POULSBO — The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Master Victor Solier, the head instructor at Solier’s Taekwondo in Poulsbo, has been a busy man lately; he has been named as the head coach of the Washington State taekwondo team, and has been orchestrating a move for Solier’s Taekwondo from its current location on Viking Way to the former home of Liberty Bay Dance Works, also on Viking Way.
But one constant has remained: medals. Solier’s students recently returned from a trip to state competition in Seattle, where they claimed a total of 46 medals.
“They did really well,” said Solier, whose students competed with 500 competitors in the Seattle Convention Center to earn their wins.
Solier said the students, many of whom had to do well to qualify for Junior or Senior Nationals, have been putting in extra hours to get ready for state. “Our kids are experienced They know how to win. They know all the work that goes into it,” said Solier.
Several of the martial artists who travelled to state competition were familiar with it; some took the trip for the first time.
Joe Parker, who made his first trip to state after joining the taekwondo club this winter, was participating in his first taekwondo tournament ever. He brought back a first-place medal in sparring (giroogi) and a second place in forms (poomse), where students demonstrate various taekwondo moves.
“It was more intense than I expected,” said Parker, who drew a draw in his first match and fought only one opponent. “The fighting was very fast.”
The gold medalist laughed. “I was huffing and puffing between rounds,” he said.
Students and instructors were pleased with the convention center. (This is the first time the competition has been held there.)
“It was run really well, and there was quite a bit of room,” said 13-year-old competitor Dylan Heckl, who claimed third place in his division for forms and first for fighting.
Other medalists included Menci Leonard, Kace Ugles (who claimed first place in both fighting and forms), Sophia Leonard, Jennifer Berry, Jon Colyer, Cirsten Severin, Darlene Dang, Arissan Ugles, Levi Scaggs, Brad DeShano, Stephanie Hutchings, Daniel Dang, Victoria Hutchings, Kenneth McManus, Elijah DiStefano, Dylan Heckl, Erin McManus, Jerame Vaughan, Joshua Vaughan, James Smith, Rachel Rebar, Sarita Solier, B.J. Vaughan, Joe Parker, Chris Moore, Butch Peters, and Marc Lasof.