Nathan Gould, Jordan Dyer and T.J. Bright all earned medals at the national tournament.
Earlier in July, several of the tournament team members from Chris Welbon Karate in Plant City headed to Greenville, South Carolina for the AAU Karate Nationals tournament, a competition in which 17 members of the team secured medals.
In total, the team returned with 11 gold, 13 silver and 10 bronze medals.
Following the dojo’s most-anticipated tournament of the year, three members of the tournament team then took to Houston, Texas later in the month for the Junior Olympics.
Nathan Gould, 15, Jordan Dyer, 13, and T.J. Bright, 9, all received medals at the event.
Gould competed in four events and earned one gold medal and two bronze. While Gould medaled in three of his four events, he did so despite participating as a brown belt in a division alongside black belts in just his first year of competing.
Dyer, the lone black belt of the three competitors, competed in four events and received three silver medals and one bronze.
Bright competed in four events and won four gold medals, coming off of an AAU Nationals performance in which he also won gold in each of the three events that he competed in.
“I know what I need to get to, I know what I need to fight for,” Gould said about competing against black belts. “I didn’t do great but I put up a fight, which is what I wanted to do.
Following the competition was Team Trials, where participants in the advanced division — denoting four or more years of competing — can be selected based on their results and performance to compete for a chance to represent their country as a part of their junior world team.
Following the trials, Dyer was selected to the junior world team where she will head to Romania in September to represent the United States in kumite, or fighting.
“Its a dream for these kids,” Welbon said. “Because she started as a beginner competitor, she started as a white belt. We’ve had several other students in the dojo that have been picked for teams so she’s seen them go off and win and compete and do well, so it’s always been a dream of hers to be able to do that. She was able to be successful and reach one of her goals.”