Alliance Taekwondo fielded its largest team in seven years for the 2016 Greenquist Championship Invitational, from veteran competitors all the way down to beginner competitors at their first tournament. Master Devon Waldron and four other Alliance blackbelt competitors – Dale Schniebel, Kyle Sanford, Caleb Olson and Logan Olson, Tanner Olson and Braden Fritel – were joined by eighteen underbelt competitors. Eddie Lin, Cameron Lemere, Justin and Tanner Lafavor, Tristian and Tyler Glass, Madison and Mason Rud, Andrew Burger, Kaitlyn Retzer, Alex Hamilton, Jaylynn Ernst, Camden Archambeau, Muhammed Iesa Zudeen, Ben and Gavin Fryhling and Addy and Keith Smette all represented Alliance well.
Alliance took home a grand total of sixty-five awards, including nineteen first place finishes, twelve second place finishes, eighteen third place finishes, six fourth place honorable mention finishes and seven additional non-standard contest wins. Alliance also won the Greenquist Association School Participation Spirit Award for fielding the most competitors, and also claimed the Jay Halvorson Memorial Breaking championship and the Masters’ Breaking championship.
The Masters’ forms division were first, with Master Devon Waldron taking third and Alliance alumnus Master Charles Smith taking first. Blackbelt forms followed; in separate junior blackbelt divisions, Mr Braden Fritel claimed the top spot and Mr Tanner Olson won a fourth place honorable mention.
In underbelt forms, fifteen juniors and three adults competed. In the advanced divisions, five juniors competed and placed. Mr Eddie Lin earned himself a second place finish with his training brother Cameron Lemere taking third in a separate division. In another division, Justin Lafavor took 2nd. In a fourth advanced division, Tristian Glass took second with training brother Tanner Lafavor taking third.
In two separate adult intermediate divisions, twins Madison and Mason Rud each took first, with training sister Jaylynn Ernst taking second. In four separate junior intermediate divisions Andrew Burger, Kaitlyn Retzer, Alex Hamilton and Camden Archambeau placed second, first, first and third respectively.
In the beginner divisions, six juniors competed in five separate divisions. In an older division, Iesa Zudeen took first place; twins Ben and Gavin Fryhling took first and second respectively in their division; siblings Addy and Keith Smette took first in their divisions; in the youngest division, Tyler Glass won a fourth place honorable mention in his first tournament appearance.
In weapons divisions, Logan Olson, Tanner Olson and Braden Fritel competed with the standard Hapkido Bo Staff set. Mr Logan Olson secured a fourth place finish in his adult blackbelt division with younger brother Tanner winning third place in the junior blackbelt division.
All juniors breaking and underbelt breaking was up next. In the junior blackbelt divisions Mr Tanner Olson and Mr Braden Fritel both took third in their respective divisions. In the advanced underbelt divisions Mr Cameron Lemere took third in his division and Mr Tanner Lafavor took third in a separate advanced division. At the intermediate level, Mr Alex Hamilton took first in his division and Ms Kaitlyn Retzer won fourth place in her division. In the beginner divisions, Ben Fryhling took first in his division with brother Gavin placing third. Ms Addy Smette took second in her division, and brother Keith took fourth in a separate division.
In a fun set of non-standard events unique to the Greenquist Invitational, competitors participated in a belt-tying competitions, jump-rope competitions and speed kicking competitions. Each division was large and only one award was presented to the top competitor in each category. In belt tying, Mr Eddie Lin claimed the award for his advanced division. In jump rope, Mr Cameron Lemere won the award for his advanced division while Ms Kaitlyn Retzer claimed the award for her intermediate division. In the speed kicking competition, Mr Tanner Olson and Mr Braden Fritel won the award in the junior blackbelt divisions for their age groups, while Mr Alex Hamilton claimed the award for his intermediate division. For jumping rope, there was even a parents’ division; one of our very own, Jessica Burger, took up the challenge and won the parent jump-rope competition.
