ECTC Athletes Excel at Second Season Tournament at Cornell
by Rae Drach
ECTC Tournament Committee Member
November 12 (Cambridge, MA) - On Sunday, November 8, the Eastern Collegiate Taekwondo Conference (ECTC) held the second tournament of its competition season at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. 371 student athletes from 25 schools competed in forms (poomsae) and sparring (kyorugi). This was one of the most highly attended Cornell tournaments in recent history, with similar numbers last being seen in 2011. In Division I, Cornell University placed first with 534 points, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) claimed second with 218 points, and Tufts University placed third with 154 points. Division II’s final results put the United States Military Academy at West Point in the lead with 238 points, followed by Princeton University and Pennsylvania State University with 168 points and 148 points, respectively. Division III boasted the greatest number of point-scoring schools, with Harvard University clinching first place with 70 points, Villanova University coming in second with 38 points, and New York University (NYU) grabbing third with 32 points. The league was especially pleased to welcome athletes from Elmira College, State University of New York at Oneonta, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), and Royal Military College of Canada. All four of these schools are new to the ECTC or returned after an extended absence from league competitions, and all four had competitive showings and went home with points.
As a 501(c)3 non-profit collegiate taekwondo league, the ECTC hosts five tournaments a year and selects an All-Star team of outstanding league athletes who travel to train and/or compete once a year. The five tournaments of the 2015-16 season are held at MIT (October 18), Cornell University (November 8), Brown University (November 22), Princeton University, and University of Vermont. Historically, 300-500 competitors from more than 30 colleges and universities attend these tournaments. Competitors earn points for their school by medaling in forms and sparring, with higher belt divisions (skill level) allotted more points. While all schools compete against each other during the course of each tournament, league standings are separated into Division I, II, and III. Schools are separated into each division based on a two-year history of performance in the league.
The ECTC utilizes a team sparring format, in which 3-person teams (consisting of a light, middle and heavyweight division and up to two alternates) compete in a single elimination format against other schools, with the team that wins 2 or more matches advancing in the bracket. This team sparring format encourages schools to develop depth of talent and fosters team spirit and spirited rivalries between schools. The league also enforces World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) standards across all poomsae divisions and utilizes electronic poomsae scoring for black and red belt divisions.
Poomsae competition kicked off the day at Cornell this past Sunday. For the first time in league history, competition included a Black Belt Mixed Pairs division. In Mixed Pairs poomsae, one male and one female athlete compete together simultaneously. The athletes must not only attempt to perform at their highest level as judged against the WTF standards, but also do so while remaining synchronized. Mixed Pairs poomsae is an impressive event, requiring commitment and dedication. It is contested at both the national and international levels, and was a fantastic success at the Cornell tournament. While the division does not score points this year, first place was awarded to David Cui and Alanna Todd from Cornell, second place was nabbed by Robert Aguilar and Jean Smith from Princeton, and third place was awarded to Bing Xia and Evangeline Tsai from Boston University.
In individual poomsae, Laurie Lai (Harvard) won first place in the women’s black belt division, while David Cui (Cornell) clinched the gold in the men’s black belt division. Hyunji Kim (Cornell) won the women’s red belt division, and Ruben Amaez (MIT) won the men’s red belt division. The blue belt winners in the women’s and men’s divisions were Christina Kim (Elmira College) and Jiehong Brandon Chung (Boston University), respectively. The women’s green belt division winner was Angelina Risi (University of Pennsylvania), while Jason Everett (Pennsylvania State University) won the men’s green belt division. The respective winners of the women’s and men’s white/yellow divisions were Carole Nasrallah (Yale) and Dong-Gil Shin (MIT).
In sparring, 150 teams competed across 6 divisions. In the men’s A-team (advanced level) sparring finals, Cornell University A1 (Jared Gurba, Kyosan Ku, Michael Turner) once again earned gold with a win over Pennsylvania State University A1 (Josh Roemer, Josh Bartlett, Andrew Fraser). In the women’s A-team sparring finals, Princeton University A1 (Avery Forrow, Elaine Chou, Jean Smith) bested Cornell University A1 (Yuqi Yu, Hyunji Kim, Alanna Todd). In the men’s B-team (intermediate level) division, Cornell University (Daniel Veronese, Aibar Nurmukhanov, Michael Disare) beat out Pennsylvania State University (Saeed AlMheiri, Jason Everett, Nick DeCarlo). The women’s B-team from Tufts University (Yennie Jun, Adeline Gall, Kira Tomlinson, Eliza Schreibman, Maya Saxena) won in the finals over Cornell University (Taylor Young, Lucy Wang, Lydia Lam). In C-team (beginner level), the men’s division was won by West Point (William Xu, Ellis Valdez, John Mueller) over silver medalist Cornell University (Harrison David Fay, Curtis Sumner, Wesley Campbell). Finally, Boston University (Maria Dalbeck, Linnea Smith, Qian Mei, Yufei Zhou) won over West Point (Kelly Redmond, Lisa Canak, Yulee Shin, Chloe Smith) in the women’s C-team finals.
The first and second tournaments of the season have certainly been tremendous successes, featuring many talented student-athletes. The third tournament will be held on Sunday, November 22 at Brown University.
About the ECTC
The Eastern Collegiate Taekwondo Conference (ECTC), formerly known as the Ivy Northeast Collegiate Taekwondo League, is a 501(c)3 non-profit collegiate league, active since 1983, that seeks to foster the development of student-athletes in Taekwondo. The ECTC offers a fun, intense, and unique team-oriented competition experience featuring Olympic-style sparring and forms competition at all levels by hosting five tournaments each academic school year at schools around the Eastern United States. Clubs from among 30 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada vie each academic year for the League Cup by accumulating points at each of the league tournaments.
Jason Everett’ 17 of Penn State University B1 executes an impressive axe kick during their B-Team semi-finals win against Tufts University B1.
- photo credit to Siddharth Pandey