Taekwondo club snatches 2nd place at Cornell tourney

Black belts Tam Nguyen, Renee Zhao take silver, bronze for forms; sparring A-team takes bronze

On Sunday, Nov. 8, the MIT Sport Taekwondo Club placed second among Division I teams at the second Eastern Collegiate Taekwondo Conference tournament of the season, held at Cornell University.

MIT showed its strength across all divisions with as many as 32 team members competing with strong performances in an action-packed day of forms and sparring.

The day began with forms (poomsae) competitions, in which choreographed techniques are judged based on grace, power, and precision.

Black belt competitors set the stage, capturing silver and bronze. Team member Tam Nguyen G placed second and Renee T. Zhao ’18 placed third in the women’s division with a technically challenging form.

In the red belt division, Ruben Amaez ’16 took first place in the men’s division, while Yang Dai ’16 placed third in the women’s division. Mitchell Hwang ’18 earned a bronze medal in the men’s blue belt division. In the fiercely competitive white and yellow belt divisions, Dong-Gil Shin ’16 earned a gold medal in the men’s yellow belt division, while Johan Kotze ’17 claimed bronze. Gina Yuan ’19 earned a bronze medal in the women’s yellow belt division.

After outstanding performances in the morning of forms competition, MIT kept the energy going in the afternoon sparring sessions.

The men’s and women’s advanced level teams (A-team) displayed a strong performance in sparring. The women’s A1 team comprising of co-captain Andrea S. Guatemala ’16, Maria Alexis G, and Nguyen took bronze, advancing over Cornell A2 before falling to Princeton in tightly contested matches.

In the B-Team (intermediate) competition, women’s B1 comprising of Jean Chow ’16, Dai, and Rachel T. Harris ’17 earned a bronze medal. The team advanced over the Elmira and Penn State teams before falling to Cornell B2 in the semifinal round. The men’s B1 of Akwasi Owusu-Akyaw ’17, Amaez, and Hwang scored solid wins over University of Connecticut and West Point en route to earning a bronze medal.

In the C-Team (beginner) competition, we saw some of our rookies showcase their determination and strength. The men’s C1 Shin, Corey Ferrier ‘19, and Kotze overcame injuries to earn a bronze medal in one of the largest sparring divisions. After defeating the Penn State, Cornell, Tufts, and Princeton teams, the men fell to the eventual gold medalists West Point C1 in the semifinal round after some very close matches.

Particularly noteworthy were the enthusiasm and spirit of the team members as they rallied and cheered each other on during the entirety of the tournament. The team’s energy transcended the boundaries of the ring and motivated the competitors to fight harder and go further for their teammates. At the end of the day, MIT totaled 464 points, placing second in Division I of the league.