Taekwondo teams capture a dozen gold medals at UNC event
March 23, 2018 | Lynchburg, Va.
Liberty University's taekwondo team earned a total of 12 gold medals in various belt and weight classes in both fighting and forms during its first Atlantic Collegiate Alliance of Taekwondo (ACAT) competition of the spring semester, March 3 at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Sophomore Jacqueline Baumann won gold medals in fighting and forms while senior red belt Tykeyah Henderson struck gold in fighting and silver in forms and junior black belt Andrew Haack took gold in fighting and bronze in forms. Other gold-medal winners for fighting were sophomore black belts Clint Stinchcomb and Shelby Wilson, junior brown belt Thomas Siff, senior green belt Jonathan Panzera, senior green belt Sarah Porter, and sophomore Andrea Pino Mora, an international student from Costa Rica. Senior black belt Isaiah Handog and sophomore red belt William Parker both earned gold in forms and bronze in fighting. Freshman Joanna Woolsley captured silver in both fighting and forms.
"There were eight teams represented at UNC and every athlete we entered medaled but one," said Liberty Head Coach Tom Childress, who sent 26 student-athletes to the competition.
For the April 6-8 National Collegiate Taekwondo Association (NCTA) National Championships at American University in Washington, D.C., Childress will send 18 women's and 10 men's competitors, the most in team history. (Last spring, 16 Flames and Lady Flames competed in San Diego and returned with eight medalists, including three national champions.)
Liberty's contingent will still be undersized compared to East Coast Taekwondo Coalition (ECTC) members such as Army, Brown, Cornell, MIT, New York, and Rutgers. Athletes from approximately 65 colleges and universities will be competing.
"We've grown quite a bit," Childress said. "All of our team members have a chance to win their individual divisions and we could have multiple medal-winners in some. It's all about the individual in the ring and what they're able to do that day. All we ask is they go out and do their very best. The big thing is to go out there and have fun and enjoy it and represent Liberty very well."
Siff will be the Flames' only returning national champion competing, and he will be in the black belt rather than the red belt division this time. Seniors Moriah Martin and Sadie Newton will also contend for black belt medals while Henderson, a yellow belt national champion as a freshman in 2015, will vie for a red belt title.
First-time national competitors will include Porter and Pino Mora while sophomore black belts Stinchcomb, Wilson, Megan Carswell, Brittany Harris, and Danielle Pate, junior black belt Tyler Creese, and graduate Leah Deaton all have national tournament experience.
Color belt fighting and black belt forms competition will take place on Saturday, April 7, with black belt fighting finals on Sunday, April 8.