2011 USAT Award Winners Announced

Jan. 05, 2012, 1:07 p.m. (ET)

Congratulations to the following individuals who were named recipients of USAT's Annual Awards for 2011. Thank you to all those who submitted nominations.
 

MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Terrence Jennings
(Alexandria, Virginia) 

Terrence Jennings completed a busy 2011 that saw him compete in five major international taekwondo competitions as a member of Team USA. After qualifying for his second straight U.S. Senior National Team in the featherweight division, Jennings proceeded to secure the bantam/feather weight class for the U.S. at the Pan Am Games Qualifier event in Peru. His hectic competition schedule continued with stops at the World Championships in Korea and the World Olympic Qualifier in Azerbaijan where he reached the round of 16.

He finished the year with bronze medals at both the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, and at the Pan Am Olympic Qualifier in Queretero, Mexico, which gave the U.S. a berth in the -68kg division at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. He is currently the top seed in the -68kg division for the 2012 Olympic Trials. 

FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Nicole Palma
(Lake Worth, Florida) 

Nicole Palma opened the year with a bang, winning the gold medal at the U.S. Open in the women's featherweight division. One of her victories was a come-from-behind 8-5 win over British Olympic Team member Jade Jones. Palma also qualified the -57kg division at the Pan Am Games Qualifier in Peru and went on to win a bronze medal at the Pan Am Games in Mexico in October.

She is a freshman at the University of Miami where she is taking advanced courses. 

JUNIOR MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Jeffery Williams, Jr. 
(Chicago, Illinois) 

Jeffery Williams, Jr., was a member of the 2011 U.S. Junior National Team and captured gold medals at both national and international events throughout the year.

At the U.S. Open, Williams won all four of his matches in the junior light-middleweight division, including the final match by a score of 15-1. After winning the Junior Team Trials by a combined score of 24-6, Williams proceeded to capture gold at the Junior Pan Am Championships in Las Vegas, and ended the year with another gold medal at the Toronto Open.

JUNIOR FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Cheyenne Lewis
(Elk Grove, California

Cheyenne Lewis posted an impressive record of 28-0 on the junior circuit in 2011 which included an astonishing point differential of 357-36. She won all three international tournaments that she entered (U.S. Open, Costa Rica Open and Junior Pan Am Championships) by a combined margin of 86-6, including two knockouts. At each of the three international events she was named Best Female Athlete at the conclusion of the competition.

In addition to her taekwondo exploits, Lewis maintains a 4.5 grade point average and is a member of the National Honor Society.

REFEREE OF THE YEAR
Raymond Hsu
(San Antonio, Texas) 

Raymond Hsu is named USAT Referee of the Year for his dedication and commitment to the sport of taekwondo. In addition to operating a successful taekwondo school, Master Hsu devotes his spare time to officiating local, regional, national and international tournaments. In 2011, Master Hsu served as referee for the World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships in Russia, the Junior Pan Am Championships in Las Vegas, the Costa Rica Open, U.S. Open, Chuncheon Open in Korea, and the Medellin Open in Colombia.

Master Hsu is recognized as an expert in poomsae at both the national and international level. He has conducted numerous poomsae referee training seminars for both PATU and USAT. His social interaction and personable approach have gained him a mutual respect within the referee, coach, and athlete communities. 

 

COACH OF THE YEAR
Eui Lee
(Maple Grove, Minnesota) 

Grandmaster Eui Lee of World Taekwondo Academy., is the 2011 USAT Coach of the Year recipient. His dedication to the sport is felt on all levels, from the students in his dojang at World Taekwondo Academy in Minnesota, to U.S. National Team members who benefit from his expertise as an assistant National Team coach for USA Taekwondo.

In 2011, Coach Lee instituted a taekwondo program in a local elementary school as part of the school's physical education program. The goal of the program is to allow students who might not be able to afford a taekwondo lesson the ability to participate in martial arts.

 

FAMILY OF THE YEAR
Kittinger Family
(Farmington, Michigan) 

Master Jack Kittinger and his wife Hilda Kittinger are the 2011 recipients of USA Taekwondo's Family of the Year Award. The Kittingers have run Kil's Taekwondo School in Farmington, Mich., for 10 years and have successfully trained many students to earn their black belts while maintaining a fun and disciplined balance in their training.

Their students say classes always have a positive energy because of Master Jack, and everyone is able to get a great workout while having a good time. Master Hilda complements her husband perfectly by keeping the students in line and serving as an outstanding role model to all she meets.

The family has their students participate in local parades and are always willing to lend a helping hand as volunteers and judges, as well as coaching kids and other students at USAT events.

 

LIFETIME SERVICE AWARD
Grandmaster Byung Yul Lee
(1941-2009) 

Grandmaster Byung Yul Lee impacted and inspired many lives through the actions of his own life. For his lifelong dedication to taekwondo, Grandmaster Lee is posthumously named the 2011 recipient of USA Taekwondo's Lifetime Service Award.

In 1968, Grandmaster Lee was sent to the United States by the government of his native Korea to help spread the art of taekwondo. In the following years he did just that, producing many championships not only in the sport of taekwondo, but most importantly in life. His efforts helped taekwondo become one of the largest sports and martial arts in the world.

He was a simple and humble man who put his life second and everybody else's first and his legacy lives on in the countless black belts and instructors that he mentored throughout his life.

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