Students win grand champion award

Students Maria Jones and Camron Marciniak of the Tri-County Karate Academy of Ridgway recently attended a Tang So0 Do Region 22 Tournament and were awarded the grand champion title in the male and female category under 16 years old. Jones is the daughter of David and Judi Jones of Wilcox and Marciniak is the son of Dave and Jane Marciniak of Johnsonburg. The grand champion title is awarded to the student who has the most point values combined from each category including sparring, forms and weapons.    Holding first place in sparring and two second places in forms and weapons, Marciniak, eight-years-old took home the grand championship. “I was just so surprised,” Marciniak said. “I thought somebody with a higher (belt) rank won.”The surprise was the same for Jones who placed first in all three categories. “This was the first time I ever won one,” Jones said. “I didn’t think I would’ve won, but it was fun.”Both students have been practicing Tang Soo Do before they entered in kindergarten. Marciniak, who currently is in second grade, says he started karate because he thought it would be a fun sport. Marciniak currently holds a brown belt and is halfway to achieving his black belt. Jones is presently in fourth grade and has a red belt, and says karate has helped her in do better in school. “I joined because when I was in kindergarten I wasn’t a very good student,” Jones said. “And my mom wanted me to learn discipline.” Her mother, Judi Jones adds, “I wanted her to channel her energy. The studio is so dedicated and Master Rick Panabianco is really great with them.”Pick up a copy of the Saturday, March 17, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.