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Karate Club has outstanding showing

March 6, 2003

By Rich Vana

The Baylor Karate Club was remarkably successful last weekend at the Amateur Athletic Union regional qualifying tournament in Arlington.

Twelve members of the 38-person club achieved medal-winning performances, with several members winning up to three medals. The team's showing, however, was not unexpected.

'We've had so many people training really hard,' said Sergio Dubois, a Sugar Land sophomore and president of the Karate Club. 'We just cleaned up.'

Among the most impressive performances were those of Raul Gutierrez, a Laredo junior; Chris Tan, a Missouri City, Texas, junior; Raphe Brackney, a Waco sophomore; Ashley Wickell, a Derby, Kan., sophomore, and Dubois. All came home with three medals, and of those, five were gold.

The tournament, which focused on individual skills rather than team points, was a steppingstone for several members of the Baylor team.

As a result of several outstanding performances, many of the club's members will be traveling to New Orleans for the regional tournament.

'We expect to take four to seven members to the tournament,' said James Melton, a lecturer in the human performance and recreation department and the club's sensei.

Those who qualify in New Orleans will attend the AAU Nationals in North Carolina in July.

'I fully expect to do well in New Orleans,' Melton said. 'Most of the people who go down there have to work extra hard because they know that's the highest level of competition.'

However, because of time constraints, several members of the team will be unable to attend the tournament.

Though the club officially meets three times a week for a total of six hours, the enthusiasm of the members exceeds the stated practice times.

'We end up showing up five or six times a week,' Dubois said. 'We can be up there for 10 to 12 hours a week.'

The club is unique in that it asks students to work so hard.

'Our senior students really help out the students that have only been here a little while,' Melton said.

The Baylor Karate Club has been on campus since 1971 and has recently gained many members.

'In the past year we've gained about 15 to 20 members,' Dubois said. 'We've doubled our membership.'

Though the club now has 38 official members, others train with them unofficially.