Eight competitors from Alliance Taekwondo made the trip out to Bemidji / Cass Lake the first weekend of February to compete in the Bemidji Invitational tournament. The team for this event was captained by jr blackbelt Braden Fritel, stepping up to show leadership. The underbelts included Eddie Lin, Madison Rud, Mason Rud, Andrew Burger, Alex Hamilton and Addy and Keith Smette. Together they claimed twenty-one top three placements.
Alliance’s only junior blackbelt competitor, Mr Braden Fritel, earned a third place finish in blackbelt forms in a very competitive juniors division with Koryo. In underbelt forms, seven Alliance competitors entered seven separate divisions. In a juniors advanced division, Mr Eddie Lin showed off the hard work he’s been doing and took first. In the intermediate adult divisions, Ms Madison Rud took third in forms as did Mr Mason Rud. Mr Alex Hamilton took third in a junior division. In the beginner divisions, Mr Keith Smette took second place with sister Addy taking third in a separate division.
In breaking, Mr Eddie Lin took third in his advanced division. Mr Alex Hamilton took third in a juniors intermediate division, and Mr Keith Smette took third in a beginner division.
Mr Braden Fritel was the lone Alliance weapons competitor as well, and in a division of twelve he took third place with a rusty but competent demonstration of Shaolin Quan.
In the underbelt sparring divisions, Mr Eddie fought hard and smart in a tough division; he sunk his first opponent, but was outscored by a single point in his final match and took a very respectable second place. In an intermediate division, Mr Alex Hamilton fought well in his furthest tournament from home, denying all comers and wading through three opponents to claim first place. In an older intermediate division, Mr Andrew Burger fought well in multiple matches of a round-robin, losing one match but winning two and claiming second place. In separate young beginner divisions, siblings Addy and Keith Smette battled three opponents each. Addy took first in her division, showing beautiful roundhouse kicks in every match; Keith was energetic and tenacious and took home second place in his division. Twins Madison and Mason Rud competed in two adult divisions each. In a chain of fights, Ms Madison Rud showed perseverance and strategy and would not be denied in either division, taking first in both. Mr Mason Rud traded fierce blows with his opponents and ended up taking third in both of his divisions.
In the jr blackbelt division, Mr Braden Fritel showed his skill and his mettle. Mr Braden went untouched up until the match for first and second, including scoring many points on a bigger and stronger opponent. Fritel’s friend and frequent opponent Wyatt Hermanson of Roughrider cleared the other side of the bracket, and the two again ended up fighting for first and second. This time around, Mr Braden took both rounds for a decisive win and claimed first place.
While roads were decent both days on the journey out, inclement weather threatened the travelers on the way back. The two and a half hour drive back to Fargo that night saw more than one of the young competitors passed out, but it didn’t stop them from getting in some quality team swimming time back at the hotel. With a snowstorm approaching Fargo on Sunday, they slept in but skipped town earlier than planned to drive the last leg of the trip home. Despite snow flurries and intense fog, the crew made it home in time to catch the Super Bowl.
Alliance would like to thank Grandmaster Cindy Brandt for hosting the tournament and providing a solid environment for competition where Alliance students experienced 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 martial arts.