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After months of intense training and preparation, including members competing on the U.S. national collegiate team over the summer, the MIT Sport Taekwondo Club took first place at the first Eastern Collegiate Taekwondo Conference (ECTC) tournament of the season, held at MIT on Saturday, October 23rd. The team, coached by Master Dan Chuang and led by team captains Jason J. Uh ’10 and Erika Lee ’12, fought their way through an event with approximately 450 competitors from over 20 schools in order to clinch the victory. The tournament, run by members of the MIT Sport Taekwondo Club, was the largest ever all-collegiate taekwondo tournament ever held in the United States.

Even with the Johnson Indoor Track filled with so many competitors, the energy and performance of the MIT team remained high throughout the day. During the forms competition, Uh and Daniel J. Sauza ’11 dominated the men’s black belt division by taking first and second place, respectively. On the women’s side, Lee and Rebecca Hung ’11 took second and third place, respectively.

In the colored belt forms division, Rafael A. Raya ’11 and Seth M. Weinberg G captured the silver and bronze for the men, and Hsinjung “Sophia” Li ’11 took fourth place for the women. For the blue belt division, Alvin S. Chen ’11 grabbed fourth place for the men, while Angela N. Chang ’11 seized the gold in the women’s division. As for the green belts, Karine T. Yuki ’13 and Hillary T. Monaco ‘12 took the gold and the bronze medals, respectively. Finally, in the large and competitive yellow belt division, Maria Z. Tou ’14 performed her form past the prelims and reached the final round.

As the forms competition began to wind down and the sparring competition began, the MIT team continued to exhibit their skills. In the A team division, after several grueling matches, the men’s A2 team (Benjamin M. Huan ’11, Sauza, Ijeoma “EJ” Emeagwali ’12) muscled their way through a deep field over 30 teams to capture bronze. For B team, men’s B1 (David Y. Wen G, Raya, Christopher M. Williams G), fought their way to third, while women’s B3 (Jenny Xie ’13, Jennifer Tran ’11, Kristina L. Lozoya ’13) battled their way through several tough matches to claim the bronze. In the C team division, the women’s C1 team (Laura H. Deming ’13, Yuki, Xuan Yang ’13) sparred their way through multiple matches in order to capture MIT’s beset sparring result, earning gold and to take the title of “C team champions” in a field of over 20 teams.

As the day ended and the tournament came to a close, MIT came out on top of the field of 20 schools with 373 points, for a narrow victory over second place Brown, with 320 points. Although the team is pleased to have started out the season in the lead, every member knows that maintaining that lead will not be easy.

The team is training with determination and purpose for the next tournament at Cornell, as it seeks to win its fourth straight National Collegiate Taekwondo Association championship.