ECTC Represents at 2016 Collegiate Nationals
by Julia Richieri and Hilary Monaco
ECTC Tournament Committee Members
On April 22nd-24th, the 41st National Collegiate Taekwondo Association Championships were held at the University of Colorado, Boulder. For many collegiate teams, the weekend was a culmination of all the hard work and training done over the school year. It was a chance not only to compete outside the comfort zone of the Eastern Collegiate Taekwondo Conference (ECTC), but also to earn points for their respective schools on a national level and take home the championship trophy.
At NCTA Championships, there are three divisions of competition: novice, championship, and overall. The novice division is for color belt poomsae and sparring, while the championship division hosts the same events for black belts, but with the addition of team and pairs poomsae. Teams are awarded three points for a gold medal, two for a silver medal, and one for bronze. These points count towards a school’s total in the novice or championship division depending on the division in which they were earned, and the total of a team’s points across both divisions is the overall score.
This year’s competition followed the same format as the previous years, with color belt forms and sparring on the first day, as well as high school black belt poomsae and sparring, and collegiate level black belt sparring and poomsae, on the second. From the first day of competition, the color belts of the ECTC proved that the league supports the development of athletes of all levels. In the color belt poomsae competition, it seemed as if the ECTC’s high caliber judging at tournaments throughout the school year paid off at the national level, as athletes from ECTC schools won seven out of the eight divisions, and swept four of those seven. In the color belt sparring competition, the ECTC had at least one medalist in twenty out of twenty four divisions, once again showing the quality of our athletes across many belt levels and weight classes.
In color belt sparring, which uses the four olympic weight classes (rather than eight as with black belt sparring), the ECTC boasted many top finishers. In the men’s white and yellow belt fin/fly category, Howard Huang of Duke University placed third. Men’s bantam/feather was filled with three medalists: Matthew Turner from University of Vermont in second, and Diego Lorenzo Casabuena Gonzalez of New York University, and Abihinav Tamaskar, also of New York University, both in third. ECTC had a near sweep in the light/welter division, with Columbia University’s Ihar Laziuk in first, Jason Viyar of the United States Military Academy in second, and Joel Argueta from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in third. In middle/heavy, United States Military Academy had the top two athletes: John Mueller in first, and Bradley Harrison in second.
Our lone medalist in women’s white/yellow belt fin/fly was Akhtar Primi of Barnard College. The other three divisions each had three medalists apiece. In bantam/feather, Kristel Guino of United States Military Academy took second, and New York University’s Hortense Gumont, and Barnard College’s Vivian Huang both ended up in third place. Light/welter was almost a clean sweep: Kayla Johnson of United States Military Academy in first, and Laura Blackstone, and Isabel Andrews, both of Brown University, taking second and third respectively. Middle/heavy saw Daniela Dos Santos Quaresma of Columbia University in second, and Jennifer Huntley, from United States Military Academy, and Emilia Stevens from American University both in third.
The green/blue belt divisions had fewer medalists across both men’s and women’s sparring, but the ECTC was still well represented. In the men’s fin/fly division Frank Fang of Columbia University and Sahib Singh of University of Pennsylvania both took third place. Ellis Valdez represented the United States Military Academy in first place in feather/bantam, and his teammate Cimingmao Lor took second, while George Athanail of New York University was third in that division. Finally, Jackson Darash from the United States Military Academy took third in the middle/heavy division.
In women’s green/blue belt sparring, Aejin Kim of Elmira College won first place in the fin/flyweight category. Two ECTC athletes, Alexandra Baker of the United States Military Academy, and Caitlin Wang from Columbia University took first and second respectively in bantam/featherweight. In middle/heavy, we had Barnard College’s Catherine Zhao in first, Allison Roderiques of Brown University in second, and Emily Burge from Duke University in third.
There were three medalists in men’s red belt sparring: in light/welter, Cornell University’s Aibar Nurmukhanov took first, and then in middle/heavy, United States Military Academy had Eli Eichenberger in first place, and Taylor Wing in second.
