Liberty opens ACAT season with strong showing at UNC
Liberty University's tae kwon do team captured 13 medals including five for first-place finishes at Saturday's season-opening Atlantic Collegiate Alliance of Taekwondo tournament hosted by the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C.
"The storm did keep some schools away, however there were over 50 competitors from UNC, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, American University, and Liberty," Flames first-year Head Coach Tom Childress said. "We took 17 athletes to compete and four team members who assisted in running the tournament throughout the day."
Tykeah Henderson, one of Liberty's two individual champions at last April's National Collegiate Taekwondo Association (NCTA) tournament, moved up from yellow belt and won the women's heavyweight median green-brown belt division. Meanwhile, Isaiah Handog, a junior from Hawaii, placed first in the men's middleweight beginner white-yellow belt competition and Ariel Adownkpe, a senior from Niger, won the men's heavyweight beginner white-yellow belt class.
Moriah Martin, a sophomore from Alaska who placed third in the lightweight black belt division of last year's NCTA event, finished first in Saturday's women's middleweight elite black belt class. John Ntibonera claimed the men's middleweight median green-brown belt title.
Liberty had six second-place finishers — sophomore Adam Saxton in the men's middleweight elite blackbelt division; freshman Sarah Matthews (women's lightweight beginner white-yellow belt division); sophomore Katy Peterson (women's middleweight median green-brown); freshman Andrew Haack (men's middleweight median green-brown); sophomore Helen Wood (women's heavyweight median green-brown); and junior Becky Cook (women's middleweight/heavyweight beginner).
Freshmen Thomas Siff (men's middleweight median green-brown) and Matt Gallagher (men's middleweight elite black belt) placed third in their respective divisions.
Liberty will now focus on preparing for the West Point Invitation Tournament on Oct. 22 and the first Pan American University Championships, Oct. 23-25 at the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., where a select group of its athletes will have the opportunity to showcase the sport before an NCAA sanctioning body.