August 6, 2001
Leota student is national champ
Rudy Ruiz, a 14-year-old Leota Junior High School 8th grader, brought home the gold medal from Tampa, Fla., the site of the 2001 U.S. Junior Olympic Taekwondo Championships.
The U.S. Junior Nationals were held during the first week of July. Ruiz, a 2nd degree black belt, competed against athletes from across the U.S. and Puerto Rico in sparring. Ruiz fought and won five matches, his final match against the California state champion.
Ruiz won the Gold medal in sparring at the 2001 Washington State Taekwondo Championships, held in Seattle in March.
Ruiz has competed nationally since 1995. He received his 1st degree black belt in 1996 and his 2nd degree black belt in December 2000.
He has trained at Hwang's Taekwondo in Kirkland for the past eight years, under the director of Grand Master Sun Do Hwang, a 7th degree black belt and ten time Korean National Champion.
Ruiz has been an instructor at the school since October 1997. Ruiz's immediate plans are to compete in Canada in November and at the U.S. Open in Orlando, Fla., in February 2002.