On Friday two more Team VDK Elite members, their families and coach travelled to Des Moines, Iowa to competed in the AAU Jr. Olympics.

Elite Members Jacey Swopes and Hunter Malensek has been training very hard and competing against the best traditional karate competitors in the nation this year as they have been competing on the AAU Karate Circuit. Saturday was no different as again they were up against some very tough national karateka.

Jacey Swopes 10, daughter of Eric Swopes and Kassy Wynes is the Intermediate Competitor for Team VDK Elite. Jacey competed very hard and as a result found herself in the Final of the 10 Year Old Girls Traditional Weapons Division. Both competitors did really good forms but Jacey had to settle for Silver as the competitor from Chicago, Illinois took the Gold by one tenth of a point. Finals score 23.0 vs 22.9.

Jacey reset and got ready to compete in the 10 Year Old Girls Traditional Kata Division. Battle after battle Jacey got the vote from the judges. Jacey again found herself in the final facing the same young lady from the Windy City from the weapons rounds. Resolved and ready to do battle, Jacey brought everything she had to the mat and won the Gold with a 4 – 1 vote from the Judges.

Hunter Malensek 14, son of Robert and Brooke Malensek is the Advanced and Senior Member of Team VDK Elite. Hunter is a brown belt and has been training in Karate now for just under 4 years and competed in the 14 Year Old Boys Division. Hunter competed in probably the toughest division at the Jr. Olympics this year. A divition stacked with National and International Kata Champions. Competing as a brown belt and a 4 year student of the art is pretty daunting when the rest of your fellow competitors are all Black belts and have been training in Karate for eifgt to 10 years, but not for Hunter. Competing against talent like that just fuels his fire. Using and following a good game plan and battling thru every round Hunter set himself up well to be able to compete in both the Weapons and Kata finals. Forms were strong and on point for both competitors in the finals in Weapons and Kata. Hunter won a double Silver for Weapons and Kata and the young man from Aurora, Illinois representing Adamson Karate and Team USA won double Gold. Weapons Score 23.4 vs 23.0 and Kata Score 3 – 2.

Pictured: Hunter Malensek, Jacey Swopes and Coach Riaan Van Dyk.