Taekwondo team kicks their way to second place at Brown

MIT Sport Taekwondo wins 11 medals, sets bar high for the next season

8353 kenny derek '20 tkd
Kenny Derek '20 scores against Brown with a cut kick.

The MIT Sport Taekwondo Team ended a fantastic season on a high note at Brown University, bringing home a second place trophy in Division I of the Eastern Collegiate Taekwondo Conference on Sunday, November 19.

MIT finished second out of approximately 30 universities, ending the tournament with 336 points, 11 medals, and a strong showing by all members of the team.

Beginning the day with poomsae, a choreographed set of kicks and punches, MIT took home seven medals. Renee Zhao ’18 put on an amazing performance, taking fourth place in the black belt division despite recently recovering from an injury. Lawrence Lai G and Gina Yuan ’19 each earned their first medals in the red belt division, taking fourth place. Nina Anwar ’18 took home a gold medal, performing a spectacular red belt poomsae before moving on to black belt.

The blue and green belt divisions also had a stellar run. Peter Tran ’20 took third in the blue belt category, taking home his first medal as a blue belt. Kenny Derek ’20 and Justin Lim ’20 each showed excellent form in executing the green belt poomsae, earning third and fourth place, respectively.

As poomsae finished, the gym bustled with energy as sparring began. In sparring, or fighting, teams consisting of a lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight compete in an elimination bracket. Athletes win matches by scoring clean kicks to designated areas, and in order to advance, a team must win two out of three matches.

MIT earned three gold medals, a bronze medal, and a quarterfinalist position in sparring. In the white through green belt division, the men’s and women’s teams both earned gold medals. The men’s C1 team (Nick Alvarado ’21, Derek, Alexis Cuellar ’19) put on an impressive display of power, advancing against UConn, Westpoint, Princeton, and Tufts. The women’s C1 team (Wendy Trattner ’21, Lena Price ’21, Andy Lambert ’21) also took first place, fighting their way through Princeton, Yale, Duke, Brown, and UMichigan.

In the blue through red belt division, the women’s B1 (Yuan, Emily Zhu ’18, Dani White ’21) and B2 (Iris Hwang ’20, Jaz Harris ’18, Melat Anteneh ’20) teams both performed amazingly, finishing with gold and bronze medals. The B1 team dominated Columbia and Tufts while the B2 team finished off Cornell and Penn State in the first two rounds. In the third round, the MIT B1 and B2 teams were matched against each other, and the B2 team graciously conceded the round to the B1 team, taking bronze. The B1 team continued to beat Cornell’s B1 team in finals.

In the black belt division, the women’s A1 team (Anwar, Rachel Connick G, Sam Amey-Gonzalez ’18) advanced over Rutgers team to reach quarterfinals, a truly impressive feat in such a competitive division.

The Brown tournament marked the end of a great season for MIT Sport Taekwondo, which is currently ranked second in Division I of the ECTC league. The team will continue to train hard for the next tournaments, which will include Princeton and the National Collegiate Championships in Washington D.C.