United States changes the team with new stars
(June 26, 2019) — The 2019 Pan American Games Taekwondo team fight-off concluded on Sunday at USA Taekwondo’s Center of Excellence in Colorado Springs with the eight-member sparring team and historic five-member poomsae team being selected. The Pan American Games taekwondo competition will take place July 26-29.
Ten members of the team will compete for the first time in the Pan American Games in a team led by Paige McPherson
Qualifying for the sparring team were Monique Rodriguez (Orlando, Fla.) in the female -49kg, Anastasija Zolotic (Largo, Fla.) in the female -57kg, Paige McPherson (Sturgis, S.D.) in the female -67kg and Madelynn Gorman-Shore (Littleton, Colo.) in the female +67kg. All four were members of the 2019 World Championship team.
McPherson will be returning for her third straight Pan American Games and will be gunning for her third medal. She won silver at the 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, and gold at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto, Canada.
Zolotic,is riding the wave of recent success at major international events. Just 16, she won gold at the 2018 Junior World Championships, silver at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games and bronze at the recent World Taekwondo Grand Prix in Rome.
The men’s sparring team will consist of Pan American Games newcomers David Kim (Winston-Salem, N.C.) in the -58kg, CJ Nickolas (Brentwood, Calif.) in the -68kg, Thomas Rahimi (Irving, Texas) in the -80kg, and Jonathan Healy (Spring, Texas) in the +80kg. As with the women’s team, all four were on this year’s World Championship squad.
Earning spots in the first-ever poomsae competition at a Pan American Games were Alex Lee (Fullerton, Calif.), Karyn Real (Diamond Bar, Calif.), Andrew Lee (), Ethan Sun (Tustin, Calif.) and Saejin Yi (), members of Team Eagles.
Alternates for the women’s sparring team are Sommer Jones (Las Vegas, Nev.) in -49kg, Desirae Rolaff (McKinney, Texas) in -57kg, Ara White (Largo, Fla.) in -67kg and Hannah Keck (Plano, Texas) in +67kg.
The men’s sparring alternates are Damian Villa (Los Angeles, Calif.) in -58kg, Alejandro Chang (Ashburn, Va.) in -68kg, Jaysen Ishida (Waikele, Hawaii) in men’s -80kg and Hanssel Llanos (Dallas, Texas) in +80kg.
NOTE: The 2019 U.S. Pan American Taekwondo Team is subject to approval by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee.