WE WON! Team USA won the Overall Cup at the 2012 Pan American Championships!

This is our first overall championship since 2009, and we beat Venezuela by only 1 gold medal. Venezuela wins the overall year after year, and it was a great feeling to come out on top! Our victory came down to the final matches. A gold medal by Cheryl Murphy tied us in the gold medal count with VEN, but they had more silvers, so we had to win the last match. Tom Scott clinched it with his gold medal performance and we too the overall.

There we a number of outstanding accomplishments on the field of play. Tom Scott (Plano, TX) took gold in both the kilo and open weight kumite divisions. This feat has not been accomplished by an American male athlete in over a decade. Cheryl Murphy (New York, NY) made history by become the first American (and possible the first ever) female athlete to take double gold at the event in her kilo division and the open weight category. In addition, the women’s individual kata final was USA v. USA with Sakura Kokumai (Honolulu, HI) facing Mina Yamazaki (Anaheim, CA). Sakura came out on top, but it was fantastic to have an all US final.

Jake Lease and Tokey Hill at 2012 Pan American Championships

Our coaches and staff were top notch and functioned in a more efficient and cohesive manner than I’ve ever seen. Lead by Head Coach Tokey Hill and Team Leader Brody Burns, staff coaches Tommy Hood, John Limcaco, and Akira Fukuda went above and beyond the call to make sure the athletes had what they needed to succeed. National Coach Dustin Baldis even came down on his own dime to support the team and worked with the coaches to assist. Brody did a fantastic job in his first outing as Team Leader and prepared each day perfectly from meals to training space to transportation. It was a team effort and each one of the staff stepped up and delivered their best.

One of the things that impressed me the most was how this team came together more than any I’ve seen in recent years. They were there for each other supporting their teammates at every step of the way. It truly felt like Team USA and not a group of individuals. It was amazing just to be a part of it.

Our total results were as follows:

Day One

  • Cheryl Murphy – Gold Medal – -68kg Kumite
  • Tom Scott – Gold Medal – -75kg Kumite
  • Eimi Kurita – Bronze Medal – -61kg Kumite
  • Troy Hirshkorn – Fifth Place – -84kg Kumite
  • Adam Older – Fifth Place – -84kg Kumite
  • Mackenzie Rahaim – Seventh Place – -61kg Kumite

Day Two

  • Sakura Kokumai – Gold Medal – Female Kata
  • Brandis Miyazaki – Gold Medal – -60kg Kumite
  • Mina Yamazaki – Silver Medal – Female Kata
  • Brian Ramrup – Silver Medal – -67kg Kumite
  • Shannon Nishi – Bronze Medal – -55kg Kumite
  • Brian Mertel – Fifth Place – -67kg Kumite
  • Jenna Weber – Fifth Place – +68kg Kumite

Day Three

  • Cheryl Murphy – Gold Medal – Open Kumite
  • Tom Scott – Gold Medal – Open Kumite
  • Eimi Kurita, Shannon Nishi, Cheryl Murphy & Jenna Webber – Silver Medal – Women’s Team Kumite

Total Results

  • 6 Gold
  • 3 Silver
  • 2 Bronze
  • 4 Fifth Place
  • 1 Seventh Place

This is a great showing going into the World Championships this year in Paris. I believe this is going to be a year where it all comes together for USA Karate and we retake our place on the world stage!

 

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