Returning Champions Spotlight, Part 1

By Bill Kellick | June 03, 2019, 10:02 p.m. (ET)

In the weeks leading up to the 2019 USA Taekwondo National Championships, we will be highlighting returning National Champions. Enjoy the first installment below...

Ethan Gamboa

Hometown: Fontana, California


 

Division/category: -45kg, Cadet male (Current is -48kg, Junior male)


 

Tell us about your experience in USATKD Nationals: Nationals was a great experience. In all my matches I was pumped thinking about that gold medal, getting closer and closer until my final match. Everyone cheering for me during my matches felt amazing, especially in my final match.


 

How did you feel about winning gold and being named a National Champion? When I won gold and was named the National Champion I was so happy and proud of my myself on finally winning gold. Honestly, I can’t even explain how happy I was because it was also my first time being a National Champion.


 

What did you enjoy about last year’s Nationals? At last year’s nationals, I enjoyed hanging out with my team and celebrating my gold medal.


 

What did your friends and family say about you being a National Champion? My family was so unspeakably proud of me, I got congratulations from everyone in my family, even in the Philippines.


 

What are you looking forward to the most at this year’s National Championships? This year, I’m looking forward to having the same results as last year. I’ve been training my butt off all year and it’s my first year in junior, so I’m hoping to leaving a mark this year.


 

What have you done training-wise to prepare for this year’s National Championships? I’ve been training everyday for two hours, working on my game plan and preparing to face the challenges in the upcoming National Championships.

 

Chandler Torres

Hometown: Harwood Heights, Illinois


Division/category: -51kg


Tell us about your experience in USATKD Nationals: It was an exciting experience that I look forward to every year. The fighters are strong and I always have fun competing against the best.


How did you feel about winning gold and being named a National Champion? I was proud to have won last year. The title is always great, but I was more proud in my effort to become prepared for the tournament. It was really satisfying knowing that all my hard work, time, and effort were paying off. This feeling is what made the title and the win so enjoyable.


What did you enjoy about last year’s Nationals? I enjoyed competing against other great fighters, seeing old friends, and meeting new people. I love the taekwondo community and how kind and friendly everyone is. One thing in particular that I love about Nationals is that everyone prepares to the best of their abilities for one of the biggest tournaments of the year, so I am able to test myself against the strongest fighters at their peak condition.



What did your friends and family say about you being a National Champion? Everyone was so happy for me and proud of me. The support system around me is one of the best a person could ask for. My friends, teammates, and family were quite amazed that I was able to achieve this, but I know they believed in me since day one. Everyone was just really happy and it feels great when you are able to put a smile on people’s faces.



What are you looking forward to the most at this year’s National Championships? This year, I am looking forward to winning the title in my new division. I always look forward to fighting great fighters and testing my abilities, so I am really excited to fight against high level athletes once more.



What have you done training-wise to prepare for this year’s National Championships? I trained many hours in my dojang at home in Chicago as usual, but I also upped my game by training with a high-level team from Los Angeles and cross training with many different schools. I always try to keep my body in good condition by training everyday while trying to pick up new tricks from different coaches and athletes.

 

Noah Quinones Scott

Hometown: Woodside, New York 


Division/category: Male Cadet -33 kilos


Tell us about your experience in USATKD Nationals: I have participated at each USAT Nationals since 2012 and it is always a great experience. I love competing and of course it's always cool to win.


How did you feel about winning gold and being named a National Champion? It felt amazing to win. It is such a sense of accomplishment and it just makes you realize that all the work is so worth it.


What did you enjoy about last year’s Nationals? Competing is my favorite part, but I always enjoy cheering on my teammates and just watching all of the Taekwondo greats compete as well.


What did your friends and family say about you being a National Champion? My family is super supportive and they are always happy and proud of me. I'm lucky to have them.


What are you looking forward to the most at this year’s National Championships? I'm looking forward to making team again.

 

Kristina Teachout

Hometown: Tequesta, Florida


Division/category: -55 cadet


Tell us about your experience in USATKD Nationals: It's always an exciting opportunity to see and compete with the best in the nation.


How did you feel about winning gold and being named a National Champion? Honored.


What did you enjoy about last year’s Nationals? Being in a competitive environment.


What did your friends and family say about you being a National Champion? They are very proud of all my hard work.


What are you looking forward to the most at this year’s National Championships?Hopefully finishing out my last cadet year with another gold and making it to Worlds.


What have you done training-wise to prepare for this year’s National Championships? Taken the opportunity to train in as many places as possible, learning something new from many experienced coaches.