The NCTA sent a team of thirteen athletes to the Taekwondowon Park in Muju, South Korea on July 2, 2017 for a 7-day training camp. The athletes are training with members of the Korean University Sparring Team under top collegiate Korean coaches. The athletes are training every day, twice per day with their Korean counterparts. Many of the athletes are preparing for the Summer World University Games this August in Taipei, Chinese Taipei. This trip was made possible through collaboration with the Korean University Taekwondo Federation (KUTF).
Athletes on the trip include the following 2017 National Collegiate Team Members, 2017 National Collegiate Team Alternates, and 2016 National Collegiate Champions: Zachery Budde, Rae Drach, Anja Gardziola, Makayla Gorka, Amanda Gotschall, David Kim, Morgan McGarvey, Joseph Ong, Andrew "Drew" Pluemer, Blanca "Jenny" Quezada, Philip "Vincie" Ripepi, Alondra Venegas and Isaac Weintraub.
The team leader for the trip is NCTA President, Dr. Russell Ahn. The team director is Jin Kim. The coaches are Christina Bayley and Jacky Baik. The Team Doctor and Manager for the trip is Dr. Sherri Lashomb.
The NCTA would like to specially thank James Kim of Mooto USA for his generous sponsorship of the team jackets and T-shirts.
The NCTA would like to congratulate former US National Collegiate Team member Jackie Galloway on her bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. She advanced over Puerto Rico and Netherlands to reach the semifinals, where she had a very close loss to Mexico. In the repechage, she scored a decisive win over France to win the bronze medal! You can see her medal-winning moment at the NBC Olympics website:
The NCTA would also like to congratulate the other USA Olympians, including former collegiate team member Stephen Lambdin, as well as Steven Lopez and Paige McPherson. The collegiate taekwondo community was cheering you on all the way and was proud of how you performed!
The NCTA is saddened and heartbroken to learn of the passing of Gina-Louise Williams, 2013 National Collegiate Team member. Gina was an outstanding athlete and exemplified what a good teammate should be. She represented her country in outstanding way and made many deep friendships throughout her competitive career. Those that knew her will always remember her fun personality and infectious laughter. The NCTA members and officers express their condolences to her family and friends.
Guest post by Ryan Lucas. Cross post from Team USA.
Along the tightrope of elite sports, very few athletes are as steady in balance as Carissa Fu.
In academics, the 25 year old is a superstar; she’s scheduled to finalize her master’s degree in forensic anthropology from the Boston University School of Medicine in September, having earned a B.A. from Princeton in 2011.
On the taekwondo mat, Fu is one of the game’s young American luminaries.
The 2014 National Collegiate Taekwondo Association’s Female Athlete of the Year, she is both accomplished and well-rounded; according to the NCTA website, this year she became the first female in Team USA history to qualify for both the poomsae and sparring events at the World University Taekwondo Championship.
Whether pushing herself in sparring or poomsae, Fu is all about equilibrium.
“I think both benefit events each other greatly, so it’s not like I’m just going to be doing one and, when that’s finished, doing the other,” she said earlier this month at the 2014 USA Taekwondo National Championships in San Jose, Calif. “I think they both definitely help strengthen each other.
“Being able to do both at a high level consistently, being able to stay healthy, knowing when I need to rest so I don’t overwork myself or get beyond the point in which I feel comfortable and just being able to manage myself in training will be a very challenging yet fruitful process for me.”
Off the mat, the tenor of Fu’s second half in 2014 will take her from the bliss of graduation at BU to the pangs of uncertainty in searching for a job. As a competitor, maintaining focus as she prepares for the World Poomsae Championships in October and the next incarnation of the USAT National Team Trials, the date of which is still undetermined, will be essential.
Replicating her success from the 2014 National Collegiate Taekwondo Championships—where she earned gold medals in sparring (bantam world class) and poomsae (pairs), along with a bronze medal in individual poomsae—and the 2014 USAT National Championships—where she hauled in four medals, including a gold in individual poomsae—will not be easy.
Fu’s poise as a multitalented athlete, therefore, has never been more important. And, in both of her events, she knows she must continue to rely upon the bulwark of her support system.
“At times, I think it can be difficult, but I think it’s just a matter of being able to manage it with my coach and my teammates in both poomsae and sparring,” Fu said. “There are a lot of us in Boston who do both, so at least we have that mutual community there to help each other.”
Fu can also move forward with the added confidence of having attained two major goals in 2014. Her performances in poomsae pairs and sparring at the 2014 NCAT Championships made for a memorable event.
“This was the first year I’d made the poomsae pairs with my partner, David Chan, so that was a huge accomplishment for both of us,” Fu said. “Just being able to make the team in that was special because it’s always such a stacked event.
“Then, in sparring, people having been noticing that I’ve been knocking at the door for some time, so that was definitely quite a rush. I was able to get through the day in a double-elimination bracket, so it was definitely a very amazing day.”
With her thoughts aligned in the moment, Fu is reluctant to envision her place in taekwondo a few years into the future.
The arc of her course through the sport—beginning in Southern California at age 7, moving to Beijing with her family at age 14, taking a hiatus late in high school to focus on college applications, restarting in competition upon her return to the U.S.—and the difficulty of the tasks ahead lead her to take nothing for granted.
“I’d like to see where I could go, both in poomsae and in sparring,” Fu said. “You never know, and we’ll see how things progress in terms of being able to go to U.S. Opens with points and all that, so I think it has to be one step at a time right now.
“I was able to become a Senior National Team member in poomsae, so we’ll see how far I can go in terms of my placement in the world. Then for sparring, we’ll see how I’m able to do with the USA Team Trials, but it’d be wonderful to progressively go up the levels and just take it one step at a time.
“I would hope that maybe the Olympics are in sight, but we’ll see. I want to take it slowly at this point right now.”