Kerns hoping third time is his charm...again
For the second time in Cameron Kerns’ young Taekwondo career, he hopes the third time is the charm.
The 14-year-old Taekwondo prodigy from Detroit Lakes will be trying out for the U.S. Junior National Team, and to qualify for the Junior World Taekwondo Championships.
It will be the third time Kerns will be vying for the honor, which is a similar path he took en route to his Minnesota State Taekwondo Championship in sparring at heavyweight, which he won this past year.
“Winning the state championship is an obvious confidence booster for me, it makes me feel I can do this in the Nationals,” Kerns said.
It took Kerns three times to earn his state title, after earning trips to the state finals twice, where he lost to Franklin Gates both times.
But in Kerns’ third try at Gates this past year, he dominated the Twin Cities competitor to win the state heavyweight title in the 12-14 year old division, by the score of 14-4.
Learning from his mistakes is what keyed Kerns’ victory over Gates, as well as gaining confidence.
“I lost to him twice by close scores, but I learned from those losses,” Kerns said.
Kerns, who has trained under Master Lucas Holzhueter at the Detroit Lakes Tae Kwon Do and Kumdo for the last six years, is a second degree Junior Black Belt.
He trains with Holzhueter four times a week, twice a day, and has more than shown the dedication and will to rise in the ranks of competitive Taekwondo in the nation.
“Cameron is very mature for his age, he is a 14 year old who is competing well in the 15-17 year old divisions,” Holzhueter said. “In his two losses against Gates, Cameron was kicked pretty hard a few times, which led to him losing by small margins.
“So I started to spar with him and he started to learn how to take those hard shots.”
Not including his two losses in the state finals the last four years, Kerns is undefeated in tournaments and is even holding his own in sparring against adult Black Belts.
He will also be testing for his adult Black Belt in May, along with his mother, Krischel Lyndsay.
After winning his state title, Kerns’ confidence is brimming as he heads to Colorado Springs, Colo., to try out in the light-heavyweight division for the USA Taekwondo Junior National Team, for which the trials are Jan. 12-15.
Including Kerns, there are six competitors in his bracket, with a single elimination format, meaning it’s a one shot deal.
Kerns’ height and reach will be an advantage, even though he will be sparring with older competitors in the Junior National Team trials.
“His height will be a big advantage,” Holzhueter said. “He does have a smaller frame, though, but he has spent a lot of time sparring versus adults, so that will be to his advantage, as well.”
Kerns’ last two attempts at the Nationals fell short, the last being a heartbreaker where he was up one point, but lost in the final three seconds.
But it was just another lesson learned for the DL freshman. His training over the last eight years will obviously come into play for his third try at the National trials, but so will his ability to stay in shape.
“Cardio will be a big thing at the trials,” Kerns said. “Focus also will be key, I’ll be the lightest competitor in the division, so I can’t let that bother me.”
Kerns is an aggressive, offensive fighter, who is adding strength and bulk to his slight frame, Holzhueter said.
“He has been adding more muscle with his kettle bell training, which will lead to his kicks being harder,” Holzhueter said. “His speed and quickness will also be an advantage.”
If Kerns survives the six-man bracket and wins, he will earn a berth in the 10th Annual Junior World Taekwondo Championships in Chinese Taipei, March 26-29.
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