Taylor Jones, an 18-year-old Hico High School student, recently won a championship at the Amateur Organization of Karate state meet in Montgomery while competing as part of Stephenville’s TNT School of Defense dojo.
Jones won the gold medal in the Tae Kwon Do Beginner Women’s Division for ages 16-17. She turned 18 two days before the tournament. She also was awarded a special jacket for earning the state title.
Jones took third place in the Kata (forms) competition for her age group in the tournament held Dec. 15-16 at La Torretta Resort.
Another member of the TNT dojo who placed in the state meet was was 58-year-old Elroy Martin, who won the bronze medal for third place in the 18-and-over Self Defense Division. Martin lives in Mingus but works in Stephenville.
Jones has trained under Troy Smith for 11 months at TNT School of Defense, and Jones is his first student to win a state championship. In the state tournament, Jones won all three of her matches.
In the title match, she was trailing by a 4-1 margin in points at the end of the first round, but ralled to win by an overall score of 9-6, Smith said.
Smith himself competed, and took a second place silver medal in the Executive Men’s Black Belt Division for ages 42 and over.
The tournament featured 520 competitiors in all divisions combined, and 51 state champions were crowned. Entrants from the state’s four designated regions qualified based on points compiled during the year.
Two others from TNT dojo competed in the meet, both in the 12-13 age group of the Beginner Girls Division, and both placed. Klancy Hammons earned fifth place and Jaiden Stone took seventh place.