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Army Dominates Interservice Taekwondo Championships

By Master Sgt. Stephen Barrett, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 30, 1997 – Army athletes grabbed eight of 11 individual titles at the interservice taekwondo championships, held April 26-27 at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa.

Army captured 20 medals in winning the two-day competition. Air Force finished second with six medals, while Marine Corps captured three. Navy did not send a team.

Taekwondo, a Korean martial arts form similar to karate, was an Olympic demonstration sport during the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. The sport returns as a medal event at the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia.

In men's competition, Army grabbed four of six titles and collected 16 of the 23 medals awarded. Spc. Paul Nelson, a member of the Army's World Class Athlete Program at Fort Carson, Colo., led Army's effort. Nelson claimed top honors in the 182-pound middleweight class, defeating Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jeremy Lawrence of Camp Pendleton, Calif., for the title.

In other Army victories, Sgt. Pedro Cruz-Febo of Fort Stewart, Ga., defeated Army Sgt. Greg Lacombe of Camp Zama, Japan, for the featherweight title. Cpl. Andrew Roberts of Wichita Falls, Texas, upended Spc. Nicolau Andrade of Fort Hood, Texas, in the lightweight title match, while Spc. Darryl Woods of Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, beat Hood's Spc. Louis Davis for the welterweight title.

Air Force took one title and earned four medals in the men's competition. That victory came when Airman 1st Class Reynaldo Martinez-Bucgos of Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., defeated Army Sgt. Bongseok Kim (Camp Conier, South Korea) for the bantamweight title. Air Force also earned a silver and two bronze medals.

Marine Corps' only title came in the heavyweight division, where 1st Lt. Sean Burke of Camp Pendleton, Calif., defeated Air Force Staff Sgt. Thomas Sims of Yokota Air Base, Japan. Marines also took one silver and one bronze medal.

Although Army women won four of the five weight classes, three of those four athletes went unopposed. The only contested match was in the women's 143-pound welterweight division, where Army 1st Lt. Alisha Williams of Camp Humphries, South Korea, defeated Air Force 1st Lt. Cynthia Kniprath (Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D.).

Others gaining Army victories were Spc. Schileen Potter of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington (121 pounds), Pvt. Tricia Demerath of Carson (132) and 2nd Lt. Jennifer Molgaard of Fort Drum, N.Y.,(over 154).

Air Force Senior Airman Deanna Charett of Barksdale Air Force Base, La., earned the other gold medal, winning the 154-pound middleweight title.

Although the taekwondo tournament is not a sanctioned armed forces championship, athletes from this competition will represent the United States in international military competition. Nine athletes earned slots with the U.S. military taekwondo team competing against Canadian service members in a North American Conseil International Sport du Militaire friendship meet May 29.

Army athletes earning spots include Potter, Williams, Kim, Woods, Nelson, Roberts and Cruz-Febo. Air Force fighters include Kniprath, Sims and Martinez-Bucgos. Army Master Sgt. Bobby Clayton of Seoul, South Korea, and Sgt. First Class Rafael Medina of Stewart will coach the CISM team.

Military service teams will also compete at the U.S. National Taekwondo Championships, slated for May 7-11 in Oakland, Calif.

Men's Championships

Bantamweight (127.6 pounds) -- 1. Airman 1st Class Reynaldo Martinez-Bucgos (AF), Keesler AFB, Miss.; 2. Sgt. Bongseok Kim (A), Camp Conier, South Korea; 3. Pfc. Hunter Samuels (A), Camp Stanley, Korea.

Featherweight (140.8) -- 1. Sgt. Pedro Cruz-Febo (A), Fort Stewart, Ga.; 2. Sgt. Greg Lacombe (A), Camp Zama, Japan; 3. Pfc. Ryan Lundy (A), Fort Hood, Texas; and Pfc. Ashley Kandarappallil (A), Fort Campbell, Ky.

Lightweight (154) -- 1. Cpl. Andrew Roberts (A) Wichita Falls, Texas; 2. Spc. Nicolau Andrade (A), Hood; 3. 2nd Lt. Trevor Sevigny (AF), Maxwell AFB, Ala.; and Cpl. Jason Froehlich (MC), El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, Calif.

Welterweight (167.2) -- 1. Spc. Darryl Woods (A) Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; 2. Spc. Louis Davis (A), Hood; 3. Sgt. Mark Lucas (A), Camp Walker, South Korea and Sgt. Howard Clayton (A), Hood.

Middleweight (182.6) -- 1. Spc. Paul Nelson (A) Fort Carson, Colo.; 2. Lance Cpl. Jeremy Lawrence (MC), Camp Pendleton, Calif.; 3. Airman Jared McCallen (AF), Luke AFB, Ariz.; and Spc. Todd Angel (A), Hood.

Heavyweight (over 182.6) -- 1. 1st Lt. Sean Burke (MC), Pendleton; 2. Staff Sgt. Thomas Sims (AF), Yokota Air Base, Japan; 3. Spc. Kevin Williams (A), Fort Wainwright, Alaska and Sgt. Michael Bennett (A), Hood.Women's Championships

Featherweight (121 pounds)-- 1. Spc. Schileen Potter (A), Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington.

Lightweight (132) -- 1. Pvt. Tricia Demerath (A), Carson.

Welterweight (143) -- 1. 1st Lt. Alisha Williams (A), Camp Humphries, South Korea; 2. 1st Lt. Cynthia Kniprath (AF), Grand Forks AFB, N.D.

Middleweight (154) -- 1. Senior Airman Deanna Charett (AF), Barksdale AFB, La.

Heavyweight (over 154) -- 1. 2nd Lt. Jennifer Molgaard (A), Fort Drum, N.Y.Medal Count Gold Silver Bronze* TotalArmy 8 4 8 20Air Force 2 2 2 6Marine Corps 1 1 1 3* Two bronze medals awarded in five of six men's divisions.

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