(Aurora, CO) The Colorado State Taekwondo Association (COSTA) held its annual state championships on March 15th at Hinkley High School. The event served as a qualifier for the USA Taekwondo National Championships which will be held over the 4th of July weekend. The event was well attended with athletes from dozens of schools comprising 411 different Event Registrations and a total of just under 286 competitors.
Competitors faced off in the traditional events of poomsae and Olympic style sparring, as well as many other events. There was blaster pad sparring, board breaking, pairs poomsae, family forms, weapons, team weapons, creative forms, etc. Many of these events did not qualify athletes to compete in the national championships, but were fun and valuable additions to the tournament nonetheless.
One of the highlights of the tournament is the annual demonstration team competition. Academy of Life and Leadership Taekwondo (ALL) once again defended their title, edging out a Universal team that put up an impressive showing featuing blindfolded acrobatics. The Universal team had changed much of their correography after going over their time limit in the Lone Wolf Classic. Although Universal’s routine seemed the more complicated and difficult, ALL’s near flawless execution and mind-boggling synchronization proved to be too much to overcome.
COSTA also awarded $250 stipend checks to the Colorado athletes who made it on USAT National Teams. Joshua Kosloski (KAT) is on the cadet team, while Isaac Vigil (MYT) and Madelyn Gorman-Shore (ROCK) are on the Jr. National Team.
The opening ceremonies also featured a moment of silence for people we have lost recently, including Chris Lopez. Mr. Lopez was a fixture in Colorado Taekwondo for several decades. There was a collection taken for Master Barb Kunkel, who is currently fighting a hard battle against breast cancer.
COSTA also awarded trophies for the top schools. Due to the nature of this qualifying tournament, the number of competitors brought correlates closely with medals won. Third place went to Santos Taekwondo, second place went to last year’s winner Champion Taekwondo Academy, and the top award went to the Korean Academy of Taekwondo, who had also won the award from 2010-2012.
There were many indivudual performances at a high level, and some of them were represented in the annual awards. The top sparring awards went to Gibran Hays (Martinez) and Tia Day while the top forms awards went to Angela De Olivera (CTA) and Aaron Turner (Santos). Tony Genella (Martinez) won the top referee award.
Although the tournament went a bit long, it was very well organized throughout and never felt hectic. Several schools came from other states, and were heard to remark that they will be back in the future. All in all it was a great day for Colorado Taekwondo, and the state seems well poised to represent in the US National Championships.