Chicago, IL – After months of fundraising, training, and refining, Universal Tae Kwon Do Team Thunder went to the USAT National Championships where they performed very well. Due to the scheduling, the demo team competition went late into the night after not starting until after 10:00 P.M. While exhausted from the day’s events, which saw nearly half the team compete in individual events, Team Thunder caught a 2nd wind and ended up performing what was the best demonstration in their competitive careers. While it was a very close competition, Team Thunder gladly walked away with a silver medal, in just their 2nd year going to Nationals, also beating their last year’s 4th place finish. With the amount of hard work and effort they put in, they are truly on their way to doing even greater things.
In individual events, the team took home 1 Gold Medal and 3 Bronze Medals. Lucas Perko, who won a gold medal Dallas last year in weapons, competed for the first time in the black belt division, and ended up winning gold this year as well, making him a 2 time National champion in weapons. Lauren Auten took home a Bronze Medal in Adult Black Belt Grassroots forms, and Nathan Straub, in his first national tournament, took home a Bronze in Blue Belt Forms as well. Richard Van Horn capped the medal count with a Bronze in Red Belt Adult Fly Weight sparring.
Every other member of the team who competed in individual events did very well also, but found himself or herself just short of finding a place on the podium. Most of the forms competitors ended up making it to the final round of very large divisions, showing a huge improvement over last year, and a lot of their board breaking and weapons competitors found themselves in 5th or 6th place as well, proving that for next year they have to put in just a little bit more work to get them on the podium.
Coach Mark Auten told Colorado Martial Arts News: “I couldn’t have been any prouder to coach these students, and to see all of their hard work show. They represented the school and the state very well this year, and will look to do the same come next year.”
Master Barb Kunkel’s Academy of Life and Leadership Taekwondo team did not attend the USAT Nationals this year, instead attending the ATU Nationals where they placed first.