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Sport Taekwondo Wins Big At Northeast Tournament

By Christina Park


On Saturday, April 12th, the Sport Taekwondo Club sent a 35 member team to New York for the final Ivy/Northeast Collegiate Taekwondo League (INCTL) tournament of the 2002-2003 season, hosted by Columbia University. After a long day of competition, the MIT students emerged in yet another landslide victory, clinching the first place tournament victory, as well as the overall first place title for the season.

The tournament day began with forms competition, where the students dominated by capturing nearly half of the available medals, including a sweep of women’s green belt forms (Cecile E. Le Cocq G, Delphine M. D. Dean G, Grace Y. Kim G), and a near sweep of both men’s and women’s white/yellow belt forms by Ryan B. Huang ’06, Brandon R. Kam ’04, Sandra M. Yu ’06, and Stephanie K. Lee ’06.

Timothy R. Kreider ’04 and Christina S. Park ’02 took third place in the men’s and women’s black belt divisions, and Bobby Ren ’05 and Jaime Lien ’05 each placed second in the men’s and women’s blue belt divisions. Grace P. Tan ’03 and Margaret H. Cho ’04 repeated their performance from Yale and took 1st and 2nd in the women’s red belt division, while George C. Whitfield ’03 took the silver in the men’s division. Antti I. Petajisto G also advanced the medal count with a second place finish in the men’s green belt division.

Advanced teams begin sparring

The women’s A1 team (Tan, LeCocq, Park) were seeded into the quarter-finals where they advanced past Cornell A2 with a close 11-10 win from Tan and an 18-0 shutout from Park. LeCocq anchored the team past NYU in the semifinals, and the team fell only to Cornell A1 in the finals and finished in 2nd place.

The men’s A1 team (William R. Sanchez ’05, Conor F. Madigan G, Richard J. Sinn ’06) sailed easily past Columbia A1 and Princeton A1 into the finals against Cornell A1. In an exciting neck-and-neck matchup, Sanchez won a 5-5 tie decision on superiority to take the lightweight spot.

Sinn bumped up to heavyweight for the final matchup and faced a larger experienced opponent. The score remained close at 2-2 for most of the match, until Sinn kicked out of the clinch to take the match in the final seconds with a score of 3-2, giving the men the gold.

Picking up the momentum from the black belts, the men’s beginner and intermediate teams advanced the medal count as well.

The women’s beginners teams proved to be dominant in their division, as the C1 team (Alicia Y. Zhou ’06, LeCocq, Dean) advanced past one round to the semifinals, where they were defeated by NYU to take the bronze. On the other side of the bracket, the C2 team (Lee, Kim, Yu) defeated Columbia and Buffalo before meeting NYU in the finals to take the silver. The men’s C1 team (Kam, Terry Y. Koo ’03, Petajisto) moved through the brackets against Columbia and Cornell to finish the day in second place, behind the undefeated Harvard C1 team.

As always, the strength of the intermediate teams could not be matched, as both the men’s and women’s B teams dominated their brackets. Despite being a two-man team, the men’s B2 team (Kam, Petajisto) advanced with quick footwork from Kam and two knockouts from Petajisto, whose matches against Buffalo B1 and NYU B1 only lasted a total of 20 seconds. Lacking a heavyweight, they were stopped in the semi-finals and finished in third place.

On the other side of the bracket, the B1 team (Ren, Joshua Neubert ’03, Whitfield) advanced past two rounds before meeting NYU B1 in the finals to finish in second place. The women’s B teams followed the men with the B2 (Lien, Kim, Dean) and B1 (Baochi T. Nguyen G, LeCocq, Cho) teams that each advanced to the semifinals to finish in third place.

The win adds to the continuing success of the Sport Taekwondo Club, the first team in the history of the INCTL to snap Cornell’s undefeated streak. This victory brought to a close an amazing year of growth and accomplishments, taking first place at five of the six league tournaments, and placing Park and Sinn on the 2003 INCTL All-Star Team.

The team continues to train hard and hopes to gain recognition as an official club sport to represent MIT next year. Park and Sinn will travel to Kansas City, Missouri on May 3 for the Collegiate National Team Trials that will determine the US Team to the World University Games this summer in Daegu, South Korea.