First Half of National Team Selected
Day One qualifiers included (l to r) Tashi Sherpa, James Howe, Olie Burton, Nathanael Ahlstrom, Kellie Fairbanks, Stephanie Beckel, Lauren Hamon and Sanaz Shahbazi
Saturday's first day of qualification for the 2012 U.S. National Taekwondo Team at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs produced a mix of four veterans and four newcomers to the squad.
Veteran National Team members victorious on Saturday were women's welterweight Sanaz Shahbazi (Sacramento, Calif.), women's middleweight Lauren Hamon (Miami, Fla.), men's flyweight James Howe (San Ramon, Calif.) and women's lightweight Stephanie Beckel (Miami, Fla.). They were joined by first-time Senior National Team members Tashi Sherpa (Woodside, N.Y.) in men's finweight, Olie Burton (Accokeek, Md.) in men's bantamweight, Nathanael Ahlstrom (Granada Hills, Calif.) in men's featherweight and Kellie Fairbanks (Hanover, Mich.) in women's heavyweight.
Shahbazi qualified for her seventh national team with a superiority win in the final over Nicolette Bourne (Claremont, Calif.). Hamon blanked Blanca Quezada (Mesa, Ariz.), 3-0, in the female middleweight final to earn a berth on her sixth national team. Howe made his fourth straight team with a 4-0 win over Tyler Sawyer (Santa Clara, Calif.), and Beckel notched a place on her third national team with a 4-0 victory over Mandy Li (Canoga Park, Calif.).
Sherpa defeated Kelvin Ortiz (Pembroke Pines, Fla.), 11-9, in the finweight final. Burton pulled out a 4-2 win over Stepfon Westbrook in men's bantamweight. Ahlstrom was ahead of Jeffery Williams, Jr. (Posen, Ill.), 5-1, when the contest was stopped due to an injury suffered by Williams, and Fairbanks handed Adrienne Ivey (Ashburn, Va.) a 6-0 defeat in the women's heavyweight final.
Sunday's competition features trials for the women's fin, fly, bantam and featherweight divisions, as well as the men's light, welter, middle and heavyweight classes.