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Sport Taekwondo Takes 4th at UPenn Tournament

By Margaret H. Cho


The Sport Taekwondo Club placed fourth at a tournament hosted by the University of Pennsylvania on Nov. 9, despite a rocky start.

The day began with forms competition, where each student performed a choreographed set of techniques to be judged on merits such as grace, balance, power, and agility. The competition was stiff, and the club emerged with only one medal: Beginners John C. Ho G and Dong Wang G tied for third place in the men’s white/yellow belt division. Each performed his form again and Ho won the tiebreaker to earn the team’s first points.

After a brief break, sparring began with the black belt teams. The two-man A2 team of Timothy R. Kreider ’04 and Nathan F. Hanagami ’04 showed promise, defeating the Johns Hopkins A1 middle and heavyweights to advance to the quarterfinals, but they were eliminated by the experienced NYU A1 team.

The color belts plowed through the intermediate divisions, with the men’s B teams faring extremely well. The men’s B2 team (Bobby B. Ren ’05, Juan I. Rodriguez ’04, and Andrew D. Selbst ’04) defeated NYU B1 and Cornell B1 to advance to the semifinals, where they met UPenn B1 and lost closely, taking the bronze.

On the other side of the bracket, the men’s B1 team (Alp Simsek ’04, Joshua R. Neubert ’03, George C. Whitfield ’03, and Thomas B. Wilson ’05) won aggressive matches against NYU B2 and Harvard B2 with alternate Wilson in the heavyweight spot. Whitfield went into the semifinal match against Yale B1 to anchor the team, which fell to UPenn B1 in the finals to take the silver.

Women, beginners take honors

The women’s color belt B1 team (Lilly Huang ’06 and Margaret H. Cho ’04) dominated their matches against two two-woman teams, Cornell B4 and Yale B1, to reach the semifinals. Huang was strong in her tournament debut, and Cho anchored the two-woman team. They forfeited the lightweight spot to Cornell B1 in the semifinals. Cho won her match, and Huang’s close loss earned the women the bronze.

The beginner divisions where the most exciting, as the men’s C1 team (Ren and Ho) easily defeated Princeton C1 and Harvard C2 to advance to the semifinals. Both Ren and Ho had last minute comebacks to clinch their matches, ending the day in third place.

The women’s white/yellow belt team were the day’s MVPs. Jaime Lien ’05, Cecile E. Le Cocq G, and Delphine M. Dean G took home the gold. They emerged victorious over NYU C2 and NYU C1 to face Harvard C1 in the finals. Despite an injury to her instep, Lien finished all of her rounds with energy, defeating Harvard’s experienced lightweight who had a significant height advantage. Le Cocq overpowered her opponents with solid back leg turning kicks, and Dean’s height and flexibility were unmatched as she responded to every attack and controlled the ring.

Park is collegiate national champ

The previous weekend, Club president, Christina S. Park G, traveled to Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, to compete in the Collegiate National Taekwondo Championships. Park placed second in forms and first in sparring to remain the two-time middleweight champion.

Park was named by the National Collegiate Taekwondo Association as 2002 Female Athlete of the Year. She will compete in the spring for a spot on the Collegiate National Team that will compete in the World University Games this summer in Daegu, Korea.

The Sport Taekwondo Club continues to train for its next tournament, to be held at Cornell University on Nov. 23.