Athletes from the U.S. Taekwondo Academy, which has two locations in Harford County, have qualified to compete July 1-7 at the 2014 USA Taekwondo National Championships in San Jose, Calif.
The Nationals, to be held at the San Jose Convention Center, are the first step toward the 2016 Summer Olympics, in which Taekwondo is an official sport. At Nationals, students from all over the country will compete in three events: forms (poomse), sparring (gyu-roo-gi) and/or board breaking (kyuk-pa). There are two divisions, World-Class, an Olympic competition, and Grass-Roots, designed to give athletes a national competition experience.
The participating athletes are part of an invitation-only competition team at the U.S. Taekwondo Academy, referred to as Team Chang. Senior Master CJ Chang is head coach for this team comprised of Taekwondo students from the academy's Maryland locations in Bel Air, Churchville and Baltimore. The academy also has a location in Northern Virginia.
The following athletes qualified to compete at the national level: Abigail Finley, Abigail Fisk, Alec Zuro, Brandon Santiago, Breanna Curran, Carrie Motes, Christine Singh, Clarence Wilson III, Cole Putman, Daniel Radvany, Daphne Karas, David Wilson, David Fisk, Dillon Foy, Elizabeth Gross, Emanuel Diaz, Erin Ferguson, Faith Sheaffer, Francisco Loayza, Fuk-Lam Forbes Lau, Fuk-Wah Flora Lau, George Koerber, Granger Maher, Harry Agins, Ja'lell Moore, Jacob Pepe, Jared Bickler, Jordan Wahl, Joseph Pirczhalski III, Judah Brecher, Kathryn Kirkwood, Kenneth Klepsig, Kincaid Lane, Kyle Powers, Lane Moran, Lucas Peisinger, Marina Miller, McKenna Wolak, Melani Achi, Michael Finley, Morgan Henderson, Nathan Peisinger, Nicolas Wirth, Radhati Srisukwattananan, Ricky Spain II, Sara Deitrick, Sean Hubble, Spencer Pasion, Vladimir Chervenkov and Wade Sheaffer.
"My athletes have been training diligently for months. Attending Nationals will be the culmination of their blood, sweat and tears. Our training isn't easy and requires dedication and a huge commitment from both the parents and athletes. No matter the outcome at Nationals, I am so proud of each and every Team Chang member," Chang said.
U.S. Taekwondo Academy offers Taekwondo instruction to students of all ages with programs for children, teens, adults and families. It was founded in 1972 by Chang.