Alliance Taekwondo brought a solid team to the 2013 Greenquist Championship Invitational, with nine underbelt competitors, seven black belt competitors, and one black belt alumnus. Alliance juniors Caleb and Logan Olson, Lynsey Eberle, Tanner Olson, Nick Uhlich, Shauna Fairbanks, Austin Hunt, Steven Weigel, Justin Story, Braden Fritel and Cameron Lemere took home twenty-two medals and two honorable mentions. Adult underbelt competitor Megan Buckmeier took home a medal and an honorable mention, and four adult blackbelts including assistant instructors Tammy Fairbanks and Paige McDaniel, Dale Schneibel and Issac Eberle, as well as Alliance alumnus Kyle Sanford, took home seven awards.
The Masters’ forms division were first, with Master Devon Waldron taking third and Alliance alumnus Master Charles Smith taking first. Blackbelt forms followed, alumnus Mr Kyle Sanford took first place in his forms division for the first time with a powerful display of Koryo. In the women’s divisions, Ms Paige McDaniel took third with fellow assistant instructor Ms Tammy Fairbanks winning fourth place right behind her. Ms Lynsey Eberle claimed first place in forms. Mr Caleb Olson and Mr Logan Olson competed for the first time as second degree junior blackbelts, and each of them took third place in their respective divisions with solid performances of Kumgong. Each of the jr blackbelts also performed the Hapkido bo-staff pattern in the weapons divisions, with Mr Caleb Olson claiming his first weapons first place finish, and brother Logan Olson taking third behind him.
In underbelt forms, nine juniors competed. In two separate divisions -one beginner and one intermediate – brothers Cameron Lemere and Braden Fritel took home medals. In one advanced division, the Alliance boys had a clean sweep, with Mr Justin Story taking first, Mr Steven Weigel in second and Mr Austin Hunt taking home third. In a separate advanced division, Mr Tanner Olson secured second place, with Ms Shauna Fairbanks taking third and Mr Nick Uhlich in fourth.
In breaking, Ms Lynsey Eberle smoked the competition with lightning fast kicks to take 1st, and Mr Caleb Olson took third behind her in the jr blackbelt breaking division. In the underbelt divisions brothers Braden Fritel and Austin Hunt took home medals, and Mr Tanner Olson took second. Adult underbelt Megan Buckmeier took home a fourth place honorable mention in breaking.
In a separate breaking event, the Jay Halvorson Memorial Trophy was up for grabs to the person breaking the most stacked boards with a single knifehand strike. After winning for three years in a row, Master Devon Waldron declined to compete. After the dust cleared, Mr Dale Schneibel of Alliance and Mr Aaron Kern of Strongheart were left standing, having successfully broken seven boards each. Moving up to eight boards to decide the winner, Schneibel rushed his attempt and was unsuccessful, leaving it up to Kern. Mr Aaron Kern cleaved all eight boards to claim the trophy.
In the sparring divisons, the underbelts fought across a wide range of ages and ranks. Mr Cameron took third in a beginner division and older brother Mr Braden Fritel came off the line in a flurry of strikes and secured second place in his intermediate division. In the advanced divisions Mr Nick Uhlich and Mr Tanner Olson competed in one division, with Olson taking second and Uhlich taking third. In a large advanced division one age-range up, Mr Justin Story and Mr Steven Weigel battled through three opponents each, with Mr Steven Weigel defeating the competitor that eliminated Hunt in order to face Story in the first place match. In an intense match that went into overtime, Mr Justin Story came out with the win to take first place, with Mr Steven Weigel taking second. In the adult divisions Ms Megan Buckmeier went two and one on her run to a third place finish.
In the jr blackbelt divisions, seasoned fighters Caleb and Logan Olson both battled stiff competition; Mr Caleb Olson was regulated to the match for third place after being defeated by the Minnesota state champion for that age group; Mr Logan Olson then battled the same competitor for first place but was denied and took second. Caleb Olson won his final match and took home third place.
Adult blackbelt breaking was the second to last event of the day, and consisted of three rings of black belts setting up breaking sequences of up to ten boards each. Mr Kyle Sanford, in his most successful blackbelt tournament breaking appearance yet, took first place with a powerful and accurate breaking routine. Mr Dale Schneibel took fourth behind him.
The black belt fighting divisions were divided into lightweight men, heavyweight men, and women. In the lightweight division, Alliance alumnus Master Charles Smith fought like lightning, reprising again his first place performance from the previous year. Alliance alumnus Mr Kyle Sanford battled Master Lucas Holzhueter for first place in the heavyweight division, with Sanford taking third and Holzhueter moving on to face Smith for the chance to challenge the current title holder for the championship belt. Master Lucas Holzhueter won the chance to challenge Master Devon Waldron, who won the title match the previous year; in a close match, Waldron narrowly edged out Holzhueter to retain his claim on the championship title belt.
Alliance would like to thank the Greenquist Academy for hosting the tournament and providing a wonderful environment for competition and both team and personal growth. We would also like to congratulate the entire team on all the hard work, and thank the parents, instructors and coaches who have supported them. As always, our gratitude goes out to Grandmaster Eric Greenquist for his many years of dedication and instruction, and Great Grandmaster Moo Young Yun for his tireless efforts in the promotion of Korean martial arts.