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 last year for the second time, Mr Dale Schneibel of Alliance slammed through six boards without issue. After the six board round, he and another challenger went head to head in a seven board competition. While Schniebel only broke two of the seven boards, that was two more than the challenger and so he claimed the trophy for the third year in a row, a feat only previously accomplished by Master Devon Waldron.
In the underbelt sparring divisions, Mr Eddie Lin, Mr Cameron Lemere and Mr Justin Lafavor competed in two separate advanced only divisions. In the second leg of one bracket, Mr Eddie Lin and Mr Justin Lafavor fought; Lin’s tactical fighting beat Mr Lafavor’s aggressive attacks. Lin advanced to the final match and finished second, while Lafavor fought the consolation match and finished third. In another advanced division, Mr Cameron Lemere showcased some of his best fighting to date and went undefeated to claim first place. In a mixed advanced and intermediate division, Alliance showed up well with the intermediate underdog Mr Alex Hamilton taking first place, while his advanced teammates Tristian Glass and Tanner Lafavor took third and fourth respectively.
In an intermediate women’s division, Ms Madison Rud and Ms Jaylynn Ernst fought hard and earned the chance to face each other for first place; Rud came away with first over the less experienced Ernst, who took second. In a men’s division, Mr Mason Rud started strong, scoring five headkicks on his first opponent and denying all comers to take first. In the younger intermediate divisions, Mr Andrew Burger was mobile and fought smart, spearing his opponents and taking first place. Ms Kaitlyn Retzer showcased her characteristic energy in an undefeated run in her division and also claimed first place. Mr Camden Archambeau claimed second place in his division with some of his best fighting to date.
In a mixed beginner and intermediate division, competitor Keith Smette fought hard and won his way to the final match; after taking a bad fall fighting a competitor four ranks senior to him, he picked himself back up and scored his match-winning point to take first. In an older boys beginner division, Mr Iesa Zudeen used his best weapon to take his points; his final match went into extra time and when the dust cleared, Zudeen had claimed a very respectable second place in his first ever tournament appearance. Ms Addy Smette fought with her characteristic grace and won two of three matches to claim third place in her division. In a separate division, in a scenario becoming familiar to the Alliance team, twins Ben and Gavin Fryhling cut through the opposition and ended up in the match for first and second together. Mr Ben gained the upper hand by staying mobile and came away with first place with Mr Gavin taking second.
In the jr blackbelt divisions, Mr Tanner Olson and Mr Braden Fritel represented Alliance. Olson returned to the ring for the first time in over two years; though rusty, Olson acquitted himself well. Mr Braden Fritel slammed through multiple opponents with his characteristic speed and accuracy. Fritel, injured during the second match, persevered to fight the final match for first place against an older and larger opponent. Despite these disadvantages, Fritel kept his cool, picking targets and committing to scoring to defeat his opponent and take first place.
Adult blackbelt breaking was the second to last event of the day, and consisted of two rings of black belts setting up breaking sequences of up to ten boards each. Four of our Alliance blackbelts demonstrated their skill in a division of nearly twenty competitors; all showed well and Mr Dale Schniebel earned a second place finish with a powerful and focused performance.
A separate breaking event for Masters, in which there are no limits (within reason) to the number of boards, bricks or stations, is also unique to the Greenquist Invitational. This year Master Devon Waldron competed, breaking twelve boards and nine bricks to claim the Masters’ Breaking Champion award.
The black belt fighting divisions were divided into under eighteen men, under eighteen women, lightweight men, heavyweight men, and women. In the under eighteen divisions, Mr Logan Olson fought two time Minnesota state champion and national competitor Cameron Kerns of Detroit Lakes; Mr Logan lost to the more seasoned fighter but kept up much better than in previous bouts, and took third overall. Mr Kyle Sanford battled a handful of opponents in the heavyweight division, making it to the final match and taking second overall. In the men’s championship title, Mr Jesse Kipp – a Greenquist fighter – challenged Mr Charles Smith for the title belt, but was denied by the precise and athletic performance of Smith; Master Charles Smith officially keeps the belt for another year.
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.