NKU Club wins medals in competition

Sharp moves and graceful forms landed four Northern Kentucky University students a place in the National Taekwondo Championships during a state competition, Feb. 24.

The NKU Taekwondo Club hosted the 2007 United States Specialty Sports Association Kentucky State Taekwondo Championship on Feb. 24.

Four NKU team members medaled at the tournament and qualified to compete at the National Championship in Orlando June 22 thru 25. Matt Kelley said it’s too early in the season to estimate how they’ll do at the Nationals. “The great thing is all who placed automatically qualify,” he said.

Kelley, a senior history and electronic media broadcast major, took gold in both the Men’s Lightweight Sparring and Forms; Ty Turnbull, freshman psychology major, won the gold in both the Men’s Middleweight Sparring and Forms; Renee Sweney, undeclared freshman, took silver in the Women’s Heavyweight Sparring and Forms; and Mike Morrison, freshman psychology major, won the silver in the Men’s Middleweight Sparring.

All four members plan to attend USSSA Nationals, where the team won two silver medals in 2006.

“I’m really excited about Nationals,” Sweney said. “I’ll probably go to classes everyday instead of just a couple of days a week to prepare.” Kelley said one of the team’s strongest aspects is freshmen. “We have a lot of really talented new members with a lot ahead of them,” Kelley said.

Since the club’s creation, its popularity and success have grown to a competitive level. Last year, the team competed in 12 tournaments, brought home 84 medals and won several state and national championships, and this year is looking just as good.

The NKU Taekwondo club practices heavy contact sparring and forms, but Taekwondo can benefit people who are into contact sports too. “Our practices only involve heavy contact for those who are competing,” Kelley said. “You can get a good fitness workout with practicing paddles and forms. We also do a lot of cardio workouts.”

The team practices three times a week, all of which are open to NKU students. “You don’t have to have any special skills or equipment to stop by,” Kelley said. Sweney also encourages students to join the club’s practices. “It’s really fun,” she said. “Everyone is really nice and understanding. We have really great teachers.”

Students can attend four practices without joining the club. After that, insurance to participate costs $22.50 a semester.

Practices for the NKU Taekwondo Club are held in the multi-purpose room in Albright Health Center from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Thursdays, 6 to 7 p.m. Fridays and 4 to 6 p.m. on Sundays.