Team USA Perfect 14 for 14 Gold at Pan Am Cadet and Junior Championships
by Dan Chuang
Heredia, Costa Rica (June 29, 2022): Team USA earned a perfect 14 gold medals out of 14 divisions at the 2022 Pan American Cadet and Junior Poomsae Championships, held at the Palacio des Desportes in Heredia, Costa Rica. Team USA also placed first in all four of the team standings: Female Cadet, Male Cadet, Female Junior and Male Junior in this historic performance at the largest Pan Am Cadet and Junior Championships on record.
Additionally, four USA athletes earned best athlete honors: Mikayla Xiong won Best Female Cadet Poomsae Athlete, Kobe Fung won Best Male Cadet Poomsae Athlete, Kelly Wang won Best Female Junior Poomsae Athlete, and Sunghyun Eric Gun won best Male Junior Poomsae Athlete.
Three USA coaches won best coach honors. Sangjae Lee won Best Coach, Male Cadet division, Giduk Gun won Best Coach, Male Junior Division, and Jung Hwan Jin won Best Coach, Female Junior Division.
Said Head of Team Barbara Brand, "By any measure, this historic clean sweep was a phenomenal Team USA victory. Our coaching, management, and medical staff, and our amazing, cheering families supported our team in a way that inspired every athlete to perform at the highest level in every single division. We’ll build on this huge win at future international competitions with an eye toward the 2024 World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships."
Added Head Coach Dan Chuang, "This event built on the impressive accomplishments of the team in April at the World Poomsae Championships and in May at the Pan Am Senior Poomsae Championships. I am so pleased to see the continued hard work of coaches and athletes all around the United States, and I look forward to seeing our team's continued efforts to be the best in the world. Thanks to the USA staff, parents and the event organizers for their hard work."
In the Female Cadet Recognized Individual division, Mikayla Xiong earned a GOLD medal. Her counterpart, Kobe Fung, also earned a GOLD medal in the Male Cadet Recognized Individual division. Xiong said, "I'm truly honored to represent the USA as the female cadet USA National team member. I want to thank everyone from National Team coaches, staff and Team USA for all their support and love ... I want to thank my family, friends and GM Jin for believing in me ... and for their support and love." Fung said, "It’s an honor to represent the USA again. I enjoyed being out there on the mats and seeing my friends again. Especially, thank you Master Lee and Master Rosalynn and all of the USA coaches for all the support."
Kelly Wang earned a GOLD in the Female Junior Recognized Individual division, and Naomi Oh (wild card) earned a SILVER in the same division. Sunghyun Eric Gun earned a GOLD in the corresponding Male Junior Division. Said Wang, "Being able to finally represent my country and win an international stage during my last junior year was such an unforgettable experience. I couldn’t have done so without the unconditional support of my family, coaches, friends, and teammates. Can’t wait to be a part of Team USA's next big stage." Added Gun, "It's always such an honor to represent the USA on the national stage, and it always comes with great responsibility as an athlete to showcase the USA as best as possible. Being able to compete and win the Best Male Junior award and the individual event helps me take a step closer to the next international event. Thank you to all the coaches and staff on this trip to support me and Team USA."
In the Cadet Mixed Pair division, Samuel Bae and Emma Lee (wild cards) earned a GOLD medal, followed closely by Julia Cho and Whye Jing Ong at SILVER.
In the Junior Mixed Pair division, Naomi Oh and Shawn Seo won GOLD, also closely followed by Chiara Flotildes and Sunghyun Eric Gun (wild cards) with a SILVER medal.
The Cadet Female Team division was won by Calista DeGuzman, Yuna Kim and Prishaa Shrimali (wild cards) who earned GOLD, in a tight face-off with Mara Lacsamana, Ella Ward and Kaylee Yoshida who won SILVER. The male division was won by Alfredo Lopez-Salas, Apollo Tan and Evan Young (wild cards) with a GOLD, in a competitive matchup with Kalyx Calimlim, Kobe Fung and Whye Jing Ong, who earned SILVER.
The Junior Female Team division was won by Victoria Hsu, Yuri Kim, and Lana Moraleda who earned GOLD. Joining them was Mikel Cho, Enoch Choi, and Bryson Lovorn with a GOLD in the Junior Male Team Division.
In the Freestyle Individual divisions, Gian Legaspi won GOLD in Female Under 17 Individual Freestyle. Sofia Hernandez (wild card) earned a BRONZE medal as well in this competitive division. Anthony Do won GOLD in the corresponding Male Under 17 Individual Freestyle.
In Freestyle Under 17 Mixed Pair, Anthony Do and Emily Do earned a GOLD medal to top their division. They were followed by Jason Bang and Jisu Park (wild cards) who earned a SILVER in the same division.
Closing out the competition with a dramatic finish was the Freestyle Under 17 Mixed Team Division. Allison DeGuzman, Dylan Kim, Ethan Kim, Andrew Lee, Gian Legaspi and Hannah Noble earned a hard fought GOLD in a close match against Canada to clinch the perfect 14-gold medal performance by Team USA.
The Head of Team was Barbara Brand, and the Head Coach was Daniel Chuang. Other coaches for the USA included Giduk Gun, Jung Hwan Jin, Sangjae Lee, Adalis Munoz (wild card) and Huy Nguyen. The Manager was Jan Trigg, and the Doctor was Sherri Lashomb.