The US National Collegiate Taekwondo Association (NCTA) is proud to present a $500 scholarship each to student-athletes Stephen Lambdin (Oklahoma City Community College, Oklahoma City, OK) and Johnny Nguyen (Mesa Community College, Meza, AZ), who brought back two bronze medals in the sparring competition for the US National Collegiate Taekwondo Team at the World University Taekwondo Championship in Pocheon, South Korea, held on May 25-30, 2012.
NCTA Referee Chair Dr. Jun Yoon, appointed to represent the US at this event with his years of experience in teaching and judging world-class poomsae, is honored to be presented the Best Referee award.
The National Collegiate Taekwondo Association (NCTA) held the 37th National Collegiate Taekwondo Championships on April 7 and 8, 2012 in Cambridge, MA at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, hosted by tournament director Dan Chuang, and presided over by NCTA president Russell Ahn. An event-record 601 athletes participated from over 100 different colleges and universities. At the conclusion of the tournament, 23 athletes were selected to represent the United States at the World University Taekwondo Championships in Pocheon, Korea on May 25-30, 2012.
Seven athletes were selected to represent the United States in the poomsae divisions. Long Nguyen (San Jose State University) won the men's individual division, and Rene Chen (Rhode Island School of Design) won the women's individual division. Long Nguyen and Hazel Cruz (Santa Clara University) won the mixed pair division. Nguyen, Alvin Jong (University of California, Davis), and Lance Supnet (Evergreen Valley College) earned the men's team spot, and Chen, Carissa Fu (Princeton University) and Miyako Yerrick (Columbia University) earned the women's team spot. Long Nguyen, Chen, Jong and Fu are all returning members to the collegiate poomsae team from the 2011 World University Games. Fu is a three time collegiate poomsae team member and earned a bronze medal at the 2010 World University Taekwondo Championships in women's team poomsae.
The sparring divisions were contested in a single elimination bracket, with double elimination beginning at the semifinal rounds. In the men's divisions, the winners were Johnny Nguyen (54 kg, Mesa Community College), Tyler Sawyer (58 kg, Santa Clara University), Stepfon Westbrook (63 kg, California State University of Northridge), Jensen Ishida (68 kg, University of Hawaii-Manoa), Thomas Rahimi (74 kg, North Lake Community College), Phillip Yun (80 kg, University of the Pacific), Phil Drake (87 kg, East Carolina University), and Stephen Lambdin (over 87 kg, Oklahoma City Community College). Sawyer, Westbrook, Ishida, Yun and Lambdin are returning team members from 2011. Johnny Nguyen and Lambdin are both four time team members, with Nguyen earning a bronze medal at the 2006 World University Taekwondo Championships and Lambdin earning a bronze medal at the 2008 World University Taekwondo Championships.
In the women's sparring divisions, this year's team members are Kelsey Kitagawa (46 kg, University of Hawaii-Manoa), Haley Kong (49 kg, Stanford University), Aziza Chambers (53 kg, Wright State University), Emilia Morrow (57 kg, Miami Dade College), Nicole Palma (62 kg, University of Miami), Alexandra Cinque (67 kg, Fordham University), Kelly Fairbanks (73 kg, Hillsdale Community College), and Danielle Harrison (over 73 kg, Johnson and Wales University). Chambers and Harrison are both returning team members. Chambers is a 3-time team member and earned a bronze medal at the 2011 World University Games.
The male athlete of the year was Phillip Yun. Yun won the 80 kg division for the second year in a row and reached the quarterfinals at last year's World University Games. The female athlete of the year was Rene Chen. Chen has qualified 5 poomsae team spots during the past 2 years and reached the finals in the female individual poomsae division at last year's World University Games. The freshman athlete of the year was Haley Kong, who won the female flyweight division and the female 2nd Dan lightweight forms division during her first year of collegiate eligibility.
The coach of the year was Kent Kitagawa of Stanford University, who coached both Kong and Sawyer to national team spots in the sparring divisions. The referees of the year were Leslie Cheung (male) and Hyowon Choe (female).
I am pleased to let you know that the Korean University Taekwondo Federation Team will visit the California Bay Area as part of our NCTA exchange program. For your information, 5 out of 13 athletes will be competing in 2012 WUTC in Pocheon, Korea. We will have several technical clinics and friendly matches with the Korean team during their stay in the Bay Area. The Korean team will also visit Stanford, UCB and UC Davis to do technical training as well as conduct friendly matches during their stay.
They will further participate in the 43rd UC Open Taekwondo Championship as competitors. There will be a 5 on 5 tag team competition between the US and Korean team and individual matches as well. Therefore, I would like to invite our NCTA National team after we select our team this weekend.
For your information, I would like to invite either Korean or Spain University team over to the East Coast next year as part of our exchange program effort. Throughout the exchange program, we will not only further our relationship with other countries’ Taekwondo teams but also elevate our US Team’s competition experience.
I am looking forward to seeing you all soon in Boston.