Tyler Kennedy-Woolridge posing just after award ceremony. Photo by Brandon Noel

Tyler Kennedy-Woolridge, 15, placed in the top spot at Illinois State Championship held in Ottawa on March 16. A student at Evanston Township High School, Tyler took first place for sparring at the USA Tae Kwon Do (USAT) competition and now qualifies to attend Nationals.

USAT is recognized by the United States Olympic Committee as the national governing body for the sport of Taekwondo in the United States. Qualifying at state level is the first step Tyler needed to complete which could lead him to the Junior Olympics.

He is a Third Dan Black Belt (third degree) studies martial arts at the ChampYon Taekwondo School in Chicago, under the instruction of Senior Master Luciano Medina.  “I am really proud of Tyler,” said Mr. Medina. “Winning a gold medal at a USAT state championship takes hard work, tenacity, and a lot of practice. It is certainly not easy; but Tyler has a way of focusing on, and accomplishing, just about anything he sets his mind to. You don’t see that in many 15-year-olds,” he added. 

When asked how she felt about her son taking gold, Laverne Woolridge stated, “As a parent you want nothing but the best for your child, and that is what he gets at ChampYon. The entire staff are so dedicated to all their students, but when they placed that gold medal around Tyler’s neck, you would have thought he was ten-feet tall.”