Alliance Taekwondo fielded a large team for the 2017 Greenquist Championship Invitational. Master Devon Waldron and ten Alliance blackbelt competitors – Tammy Fairbanks, Dale Schniebel, Kyle Sanford, Caleb Olson, Austin Hunt, Braden Fritel, Shauna Fairbanks, Eddie Lin, Cameron Lemere and Logan King – were joined by fifteen underbelt competitors. Madison and Mason Rud, Tristian Glass, Justin and Tanner Lafavor, Amber Mcgrath, Alex Hamilton, Kaitlyn Retzer, Jaylynn Ernst, Tatum and Reese Spadgenske, Addy and Keith Smette, Kenyon Meissel and Clark Schumacher all represented Alliance well.
Alliance took home a grand total of sixty-three awards, including sixteen first place finishes, twelve second place finishes, twenty-two third place finishes, seven fourth place honorable mention finishes and six additional non-standard contest wins. Alliance also claimed the Jay Halvorson Memorial Breaking championship and the Masters’ Breaking championship.
The Masters’ forms division was up first, with Master Devon Waldron taking third. In the blackbelt forms divisions, Ms Tammy Fairbanks took first with a high-precision display of Taebek while Mr Austin Hunt took second in his first competition as an adult blackbelt with a much-practiced Koryo. In three separate junior blackbelt divisions, Mr Braden Fritel took third, Mr Eddie Lin took first, Mr Cameron Lemere took second, Ms Shauna Fairbanks took third and Mr Logan King won a fourth place honorable mention.
In underbelt forms, thirteen juniors and four adults competed. In the advanced divisions, three adults and five juniors competed. Mr Mason Rud and Ms Madison Rud took first and second in their division, with teammate Ms Amber Mcgrath taking third for a clean sweep. In three separate divisions, Mr Alex Hamilton took first, Mr Justin Lafavor took second and Ms Kaitlyn Retzer took third.
In the intermediate divisions, an adult and four juniors competed. Mr Kenyon Meissel took first place in his division. In two separate younger divisions, Mr Keith Smette took first and Ms Addy Smette took second. Ms Tatum Spadgenske took third in her forms division as well.
In the beginner divisions, Alliance was represented by two junior competitors. Mr Clark Schumacher took first in his division, while Ms Reese Spagenske took third in a separate, younger forms division.
In the weapons divisions, the Alliance junior blackbelts competed, showcasing the standard Hapkido Bo Staff set; Mr Eddie Lin took second in the crowded weapons division, with teammate Mr Logan King earning a fourth place honorable mention as well. In a massive, all ages underbelt weapons division, Mr Alex Hamilton took first with Ms Madison Rud coming in just behind him in second.
All juniors breaking and underbelt breaking was up next. In two separate junior blackbelt divisions Mr Cameron Lemere took first, Mr Eddie Lin took second, Mr Braden Fritel took third and Mr Logan King took fourth. In the advanced divisions Ms Madison Rud took second in the adult division while brother Mason Rud came in third just behind her. In a separate adult division, Ms Amber Mcgrath also took second. Mr Justin Lafavor took second in his division, as did Ms Kaitlyn Retzer in her division. In a separate division, Mr Alex Hamilton took third. At the intermediate level, Ms Jaylynn Ernst took first an adult division, while juniors Ms Tatum Spadgenske, Addy and Keith Smette took first, second and third respectively in three separate divisions. At the beginner level, Mr Clark Schumacher took third in his 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, Ms Reese Spadgenske won the award for her age group. In jump rope, Mr Eddie Lin, Mr Cameron Lemere and Mr Tristian Glass won the award in their respective divisions. In the speed kicking competition, Ms Shauna Fairbanks won the award in the junior blackbelt division, while Ms Madison Rud claimed the award for her advanced division.
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 third time, Mr Dale Schneibel of Alliance slammed through six boards without issue. After the six board round, Grandmaster Eric Greenquist gave him the opportunity to attempt an eight board strike; he didn’t break all eight, but now he has a new goal of breaking eight boards. This is the fourth year that Mr Dale has claimed the prestigious award.
In the underbelt sparring divisions, the adults were broken into men and women. All three Alliance ladies placed in their division, with Ms Madison Rud taking first, Ms Jaylynn Ernst taking second and Ms Amber Mcgrath taking third. Mr Mason cleaned up his opposition to take first in the men’s division. Mr Justin Lafavor fought three matches and went undefeated to claim first place in his advanced division. In a tough advanced division, Mr Tristian Glass and Mr Tanner Lafavor fought fast and hard to take second and third respectively. In two separate advanced divisions, Mr Alex Hamilton claimed third place after a tough match with a very aggressive fighter and Ms Kaitlyn Retzer claimed third despite taking a bad fall in her first match.
In the younger, less experienced divisions, Mr Clark Schumacher and Mr Kenyon Meissel were placed into the same group; in a tougher division than their last tournament appearances, they showed the results of their training and hard work, with Mr Clark Schumacher taking his matches to claim first, and Mr Kenyon Meissel taking third in a solid showing. Ms Reese Spagenske earned a third place finish in a young division, while two other Alliance junior ladies – Ms Tatum Spagenske and Ms Addy Smette – took fourth in their brackets.
In the jr blackbelt divisions, three Alliance competitors tested their mettle. Mr Eddie Lin carved through his opponents to take first place in his division, with teammate Mr Cameron Lemere taking third behind him. Mr Braden Fritel was in a tough division with older students, and ended up coming away with third. In the under eighteen blackbelt fighting divisions, Mr Austin Hunt had some good action and also claimed the third place spot.
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. Mr Caleb Olson – now confined to a wheelchair after a serious accident two years ago – has been competing in breaking despite his limitations. For the first time since his accident, he showed the true meaning of perseverance and focus, acing his breaking setup and taking first place in the adult men’s blackbelt breaking division.
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 six boards and eleven bricks to claim the Masters’ Breaking Champion award, reprising his win from last year.
Due to assorted scheduling conflicts, Alliance didn’t field any fighters for the over eighteen blackbelt fighting divisions this year. The men’s championship match was a replay of last year’s title match, in which Mr Jesse Kipp challenged Master Charles Smith for the title belt; Mr Jesse Kipp was denied, allowing Master Charles Smith to retain the belt, winning the title match for the fourth year in a row.
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.