Competing in four competitions of the Texas Four Seasons Karate Championships, the Refugio Team edged out Richardson’s Family Karate School of El Campo by a near 130-point margin.
“The team has worked extremely hard this year and I couldn’t be more proud of them,” said Billy Swinney, instructor/team coach. “Last year when we took second, the team vowed to take the first place spot this year.”
The team was awarded their first place eight-foot trophy at the annual Coastal Bend Martial Arts Festival in Victoria this past Saturday.
Several team members also received top competitor awards including: Christopher Flores – Top White Belt Competitor of the Year, Troy Haug – Top Yellow Belt Competitor of the Year, Nallely Cordero – Top Orange Belt Competitor of the Year, and Billy Swinney – Top Black Belt Competitor of the Year. Swinney also received the Instructor of the Year Award for the second time in a row.
The highlight of the day for the team was senior belt Carlos Cordero testing for and receiving his Black Belt. Cordero, who has been part of the Refugio Karate Academy since 2001, passed his test for his black belt with a majority vote from 14 Master Black Belts from across South Texas. He is also the first black belt Swinney has produced in South Texas.
“It was a very emotional moment for the both of us,” Swinney said.
Cordero is the father of Adolfo Cordero, the placekicker of the Refugio Bobcat football team and a member of the Karate Team.
The Refugio Karate Team only has a short time for celebrating.
“We’ve got a full plate from December all the way through to summer 2013,” Swinney said.
Swinney will be departing for Buffalo, N.Y. for the National Blackbelt League World Games in mid-December to defend his World Championship. When he returns in January, the team will be extremely busy.
“We’ve got Victoria in late January, then in February we have New Orleans and our home tournament in Refugio,” he said.