Martial artists rake in awards

  • Friday, April 25, 2014

From left (front) Jeffen Gimea, Olivia Gross, Aiden Donehoo, Lucas Donehoo, (back) Morgan Poland, Ty Hedges and Thomas Goddard represented Ray Smithís Taekwondo at the 2014 Southeastern USA Open Tae Kwon Do Championships.

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Under the guidance of Grand Master Ray Smith local martial arts students continue to rake in the awards.

Nik Poland, a 16-year-old Summerville High School student who trains at Smithís Summerville dojo, won the bronze medal in the 18-32 year old division during the Cali Colombia International Taekwondo Open competition held earlier this month.

Poland, along with 20 other members of the USA National Taekwondo Team, represented the United States, the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Taekwondo during the international competition held in Colombia, South America. His selection to this elite group of athletes ranks him as one of the top competitors in the United States in the Olympic sport of Taekwondo.

Poland has compiled an impressive record of wins and accomplishments during the past year alone that demonstrate his talent and his dedication to the sport.

He won four South Carolina State titles. He placed first during the USA National Qualifier in both the 14-17 year old and the 18-32 year old Black Belt Divisions.

In January, he won a bronze medal at the U.S. Open Tae Kwon Do tournament in Las Vegas NV, earning him international ranking and world-wide recognition in this highly competitive and disciplined sport.

Polandís other accomplishments include traveling to Bolivia where he earned a silver medal competing in the adult division, earning a spot on the U.S. National Team and winning at the South Carolina State Championship, Governorís Cup, Southeast Regional, Tae Kwon Do Festival, U.S. Cup, U.S. Cup Team Trials, Goodwill Games, U.S. National Team Trials and Winter Battle.

Poland accomplished all of this while maintaining excellent grades at SHS and working part time.

He has received recognition from Governor Nikki Haley, U.S. Senator Tim Scott, Congressman Mark Sanford and South Carolina State Senator Sean Bennett.

This month seven of Smithís other students earned 17 awards at the 2014 Southeastern USA Open Tae Kwon Do Championships in Asheville, N.C.

Ty Hedges placed first in Boards, Forms and Sparring.

Olivia Gross placed first in Forms and Sparring and second in Boards. Aidan Donehoo placed first in Forms and second in Sparring. Lucas Donehoo placed first in Boards and third in Forms and Sparring. Thomas Goddard placed first in Forms an third in Sparring.

Jeffen Gimena and Morgan Poland both placed second in Forms and Sparring.

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