USA Taekwondo News Returning Champions ...

Returning Champions Spotlight, Part 2

By Bill Kellick | June 04, 2019, 9:22 p.m. (ET)

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

Zhoe Christian

Hometown: Chino Hills, CA (Originally from Hawaii)


 

Division/category: Cadet -41kg 

 

Tell us about your experience in USATKD Nationals: My experience in the USATKD Nationals was truly unforgettable. It was one of the happiest and most stressful days of my life. That day was full of blood, sweat, and tears that ended in a life-changing moment..


 

How did you feel about winning gold and being named a National Champion? Winning gold and being named a National Champion was the best feeling in the world and it proved that all my hard work and years of coming short were all worth it in the end.


 

What did you enjoy about last year’s Nationals? Besides winning, I enjoyed the unity in my team and how close we’d become throughout the few days we were there in Utah. We went through the vigorous training together and seen each other at our breaking point to finally see each one of us shine in the ring. The most memorable moment was when three of our athletes including myself won back to back.


 

What did your friends and family say about you being a National Champion? My family and friends were so happy for me. As soon as I won, everyone was cheering and crying and at one point my mom even fainted!


 

What are you looking forward to the most at this year’s National Championships? I’m looking forward at defending my title as National Champion and getting to show how much I’ve improved over the past year.


 

What have you done training-wise to prepare for this year’s National Championships? To prepare for this year’s National Championships training-wise I trained 6-7 days a week with most days having to train 2 times in one day. I trained in the studio and outside in stadiums, hills, trails and so on. I also competed in some local tournaments to make sure I was always comfortable on the mat.

 

Kiefer Soo

Hometown: Coppell, Texas

Division/category: Cadet under 57kg (Light Middle), Moved to Junior age division


Tell us about your experience in USATKD Nationals: To me, Nationals has always been the most important event of the year for Taekwondo. Every Nationals tournament has been amazing for me because it is one of the few times every year that I can see other Taekwondo enthusiasts come together and see one of the most unique sports really growing.


How did you feel about winning gold and being named a National Champion? I was amazed that I had won the tournament. The final fight had been so exhausting that I did not immediately realize that I had won the tournament. But winning Nationals has shown me that it takes determination and dedication to win.


What did you enjoy about last year’s Nationals? Last year's Nationals was very fun because Salt Lake City was a very unique place to host the tournament. I got to meet many new friends and kept in touch with many of them.

 


What did your friends and family say about you being a National Champion? My parents and sister were very proud of me and my friends were amazed by my accomplishment.

 


What are you looking forward to the most at this year’s National Championships? I believe this year's National Championships will be very exciting, as it always has been.

 


What have you done training-wise to prepare for this year’s National Championships? It has been very challenging to balance Taekwondo and my other activities, but every minute was worth it.

 

Sydnee Rodriguez

Hometown: Rancho Cucamonga, CA 


Division/category: Cadet -47


Tell us about your experience in USATKD Nationals: Last year was my 6th time competing at Nationals. I always have a great time competing because I get to see how much I’ve grown as a fighter.


How did you feel about winning gold and being named a National Champion? The experience was very surreal. This was something I have always strived for and was proud to achieve. 


What did you enjoy about last year’s Nationals? Although winning was enjoyable, the support I received from my fellow taekwondo athletes was my favorite part.


What did your friends and family say about you being a National Champion? My family and friends have always been supportive of my goals in taekwondo so they were very proud of me. 


What are you looking forward to the most at this year’s National Championships? I moved to juniors this year so I am looking forward to competing in a new division at a higher level. 

 

What have you done training-wise to prepare for this year’s National Championships? I’m keeping to the same training schedule as last year but focusing on my cardio and diversifying my game. 


 

Jet Moralde

Hometown: Sun Valley, California


Division/category: Cadet Female 41 KG ( Now 44 )


Tell us about your experience in USATKD Nationals: As always USATKD Nationals is the ultimate in TKD tournaments in the US. It brings together the best and brightest fighters. It was an honor to be able to fight among them.


How did you feel about winning gold and being named a National Champion? It was one of the proudest moments in my life. Made all of the hard work worth it.


What did you enjoy about last year’s Nationals? The competition. It was a very stacked division. Full of good fighters. I also had a lot of fun. Seeing my TKD friends and family all in one place.


What did your friends and family say about you being a National Champion? My family was very proud of me. The know how hard it is to reach this level of performance. My friends were very happy for me as well.


What are you looking forward to the most at this year’s National Championships? Being able to compete at high level with my peers. Seeing all of my friends again.


What have you done training-wise to prepare for this year’s National Championships? A lot of mental preparation. Talking to my coach about having fun in there. Challenging myself to do better.

Related Athletes

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Zhoe Christian

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Sydnee Rodriguez

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Jet Moralde