Team All Stars dominated the individual fighting divisions at the event and Raymond Daniels is back!
Compete Nationals is a NASKA 6A rated event that was held February 22-24, 2013 in Ontario, California near to Disneyland. The weather was mild and the event attracted a number of martial arts celebrities like Mike Chat, Steve Terada and Disney XD’s Leo Howard. One of the highlights of the event was the return of superstar competitor Raymond Daniels. Daniels injured himself early in 2012 by tearing his achilles heel and spent the better part of the year recovering. Compete Nationals was his comeback event and he, along with this Team All Stars, were quite the presence.
Team All Stars nearly dominated all men’s fighting from individual point divisions to teams. Robbie Lavoie of Canada eliminated Team Paul Mitchell’s Justin Ortiz to win the men’s lightweight grands and go to stage. Jack “Iceman” Felton overcame Zsolt Moradi of Team Paul Mitchell to win the men’s middleweight grands and Jamal Albini defeated Cass Sigmon of Team Paul Mitchell to take the heavyweight grands. Daniels opted to acknowledge his age and compete in the 30-39 year old division. He defeated teammate Ryan Huntley and had a hard and exciting fight against Gerald Dawson to win the 30 and over grand championship title. This set the stage for a Team All Stars-only finals for men’s point sparring.
Entering into the finals, Team Paul Mitchell found itself in the unusual position of underdog with no representation in individual point sparring, Paul Mitchell’s only chance was in men’s teams where Cass Sigmon, Zsolt Moradi and Laszlo Gombos would face the Team All Stars line-up. Cass Sigmon redeemed himself with a great fight against Jamal Albini that ended with Team All Stars having a healthy 5 point lead over All Stars following round one. Although Jack Felton was able to gain back a few points in his match with Laszlo Gombos, Paul Mitchell was still ahead by 3 points going into the final round. Raymond Daniels had difficulty getting around the lead leg of Zsolt Moradi and his spin kicks were not scoring. In the end, Moradi held onto the lead and Paul Mitchell ended up by two points to stop the All Stars drive for dominance.
Gerald Dawson made a bit of history in teams by fighting with his sons at his side making for quite the father-son bonding experience. Dawson also put on a great performance against Daniels in the executive men’s grands which served as his announcement that he is also back. With both Daniels and Dawson fighting in the 30 and over divisions this year, the executives will definitely be divisions to watch.
Compete is known for some big demo team divisions and 2013 was no exception with Red Dragon teams garnering most of the top honors and demonstrating their skills on stage. Team Emig’s Tyler Weaver and Mackensi Emory received the highest scores during the day for synchronized teams. However, during the night time finals, Team BringIt’s Jae and Sage Sweeny were awarded the honors for their blindfolded traditional routine. The Sweeny’s have won this division in the past two NASKA events and appear to definitely be bringing it.
Dallas Liu and Danny Etkin continue to make waves in the kids 13 and under divisions. Liu’s crazy form routine was the overall winner and Etkin amazed everyone with his chuck routine to win in weapons. A rare bo drop by Jackson Rudolph opened the door for traditionalist Reid Presley to get the 14-17 weapons win. Sammy Smith made a mistake in her weapons routine but she was en fuego in forms and took home the win for her age group.
Team Paul Mitchell got great results from their female members as Chelsey Nash came out and won her first grand championship of the year in women’s sparring, defeating Florida’s Robyn Lebuffe. Caitlin Dechelle was a double grand champion winner in women’s forms and weapons.
Paul Mitchell couldn’t seem to get anything started in the men’s forms and weapons divisions. Sen Gao – the weapons winner from AKA’s surprised Micah Karns and Jarrett Leiker by taking the men’s forms grands. Austin Crain moved to adults was in the finals for weapons along with teammates Kyle Montagna and Austin Jorgensen, all representing Team Paul Mitchell. However it was Stephen “Thor” Grasz’s traditional sword routine that took the win.
Although Raymond Daniels garnered most of the attention at the event. It was the quiet force of Jack “Iceman” Felton that deserves more attention as he stopped Raymond Daniels by taking the overall win in a close match for men’s sparring grands.