Hudson resident wins gold medal at Las Vegas Open

Published:

Staff report

Four competitors from Hudson's Asian Sun Martial Arts won medals in the Las Vegas Open taekwondo tournament Nov. 9.

Top-ranked Hudson resident Vincie Ripepi defeated international competitor Kiki Rostand to win a gold medal in the men's welterweight division.

Ranked martial artists from all over the world competed in the tournament. The tournament is one of the more prestigious national martial arts tournaments.

The event was sanctioned by USA Taekwondo, the National Governing Body (NGB) for the sport of Taekwondo in the United States, as exclusively recognized by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). Grand Master George Tapia's Academy of Taekwondo & Hapkido hosted the event.

Weighing in at 176 pounds, Ripepi fought in the age 18-to-32 welterweight division (165-176 pounds). Ripepi earned a 14-7 victory.

"Vincie is definitely on a hot streak right now," said Grand Master Ryan Andrachik, Ripepi's coach and father. "He trains constantly, so it is great to see that all of his training and sacrifices are paying off."

In October, Ripepi was ranked third in points in the nation for welterweights in the National Sport Taekwondo Rankings as compiled by USA Taekwondo.

Ripepi is planning to compete in Colorado Springs at the Olympic Training Center for a spot on the USA Taekwondo National Team in January.

A fifth-degree black belt, Ripepi recently graduated from Hudson High School. He is a freshman at Kent State, where he studies exercise physiology.

Ripepi's previous major win was an upset victory at California's Jimmy Kim Invitational taekwondo tournament Sept. 28.

Asian Sun Hudson head instructor John Anderson won a bronze medal in the men's heavyweight division. The 6-foot-6, 280-pound Anderson, 29, also is expected to compete for a spot in the January Team USA tryouts.

Asian Sun Team Member Ryan Heerema won a bronze medal in the 12-14 cadet black-belt division. Hudson Asian Sun student Alexia Andrachik, 9, won a silver medal in the Forms competition (ages 8-9 division.

Forms are choreographed, standardized routines that measure precision, control, power and grace. Alexia is in the fourth grade at Hudson Montessori School. She also won a silver medal at the state qualifier in Columbus.

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