Lo­cal taek­wondo ath­letes mak­ing the trek to Michi­gan

Five Xavier club mem­bers to com­pete

The Casket - - Sports - RICHARD MACKEN­ZIE richard­[email protected]­cas­ket.ca

Five mem­bers of Antigo­nish­based Xavier Taek­wondo Club are head­ing to the Mo­tor City for the Michi­gan-mid­west Taek­wondo Cham­pi­onships, Dec. 1.

The ac­tual site is War­ren, Michi­gan, which is Metro Detroit’s largest sub­urb, and the in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion is ex­pected to in­clude 500 com­peti­tors from the U.S., Canada and other na­tions.

“We at­tended in 2015 with three ath­letes and came home with a sil­ver and bronze,” Jeremy Reeve, club coach, said.

“We com­peted against na­tional cham­pi­ons from the U.S., Costa Rica and Canada, and are ex­pect­ing the same cal­iber again this year. It [the tour­na­ment] draws mostly black belts from across the U.S. and Canada … of all ages.”

Reeve said Xavier ath­letes chose the com­pe­ti­tion be­cause it pro­vides ideal prepa­ra­tion for the 2019 Na­tional Cham­pi­onships, which take place in Que­bec Jan. 10 to 13.

“This is a step­ping-stone for the na­tion­als,” he said, agree­ing it’s a “quick turn­around” for the ath­letes trav­el­ing to Michi­gan.

“We don’t have this level of com­pe­ti­tion in At­lantic Canada, so we have to travel,” Reeve said.

“We also chose this event be­cause it is a dou­ble elim­i­na­tion event mean­ing, if the ath­lete loses a match, they still have a chance to medal be­cause they need to lose two matches be­fore be­ing elim­i­nated.

“And ev­ery­one will see new op­po­nents at the event; we’re trav­el­ing so we’re not al­ways com­pet­ing against the same com­peti­tors,” he added.

Amongst those mak­ing the trip is Cole Allen whom Reeve de­scribed as Xavier’s “most ex­pe­ri­enced com­peti­tor” of the five.

Allen will com­pete in the 12-14 year-old, -49 kg di­vi­sion, as well as in the 15-17 year-old, -48kg di­vi­sion.

“He has been to the na­tion­als twice and one in­ter­na­tional event last Septem­ber,” Reeve said of Allen’s ex­pe­ri­ence.

Both ath­lete and coach noted be­ing ag­gres­sive as a key to his suc­cess.

“When I at­tack, I do well,” Allen said.

“Cole is un­pre­dictable when he at­tacks,” Reeve added.

Also fight­ing at the Michi­gan com­pe­ti­tion are ath­letes; Ewan Macduff (15-17 year-old, -59 kg di­vi­sion), Keira Macduff (12-14 year-old, -55 kg di­vi­sion), Leah Grant (-49 kg di­vi­sion) and Re­bekeah Pitts (-52 kg di­vi­sion).

Grant has been in­volved in taek­wondo for about 11 years, eight of those as a com­peti­tor. The Mac­duffs each have six years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the sport, while Reeve de­scribed Pitts as the “rookie on the team,” with three years of ex­pe­ri­ence and about to at­tend her sec­ond high per­for­mance com­pe­ti­tion.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to gain­ing more ex­pe­ri­ence,” Grant said, a sen­ti­ment shared by her team­mates.

“I’ll be fight­ing out­side of the coun­try for the first time, that will be fun,” Ewan said, while also not­ing the value of see­ing dif­fer­ent styles of fight­ing from un­fa­mil­iar op­po­nents.

“I’m ex­cited to be fight­ing out­side of Canada,” Keira said.

“Just get­ting to com­pete at such a high level and hav­ing new com­peti­tors,” Pitts said.

For more on the Xavier Taek­wondo Club, visit their web­site xavier­taek­wondo.com or Face­book page.

Richard Macken­zie

Xavier Taek­wondo Club ath­letes Ewan Macduff (left), Keira Macduff, Leah Grant, Cole Allen, and Re­bekeah Pitts, as well as coach/in­struc­tor Jeremy Reeve, are off to War­ren, Michi­gan for the Michi­gan-mid­west Taek­wondo Cham­pi­onships which takes place Dec. 1.

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