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Excel students compete at Nationals

The 2006 American Taekwondo Association (ATA) Songahm World Championships Tournament was held June 21-26 in Little Rock, Ark.

During the tournament weekend, over 8,000 competitors from 16 countries and five continents gathered to showcase their expertise in five categories: forms, weapons, extreme forms, extreme weapons and sparring. 

Sixteen students from Excel Martial Arts Academy in Woodbury traveled to the location of the ATA International Headquarters, some to compete for the title of 2006 World Champion and all competed in the general open tournament. The group returned with 32 awards.

The festivities began with high rank testing, where Richelle Kondratowicz of Woodbury earned the rank of fifth-degree black belt. Following, those students that, due to the year's competition accomplishments were ranked as one of the Top Ten competitors in their class, competed for the prestigious title of "World Champion".

Sue Kondratowicz, fourth-degree black belt and director of Excel Martial Arts, finished second in the world in Free-Sparring. Mike Moh, a 2002 graduate of Woodbury High School and chief instructor, placed second in Weapons, Extreme Form, and Extreme Weapons competitions. Preston Langford, first-degree black belt and instructor trainee, placed third in Extreme Forms and Extreme Weapons competitions, and Certified Instructor, Richelle Kondratowicz placed second in Extreme Weapons competition. 

The event's opening ceremonies were held at Alltel Arena with an attendance of over 12,000 people.

There, Woodbury's Excel Demo Team took first place in Extreme team competition, winning the title of World Champion. The team consisted of Moh, Langford, R. Kondratowicz and Alyssa VanLandschoot, of Cottage Grove. Michael Moh also played the lead role of the King Tiger in the "Legend of Baeoh" opening ceremonies production.

Competitors from Excel Martial Arts in general competition were Daniel, Jenny and Bill Tolbert of Woodbury, Zeph and Dorothy Woodworth of Woodbury and Russ Zilles of Woodbury, along with Guy Harper of Oakdale (first in weapons), Lamberto Hornilla of Woodbury (first in forms, second in sparring, second in extreme forms), Mizelle Hornilla of Woodbury ( first in forms, second in weapons, first extreme forms), Alex Hovda of Woodbury (first in forms, first in extreme forms, second in extreme weapons), Craig Troska of Belle Plain (third in forms, second in weapons), Vanlandschoot (second in forms, second in sparring), R. Kondratowicz (first in weapons),   S. Kondratowicz (second in sparring), Langford (first in forms, second in weapons, first in extreme form, first in extreme weapons), and Moh (third in forms, first in weapons, first in extreme forms, first in extreme weapons).

With active membership exceeding 350,000 worldwide, including 53,000 black belts, the ATA is North America's largest martial arts organization dedicated to the discipline of taekwondo. It is also the founding organization of the World Traditional Taekwondo Union and the Songahm Taekwondo Federation with over 1,500 schools in the U.S. and abroad.

For more information on the 2006 World Championships, visit the ATA Web site at www.ataonline.com.

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