AAU Taekwondo National Team shines in Canada

Written by: Mike Friello, AAU Taekwondo National Chair

CLICK HERE to view a recap of pictures at the awards ceremony. For more information on AAU Taekwondo, visit www.aautaekwondo.org.

On May 8th the National AAU Taekwondo Junior and Senior Teams, along with a few of our 12-13 year old Cadet Team Members traveled to the city ofToronto,Ontario,Canada to participate in the 2012 Canadian Open. 

While this trip was by far and away the shortest we’ve ever traveled for an International event, it did provide the 32 athletes, coaching, and support staff some opportunities not previously enjoyed.  Perhaps the most obvious and yet most enjoyable was our transportation to and from the championship. 

For the first time ever, we were able to take advantage of bus transportation to the event.  All participants met at Chicago O’Hare Airport throughout the morning of the 8th and departed via Luxury Coach toToronto.  Surprisingly, at least for management, the team was quite excited at the opportunity to travel by bus and share the ride and camaraderie not generally afforded aboard an airline carrier.  The bus was chartered for the entire week which gave us complete flexibility as to stops for food and the like. 

Of course there was a great savings on transportation expenses which were quickly re-directed towards our hotel accommodations.  Our headquarters hotel was the Four-Star Westin Harbour Castle!  While all of our stays have been among the best hotels available wherever we visit, this 997 room hotel right on the shores ofLakeOntariowas simply amazing.  And to add to the pleasure, the hotel also served as the venue for the competition in the attached Convention Center Ballroom.  Athletes and staff alike were able to simply roll out of bed and take the elevator down to the competition.  SWEET!  Situated in the very heart of this booming city (300+) high rise buildings are currently under construction—which may be the most in the world—the hotel location also provided everyone an opportunity to enjoy some of the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of Toronto when not competing.

And compete we did.  This event was also the first International event attended by the team which offered full, double elimination for all competitors!  This also meant a lot more work for their medals (i.e. Chase Graham fought eight three-round matches starting at 8:00 AM and finishing at 7:00 PM for his Silver Medal!).  All told, the 28 Junior and Senior Team Members along with 3 Cadets captured a total of 20 Medals!  And keep in mind that with double elimination only one third-place Bronze was distributed rather than the customary four. 

Team Members who participated and their corresponding medals included:

Cadets Norman Warner (GOLD), and Marlon Nunez (SILVER), Cassie Tubbs (SILVER), Darby Lynn Dehn (SILVER), and Morgan McGarvey (GOLD).

Juniors Madelyn Malone (GOLD), Crystal Leduc (GOLD), Sky McIntyre (GOLD), Anna Marie Frampton (BRONZE), Carly Ann Berger, Brittany Straus (BRONZE), Janet Harrison Williams (SILVER), Mark Formale, Nathan Rogers (GOLD), Matthew Morales, Emily Joy Ziegler, Jonathan Gomogda, Andrew Pluemer (BRONZE, and Luke Messina (SILVER).

Senior Team Members Summer Suhawail (SILVER), Andreea Kovacs Lester, Emilia Morrow (BRONZE), Kasey Mallard Guana, Makasha Yorbrough, Kelvin Ortiz (GOLD), Chase Graham (SILVER), Christin Medina (BRONZE), Darren Sok Tubbs (BRONZE), Medhi Farsi, Kyle Phillips, Charles Drake (SILVER), and Javier Sanchez.

7-GOLD, 8-SILVER, and 6-BRONZE!!!!!!!

Enough cannot be said about the tremendous job done by our National Coaching staff!  Headed up by Master Greg Tubbs and joined by Master Luciano Medina, Master Georgie Martinez, and Master Arlene Limas this group has once again proven themselves to be among the best—IF NOT THE BEST—our sport has to offer.  Missing the trip this year was Master Patrice Remarck who is currently inLondonworking with Aaron Cook and will be coaching at the 2012 Olympic Games!  Simply the best.

Kudos to Mr. ‘Skip’ Valle, our National Team Manager, for once again helping to put the whole package together from registrations, to transportation, to hotel accommodations as well as some early evening dining.  Thanks Skip!

“I am extremely pleased with this year’s Team’s performance.  It seems like year after year, after year these AAU athletes just keep getting better and better—in all ways.  I am proud to serve such an outstanding group of young elite athletes such as our team members who also understand that it is just as important HOW we compete as how well we do” said National Sport Chair Mike Friello who also accompanied the team along with Executive Committee Member Master Mark Giambi fromHouston,TX.  “And I look forward to next year when the entire 12-13 year old Cadet Team will be making the trip”.

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