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Sport Taekwondo Takes First

By Christina Park

TEAM CAPTAIN

The Sport Taekwondo Club won the 15th Annual Northeast Collegiate Taekwondo Invitational, hosted by Cornell University on Nov 23. The tournament drew competitors from nine different schools, including Cornell University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, and New York University. The team was victorious in the end, with 500 points, defeating Cornell at their own tournament for the first time in eight years.

The day opened with forms competition, in which Taekwondo students perfect their skills and highlight the beauty of the “art” in martial arts through a choreographed set of blocks, kicks and punches. As in gymnastics, scoring is based not only on technical merit, but also on artistic aspects such as grace, balance, power, and agility.

Timothy R. Kreider ’04 and Christina S. Park G began the point total, with second place showings in the men’s and women’s black belt divisions respectively.

Delphine Dean G and John C. Ho G followed with strong finishes in the men’s and women’s beginner divisions, placing second and third, respectively. Lily Huang ’06 also added to the point total, taking the silver in women’s green belt division, and Grace P. Tan ’03 came through with the team’s first gold in the women’s red belt division.

Men’s A1 wins sparring

The sparring competition began with the advanced sparring divisions, where the women’s A1 team (Alice S. Chau ’04, Huang, Park) placed second overall. Chau confidently dominated her quarter-final match, winning 14-5. In Huang’s A-team debut, she showed no fear, winning her first match 12-4, and putting up a good fight against an experienced middleweight in the semi-finals. Park anchored the team despite an injured foot, and didn’t drop a match on the day.

The team advanced past Cornell A4 and Cornell A1 to face NYU A1 in the finals. NYU won the lightweight match and a very close middleweight match of 10-9, leaving the women’s team in 2nd place.

The men’s A1 team (Timothy T. Lee ’04, Richard J. Sinn ’06, Chinedum O. Osuji G) was the strongest in the advanced brackets, and easily eliminated Cortland A1 and U Penn A1 before meeting Cornell A1 in the finals. In only his second tournament appearance in the INCTL, Lee showed significant improvement since October and approached his matches with confidence. Despite nursing an injured hamstring, Sinn won his matches 8-3, 9-0, and 5-0 with excellent ring management and timing.

Osuji unleashed in the last tournament of his INCTL career, winning his first two matches by large margins of 10-1 and 16-1. Although he was down 2-1 after the first round in the deciding heavyweight match of the finals, Osuji confidently came back with a torrent of double kicks in the second round to score seven points and win 8-4, securing first place for the team.

C1 teams place second

The beginner divisions followed the black belts, with both the men’s and women’s C1 teams placing second. The men’s C1 team (Bobby B. Ren ’05, Ho, Michael L. Brasher G, Jay K. Cameron ’05) beat Cornell C2, Buffalo C1, and NYU C1 before meeting Cornell C1 in the finals.

Brasher and Cameron fought with a lot of heart, but faced stiff competition in their first tournament appearances. Although Ho could not use his right foot, he dominated his matches with only a left leg turning kick. He sparred intelligently and finished the day 3-1, coming back from behind to tie up his semi-final match and win on aggression. Ren’s natural fighting abilities and intuition set him above the rest of the beginners, as his timing advanced the C team.

The women’s C1 team (Radhika Jagannathan ’05, Cecile LeCocq G, Dean) defeated a one-woman team, Lemoyne C1, and Buffalo C1 before falling to NYU C1 in the finals. Jagannathan and Dean sparred aggressively, both facing some tough tie decisions. LeCocq followed her outstanding performance at UPenn earlier this month, winning all four of her matches and anchoring the team. She remains undefeated in her INCTL career.

Men’s B teams take first, second

The intermediate divisions were the most exciting of the day, beginning with the Women’s B1 team (Tan, Huang, Margaret H. Cho ’04) who advanced into the semi-finals, finishing in third place. In Tan’s sparring debut, her speed and intensity brought her back from a 4-3 deficit to win her first match 10-5. Huang and Cho followed up and carried the team past Cornell B3 before they were eliminated by Cornell B1 in semis.

The men’s B teams clinched the overall team victory, with the B1 team (Alp Simsek ’04, Joshua R. Neubert ’03, George C. Whitfield ’03) and the B2 team (Ren, Juan I. Rodriquez ’04, Thomas B. Wilson ’05, Andrew Selbst ’04) advancing on opposite sides of the brackets to meet in the finals. Ren continued his winning streak from the beginner division, with two additional wins in the intermediate division to finish the day 5-0. Simsek, Rodriquez, and Whitfield were also undefeated on the day, dominating their matches with highlights such as Whitfield’s 19-10 victory to put the team in the medal rounds. Wilson won his first INCTL match on the B2 side, and Neubert won an exciting 7-7 tie decision to advance the B1 team into the finals. B2 bowed out to B1, and the men finished first and second to put the team over the top and close the gap in the overall League standings.

The Sport Taekwondo Club is currently in second place in the INCTL, 125 points behind Cornell in a field of 15 schools. Team members continue to train hard in anticipation of their next tournament, to be held in March at Princeton University.