Taekwondo takes on Cornell

Engineers finish 2nd in two Conference tourneys

Before break, the MIT Sport Taekwondo team competed in two Eastern Collegiate Taekwondo Conference (ECTC) tournaments, held at Cornell and Princeton. The Engineers finished second to archrival Cornell in both competitions, falling to second in the overall season standings.

In the second tournament of the season, held at Cornell, the team, led by head coach Dan Chuang and team captains Jason Uh G and Erika Lee ’12, competed fiercely. Although the team was smaller than usual, with twenty-eight competitors, they made their presence felt, especially as the poomsae competition began. In the black belt division, Uh and Daniel J. Sauza ’11 once again double placed in the division, with Sauza taking the gold and Uh placing third. On the women’s side, Lee took second while Nicole A. Kang ’14 placed third in her first competition with the team.

In the red belt division, Christopher M. Williams G and Seth M. “Matthew” Weinberg G took first and third place respectively. As for the blue belt division, Maksim Stepanenko ’12 and Hillary T. Monaco ’12 seized second place in the men’s and women’s divisions, respectively. Furthermore, in the competitive yellow belt division, Juliana Melo ’14 advanced through the preliminary to finals round to take second place in her division.

As the poomsae competition ended, the team prepared for the sparring competition. In the A team division, Men’s A1 (Uh, Sauza, Williams) battled fiercely through each of their matches to capture third place. In the B team division, the Men’s B1 team (David Wen G, Rafael A. “Maverick” Raya ’11, Williams) and B2 (Weinberg, Phillip H. Daniel ’13, Ijeoma “EJ” Emeagwali ’12) charged through two difficult brackets in order to seize bronze. On the women’s side, the B1 team (Tara P. Sarathi ’12, Hsinjung “Sophia” Li ’11, Lori Ling G, alternate Monaco) dominated their division in order to capture the gold, while B2 (Jennifer Tran ’11, Kristina L. Lozoya ’13) snatched the bronze. As for the C team division, the women’s C1 team (Melo, Shirley Tsang ’14, Tran) captured the silver.

In their tournament at Princeton two weeks later, the Engineers once again competed fiercely.

In the black belt poomsae division, Lee captured first place, preventing the previous gold medalist from obtaining her tenth consecutive gold. In addition, Rebecca Hung ’11 seized third, while in the men’s division Sauza and Uh took second and fourth place respectively.

In the colored belt divisions, Li grabbed second place in the women’s red belt division, while Daniel and Bradley Wu ’11 captured second and fourth place respectively for the men. As for the blue belts, Angela N. Chang ’11 took first place for the women, while Stepanenko took the bronze. Even among the extremely competitive yellow belt division, the team continued to show their prowess. Melo captured second place, while Maria Z. Tou ’14 and George T. Cheng ’14 surged past the preliminary round and placed within the top ten.

As the day progressed, the team began the sparring competition. In the A team division, the men’s A1 (Uh, Aziz Abdellahi G, Williams) sparred fiercely through a difficult bracket in order to take third place, while the women’s A1 (Sarathi, Li, Lee) muscled their way through each match in order to capture the bronze. In the B team division, men’s B2 (Weinberg, Daniel, Emeagwali) surged through their bracket to claim third place. As for the women, B2 (Chang,Tran, Lozoya) showed their opponents no mercy as the sparred their way to third place.

By the end of the day, the team earned a total of 328 points, taking second behind rival team Cornell. However, the team is just shy of first place in the league, with 1130 to Cornell’s 1167. Over IAP, the team is ready to train even harder and smarter in order to take the ECTC cup back from Cornell at the end of the season.