Alliance Taekwondo attended the 2015 Rougherider Invitational Championship on October 24th. The Alliance crew, seventeen competitors strong, included blackbelts Tammy Fairbanks, Lynsey Eberle and Caleb Olson and junior blackbelts Austin Hunt and Braden Fritel; underbelt competitors included Cameron Lemere, Logan King, Tristian Glass, Justin and Tanner LaFavor, Madison and Mason Rud, Andrew Burger, Kaitlyn Retzer, Alex Hamilton and Ben and Gavin Fryhling. The team took home twenty-seven awards and a grand championship; Alliance came away from the tournament with thirteen first place finishes, seven second place finishes, seven third place finishes, two honorable mention fourth place finishes as well as the blackbelt grand championship trophy.
Ms Tammy Fairbanks, and Ms Lynsey Eberle competed in separate blackbelt forms divisions; both took first in their respective divisions. The jr blackbelt division had some stiff competition, but the Alliance youth team stepped it up and brothers Braden Fritel and Austin Hunt took second and third respectively. Junior blackbelt Braden Fritel also competed in weapons forms; despite being rusty and having to borrow a weapon, Fritel took third in a competitive division of skilled juniors.
In underbelt forms, seven juniors and two adults competed. In the adult divisions, Madison Rud took home first place while her twin brother Mason came away with third. In the junior divisions, Kaitlyn Retzer took home a third place trophy at the intermediate level in her first tournament appearance. In the beginner divisions, Alex Hamilton claimed first place with a strong showing and in a separate division, twins Ben and Gavin Fryhling took first and second, respectively.
In breaking, four underbelts placed in their respective divisions. At an advanced level, Mr Logan King placed second. In the intermediate divisions, Mr Tanner LaFavor secured second place. In the beginner divisions, Mr Gavin Fryhling took first place and Alex Hamilton earned himself an honorable mention in fourth place.
In the always competitive jr blackbelt division, Mr Braden Fritel showed his mettle with focus and power to claim first place. Mr Austin Hunt didn’t hold back and took second right after him.
In the adult blackbelt divisions, Alliance fielded two competitors. Ms Lynsey Eberle competed in the women’s division and crushed boards with intensity ending in a five board knife hand to secure first place. In a new experience for all competitors, Mr Caleb Olson competed in breaking. In his first tournament appearance since an accident which left his lower body paralyzed, Mr Caleb demonstrated that it’s still possible to deliver power and show martial skill, and won an honorable mention fourth place finish.
In the sparring divisions, the Alliance underbelts had quite a run. In an advanced division – fighting one division over his rank – Mr Justin LaFavor earned third place for himself in a stronger showing than any previous tournament. In the intermediate divisions, Mr Mason Rud took first place and Ms Madison Rud took third place in adult fighting, and Mr Tristian Glass took third in a junior division. At the beginner level, Mr Alex Hamilton – only two and a half weeks out of an injury that had him on crutches for two months – plowed through his opposition and would not be denied first place. In a separate division, twins Ben and Gavin dished out point-scoring kicks on either side of their bracket, both making it to the first place match. In a close fight that went into over time, Gavin scored the winning point and claimed victory, securing first for himself while Ben earned a very respectable second place finish.
The junior blackbelt divisions split into older and younger juniors. The younger boys division was dominated by Alliance competitor Braden Fritel, who decisively claimed first place, despite taking a painful blow to the leg in the first match. In the older division, Austin Hunt fought through a single elimination bracket of tough, low-scoring matches, making his way to the first place match. In a close fight, he was narrowly denied a victory and claimed second place.
Blackbelt fighting was two rounds of two-minute continuous per match. Now a veteran of blackbelt fighting, Ms Lynsey Eberle slammed through all of her opponents round after round, for an indubitable lockdown of the first place position.
Of three possible Grand Championship titles this year, Alliance students were in contention for two of them. In the underbelt under 15 Grand Championship, Gavin Fryhling tied up with a Roughrider red belt; Fryhling nearly won the trophy, but was edged out after a forms run-off with a split decision. There was also a tie for the blackbelt grand championship trophy, between two Alliance blackbelts – junior blackbelt Braden Fritel and adult blackbelt Lynsey Eberle. In another forms run-off – in which Fritel really upped his game, showing perhaps his best Koryo to date – Eberle’s highly polished Koryo couldn’t be beat; Eberle claimed the title and took home the Grand Championship trophy, a solid end to a triumphant day.
Alliance would like to thank the Roughrider Academy and Grandmaster Ted Fitzsimmons for hosting the tournament and providing these opportunities. 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.