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    November 14, 2022 Lynchburg, Va. RSS |

    Staging an Atlantic Collegiate Alliance of Taekwondo (ACAT) tournament on campus for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Liberty University’s taekwondo team fared well in forms and fighting competitions Saturday on mats set up in the middle of the Liberty Indoor Track Complex. The Flames and Lady Flames competed amongst approximately 50 student-athletes from American University, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and the College of William & Mary.

    In the meet-opening Poomsae (forms) events, junior Chyanne Armes placed first in the female green belt division while freshman Stephen Christian won the male blue belt category and freshman Sky Beres finished first in the green belt event.

    Second-place finishers were sophomore Jaren Isbel (female green belt), junior Stephanie Yuen (female blue belt), and Paul Bearchell (male green belt). Sophomore Sophia Varrati and junior Julia Eesley (female blue belts), freshman Stephanie Stasaitis (female beginner), junior Noah Butcher and freshman Joseph Henry (male beginners) came in third in their respective divisions.

    Liberty Head Coach Tom Childress assists senior blackbelt middleweight champion Jenna Greene with her protective equipment.

    The Flames and Lady Flames combined for six first-place finishes in Kyorugi (fighting), including their two reigning National Collegiate Taekwondo Association (NCTA) national champion black belts — senior Jenna Greene (female middleweight) and sophomore Leonardo Chang (male heavyweight).

    Freshman Xena Sawyer (female black belt heavyweight), Varrati (female intermediate middleweight), junior Katherine Rioux (female beginner heavyweight), and Bearchell (male intermediate heavyweight) also captured gold medals.

    Silver medalists included senior Reyna Collazo (female black belt lightweight), Yuen, who fought up a belt to compete in the female heavyweight black belt division, Armes (female intermediate middleweight), Stasaitis (female beginner heavyweight), freshman Khara Pastean (beginner middleweight), Beres (male intermediate lightweight), freshman David Green (male beginner heavyweight), and senior David Ricca (male beginner middleweight).

    Bronze medal winners were Isbel and Eesley (female intermediate middleweights), freshman Faith Park and junior Jaina Valdez (female beginner lightweights), Christian (male intermediate lightweight), and Butcher and Henry (male beginner lightweight).

    Video edited by Kylee Lilge/Club Sports Video & Media Coordinator

    Junior Julia Eesley (left) and sophomore Sophia Varrati clash in an all-Liberty female intermediate middleweight semifinal.