Naval Academy Midshipmen Compete in National Collegiate Taekwondo Championships
POSTED ON: Monday, April 16, 2018 9:54 AM by USNA Public Affairs
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Midshipman 2nd Class (junior) Richard Zirkle recently become the U.S. Naval Academy’s (USNA) first Collegiate National Champion in Taekwondo.
USNA sent two midshipmen to compete in the 43rd National Collegiate Taekwondo Championships, held at American University in Washington DC, April 7-8. Colleges from all over the country sent their best competitors to compete for national titles.
Representing USNA, alongside Zirkle, was Midshipmen 3rd Class (sophomore) Jawaun Stanley. Zirkle, a native of Jacksonville Beach, FL. walked away with a gold medal in the men’s heavy weight division, winning his final match 34-14.
“Competing was a great time and I was fortunate enough to be able to win the collegiate championship in the heavy weight division,” said Zirkle. “I am proud to have brought the first championship to the Academy. The team here at school is outstanding and I absolutely could not have won without them along with the support from my company.”
Taekwondo is a self-defense art using hands and feet to repel against an enemy. It is one of only two martial arts that is recognized as an Olympic sport. The values that students of Taekwondo learn are not just applied in the sport. Learning the discipline to train and the precision to commit strikes on an opponent also transfers into the warrior mentality used in the fleet.
USNA’s Taekwondo team weren’t the only ones to celebrate a win last weekend in combative sports. Midshipman 3rd Class (sophomore) Sophie Lekas, Midshipmen 1st Jess Velez (senior) and Midshipman 4th Class (freshman) Kendell Louis all won Boxing National Championships. The three competed in the National Collegiate Boxing Association Championships, which were held at West Point, New York April 7.