Eagle River karate students kick it in Denver at nationals
Karate students Andrew Tooyak III, Aaron Tooyak and Abram Tooyak pose for a photo at the ISKF USA National Karate Tournament in Denver, Colo.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ANDREW TOOYAK III
Eagle River’s Andrew K. Tooyak III and Ryan Lavey recently won first-place medals at the ISKF USA National Karate Touranment in Denver Colo. on Nov. 5-6.
Tooyak won the Collegiate Men’s championship in Black Belt Kata (forms), while Lavey won the Boys 16-17 Black Belt Kumite (sparring) title.
The duo traveled to Colorado as part of the 12-member Alaska Region ISKF team under the guidance of head coach Charles Holness and overseer Anthony Nakazawa.
Tooyak said that team members train 3-4 times each week at the Alaska Moving Arts Center in Eagle River, with training ramping up to 5-6 times a week in the months leading up to nationals.
“Everybody loves karate, they love to train, they just love pushing themselves,” said Tooyak, who also took first place at least year’s event.
Of the team’s 12 members, nine hail from Eagle River.
Andrew Tooyak and Lavey weren’t the only top local performers at the event. Abram Tooyak was second in the Collegiate Men’s Black Belt Kumite, Dana Gay finished third in the Boys and Girls 12-13 Brown Belt Kumite division and Carolyn Arnold earned third place in both Kata and Kumite for Boys and Girls 12-13 Green and Purple Belts. All are from Eagle River.
Other team members from Eagle River included Jeremy Petrie, Kyle Lindsey, Scott Toms and Michael Tavoliero.
Andrew Tooyak, a 2005 Chugiak High grad and currently a student at Alaska Pacific University, said the team’s strong showing is proof that hard work pays off.
“It’s kind of the Alaskan spirit,” he said.