The first and only full ECTC “sweep” came in women’s red belt sparring. The fin/fly division had Yang Dai of Massachusetts Institute of Technology in first, followed by three athletes from Brown University: Anita Yun in second place, and Nancy Truong and Marisa Vang in third. The only ECTC medalist in red belt female bantam/feather was Jackie Wu, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who took second place. There was almost a second sweep in female light/welter, in which Felicia How of Barnard College took first, Elaine Chou from Princeton University got second, and Samantha Amey-Gonzalez of Massachusetts Institute of Technology took third. Rounding out the middle/heavy division was Brown University’s Julliette Randazza in third.
As mentioned previously, the ECTC was extremely well represented in poomsae divisions of all levels. In men’s white/yellow belt, there was a clean sweep with University of Vermont’s Matthew Turner taking first, followed by Josh Roy of Brown University in second, and Juanda Tan also from Brown University, Howard Huang of and Duke University both in third. Men’s green belt forms had two medalists, Waeya Lin of Elmira College in first, and Srinath Soundararajan from Duke University in third. All four medalists in men’s blue belt forms were from ECTC schools. Sahib Singh of University of Pennsylvania was first, New York University’s George Athanail was second, and Columbia University’s Frank Fang and United States Military Academy’s Ellis Valdez both took third. Men’s red belt forms saw Aibar Nurmukhannov from Cornell University in first, followed by Mitchell Hwang of Massachusetts Institute of Technology in second, and Pavithran Ravindran of Princeton University in third.
There was yet another full ECTC sweep across women’s white/yellow belt forms, with Laura Blackstone of Brown University in first, and Amy Miao, also of Brown University in second. Third place went to Vivian Huang of Barnard College, and Sarah Juhn of United States Military Academy. Women’s green belt forms had three medalists: Cornell University’s Qian Asarelah Yang in second place, followed in third place by Huan Du from Brown University and Jacqueline Ridgley, of Columbia University. Women’s blue belt forms saw Aejin Kim of Elmira College in first, Jaena Han from Columbia University in second, and Catherine Zhao, also of Columbia University in third. In women’s red belt, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Nina Anwar took first, and Felicia How of Barnard College and Jackie Wu of Massachusetts Institute of Technology both earned third place medals.
Our results in the highly competitive black belt divisions were no less impressive--in the eight poomsae divisions (individual, pairs, and team for the championship division, and pairs and team for the team trials division), ECTC had three schools medal, all in team events. Our competitive spirit shone brightest in the sparring competition, where ECTC had medalists in eleven out of sixteen weight classes, once again reinforcing the caliber of our athletes throughout all divisions.
In the black belt men’s sparring competition, there was one medalist in six of the eight weight classes. In men’s finweight, Matthew Galea from United States Military Academy took second place, and in flyweight Christopher Yen of Brown University took third. Drew Pluemer of Yale University got second in Bantam, and Nicolas Wirth of Johns Hopkins University was third in lightweight. Our final two medalists are Duke University’s Eric Mastrolonardo, who got second in middleweight, and Caleb Lim of United States Military Academy, who ended with third in heavyweight.
The women’s black belt competition was no less fierce. In women’s flyweight we had two third place medalists, Jean Chow of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Julia Richieri of Tufts University. In third place in featherweight, we had Janny Jang of American University. There were two medalists in the lightweight category: In first place, Rae Drach from University of Albany, and Veronica Chuah of Columbia University in third. Renee Zhao of Massachusetts Institute of Technology took second in middleweight, and United States Military Academy’s Wonha Kim ended second in women’s heavyweight.
Unfortunately, there were no black belt individual poomsae medalists from ECTC, though there were many close calls. We were represented well in the men’s and women’s team divisions, with Shield, Thiesmeyer, and Yen of Brown University taking second in the men’s team division, and Cheng, Fenta, and Hu of Massachusetts Institute of Technology taking third. In women’s team poomsae, we had Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Chen, Nguyen, and Zhao in second. In the women’s team trial division, which allows members of different schools to compete as a team, Monaco (Cornell University), Nguyen (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and Tong (Boston University) earned a second place finish.
Overall, it was an incredibly successful weekend for our member schools individually and the ECTC as a whole. We were well represented in all parts of the competition, which translated to points towards the overall trophy. In the championship division, University of California, Berkeley took first, followed by University of California, Davis, and then Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The ECTC had a sweep in the novice division, with United States Military Academy on top, Brown University second, and MIT third. Finally, in the overall rankings, United States Military Academy took the trophy, followed by University of California, Berkeley, and then Brown University.