on the jiujitsu circuit. There are tournaments all over the country, and he figures if Smith can get some sponsors to put her through the tournaments, then why can’t the girl who beat her get some?

“If she beat the No. 1 ranked girl in the country with ease, there’s no telling what she can do,” he said.

Lauren, who began training at 8 years old, is excited by her accomplishment and looking forward to a potentially long and successful career on the mat. She said since the tournament, she’s taking the sport more seriously and will be ramping up her training regimen.

“Now I know who I beat, and I am really proud of myself,” she said. “I know other kids are going to come after me harder, so now I have to work even harder.”

Lauren’s also excited that through her hard work, she may make a name for herself and her community.

“I don’t think anybody’s ever heard of me. It’ll be a surprise,” she said. “Nobody’s going to know that this big champion got beat by some girl in Edwards, Colorado.”

Despite her newfound success, Lauren, an honor student at Eagle County Charter Academy, is keeping a level head and has her priorities in place.

“School is my No.1 priority, then jiujitsu,” she said. “But I guess I’m doing pretty well at that.”

And if for some reason the jiujitsu doesn’t last, Lauren has a great story to tell for years to come.

“It is probably the most satisfying news I’ve ever heard, for all her hard work all these years,” Isaac Magdaleno said. “It was like the icing on the cake. It finally paid off.”

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