MIT Sport Taekwondo team took second place behind Cornell in a ten-school tournament hosted by the University of Pennsylvania on Sunday, April 15. The Engineers finished with 575 points, behind Cornell’s 766 but well ahead of third place Tufts (90 points).
The loss to Cornell dropped Tech to second place (behind the Big Red) in the Ivy Northeast Collegiate Taekwondo League, the position MIT would finish in after another second place finish behind Cornell at the April 28 meet hosted by Columbia.
MIT has traditionally been strong in the forms competition, and that tradition continued at Penn with several Engineer victories in the category. Captains Rene R. Chen ’07 and Erica Y. Chan ’07 took first and second respectively in the women’s black belt division. John T. Wong G placed second with his black belt form, and Christine M. Lee ’09, competing as a red belt for the first time, claimed first place in her division as well.
The sparring competition was also exciting, though not as successful for MIT. The MIT men’s A teams were second only to the Cornell A1 team, the only group that managed to defeat MIT A2 (Ning Wu G, Jarek Labaziewicz G, and Nathan P. Wang ’08) or MIT A1 (Wong, John C. Ho G, and Richard-Duane S. Chambers G). On the women’s side, the MIT A1 team (Chen, Chan, and Sharon A. Lawrence ’07) also earned a silver medal after yet another narrow loss in the finals to Cornell.
MIT performed even better in the C team (beginner’s) sparring divisions. The MIT women’s C1 team, led by lightweight veteran Miranda J. Ha ’07, dominated the competition. She and her teammates Stephanie E. Nix ’09 and Stephanie R. Chiang ’08 beat all three of the Cornell C teams, claiming the first sparring gold medal of the day.
Concluding the day with the B team (intermediate) sparring divisions, the Engineers were again successful, led by the women’s B1 team which stormed through the competition. They included Ha, earning her second gold medal of the day, Lee, the red belt forms champion, and Corinna Hui ’09. Clearing the way for these ladies was the MIT B2 team, who soundly defeated the Cornell contenders, creating an all MIT final round. These silver medalists included Jaclyn J. Ho ’09, Jennifer L. Caplin ’07, and Chiang.
The men’s B team sparring was really exciting, with Ning Wu G, Jarek Labaziewicz, and Richard-Duane S. Chambers G losing a close final round to Cornell to take second place.
At the end of the day, despite being greatly outnumbered by the Cornell team, MIT had taken several medals as well as personal victories. Coach and Head Instructor Master Dan Chuang said, “I was proud of how so many people performed and really found an extra gear to pull out some difficult wins. Given the size of the tournament and the relative sizes of our teams, we did well, in fact very well.”