A ‘neck-to-neck’ battle for 1st

Taekwondo falls just shy of 1st at Eastern Conf.

The Sport Taekwondo Club traveled to the University of Pennsylvania on Saturday, April 3 to compete in the final Eastern Collegiate Taekwondo Conference (ECTC) tournament of the season. After several nail-biting forms performances and neck-to-neck sparring matches, MIT took second place at the tournament, and ended the season in second place behind Cornell University.

Once the poomsae (forms) competition began, MIT immediately established its presence. In the men’s black belt division, Daniel J. Sauza ’11 fiercely performed his form in order to take first for the second tournament in a row. Team captain Jason J. Uh ’10 also executed his form well enough to take silver. On the women’s side, Erika Lee ’12 performed powerfully to take second, while Shammi S. Quddus ’10 took fourth place after competing for the first time as a black belt.

In the red belt division, team captain ZheChen “Mary” Hong ’10 decisively claimed the gold. In the blue belt division, on the women’s side Christine T. Hsueh ’10 and Angela N. Chang ’11 both impressed the judges with their skill, taking first and second place respectively, while Christopher M. Williams G, Bradley Wu ’11 and Ijeoma “EJ” Emeagwali ’12 dominated the men’s side by taking first, second, and fourth place respectively. In the green belt division, Jingxiao Lu ’13 and Stephanie P. Chen ’12 both executed impressive forms in order to place third in the men’s and women’s divisions, respectively.

After such a successful morning in poomsae, MIT was fired up and ready to show its mettle in the ring as the sparring competition began. In the A team (advanced) division, Women’s A1 (Quddus, Hong, Lee) aggressively fought each of their opponents and won several grueling matches to take the silver medal. In addition, the Women’s A2 (Hsueh, Hsinjung “Sophia” Li ’11, Lorraine Ling G) and A3 (Tara P. Sarathi ’12, Michelle J. Wang ’13, Kristina L. Lozoya ’13, alternate Teresa “Ty” Lin ’12) teams sparred with enough ferocity to make it to the quarterfinals. On men’s side, A2 (Benjamin M. Huan ’11, Joseph S. Huan ’11, Emeagwali) and A3 (Wenxian Hong G, Kevin K. Li ’13 alternate David Wen ’12) also reached the quarterfinals.

In the B team (intermediate) divisions, the women’s teams fearlessly sparred every match and completely dominated the division, with B1 (Hsueh, Hong, Lin) taking gold, B3 (Laura H. Deming ’13, Jennifer Tran ’11, Heejung Kim ’12) taking silver, and B4 (Chen, Chang, Ling) taking bronze. On the men’s side, B1 (Ryan Rosario ’12, Wen, Williams) powered their way through several intense matches in order to capture third place.

Even in the C team (beginner) division, each member fought with passion. On the women’s side, C1 (Deming, Tran, Xuan Yang ’13) valiantly fought their way to silver, while the men’s C1 team (Lu, Chad D. Burns ’13, Olaoluwakitan Ayod Osunkunle ’11) bravely sparred each match to claim bronze.

The team fell short of first place by a mere sixteen points, but the close loss will only inspire the team to train even harder to prepare for the National Collegiate Taekwondo Championships in two weeks at the Metropolitan State College of Denver.