Schierecks all win gold at AAU Taekwondo Nationals
Originally published at: http://www.nj.com
Written by: Allan Conover
Not many families entered four children in the AAU Taekwondo National Championships earlier this summer.
And there’s no doubt even fewer had all four competitors sporting gold medals on the way home.
Christian, Courtney, Connor and Katherine Schiereck each brought home gold medals from the AAU Taekwondo National Championships earlier this summer in Florida.
That’s the distinction the Schierecks of Alexandria Township enjoyed during the AAU nationals in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., from July 2-7.
Christian Schiereck, a 15-year-old who’ll soon enter his sophomore year at Delaware Valley High School, earned his first gold medal on the national stage. His 11-year-old sister, Katherine, also finished first in her division as did 7-year-old fraternal twins Courtney and Connor.
“I was really happy to see everyone get gold,” said Christian, also known as C.J. “We were all pretty happy and we had a lot of fun competing down there and hanging out.”
It turned out the most intense and rugged opposition available on the national level brought out the best in all four Schiereck children, who train at the U.S. Family Martial Arts Center in Phillipsburg.
“They all had tough competition and all did phenomenally well,” said their mother, Ariane Schiereck.
Christian, in his second year as a second-degree black belt, won top honors in point sparring, competing in the age 14-15 division for males weighing less than 114.9 pounds. He also was third, for a bronze medal, in forms in the same belt division.
“It’s one of my best achievements so far,” said Christian, who’s been involved in the sport for 10 years. “Going into the competition I had a good feeling about it. I’d trained many months and practiced hard for this.”
In point sparring, the action is halted each time a point is awarded to a competitor, while in full-contact Olympic sparring the kicking and jousting continues unabated.
Katherine Schiereck, who’ll be a sixth-grader at Alexandria Middle School, is a first-degree black belt who’s been a regular national winner the past four years. This time she nabbed gold in point sparring in the age 10-11 bracket for females weighing less than 79.9 pounds and was second for a silver medal in forms.
An avid taekwondo athlete since she was 4, Katherine excels in all three events — point sparring, Olympic sparring and forms.
“It’s fun,” she said. “I like learning different techniques and competing, and also seeing my friends. I like traveling to other places and meeting new friends, too.”
Two years ago Katherine received the Joel Ferrell Outstanding Performance Award, which is given to one female and one male at the AAU Junior Olympics to recognize the athletic ability and sportsmanship of an athlete representing each official sport at the Junior Olympic Games.
This was the national-level debut for Courtney and Connor, both blue belts in the age 6-7 bracket and both coming through with peak performances.
Courtney was first in point sparring and forms in the division for girls weighing less than 44.9 points and Connor took gold in point sparring in the intermediate boys division for 45-55 pounds. Both attend Lester D. Wilson Elementary School.
The four siblings don’t specialize in just taekwondo, either. Christian, who hopes to be certified next year as a coach and referee, and Katherine play travel soccer with Greater Flemington Soccer Club squads while this fall Connor and Courtney will be playing for the Hunterdon United Soccer Club’s boys age Under-9 team.
Taekwondo season is now on a break, with the Schierecks probably resuming their schedule in February in a New York event. But their involvement in the sport pays dividends throughout the year.
“Martial arts has been very valuable for them,” said their father, Chuck. “It’s as important as any other aspect of their education. It teaches positive values, good character, respect and self-control.”
Besides the Schierecks, 10 others from the U.S. Family Martial Arts Center also competed in Fort Lauderdale, with the group claiming a total of 20 medals (nine gold, three silver, eight bronze).
Head instructor Kurt Fuhrmann, an Asbury resident, earned a berth on the AAU National team.
The AAU Nationals is the largest event held by the AAU for taekwondo. All competitors must qualify through state, regional or divisional championships. During this year’s event there were 1990 individuals competing in forms, point sparring and Olympic sparring.
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