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Staff reports

Students from JKO Karate in Garner earned the opportunity to compete at the USA Karate National Championships and Team Trials held in Greenville, S.C., from July 8 to July 11. The event drew competitors from across the country.
JKO student Michael Outlaw, an 11-year-old student at Aversboro Elementary School, qualified for the championships with only a few months of training and competition experience. Michael performed well against strong athletes, winning bronze medals both in forms and in fighting. Eight-year-old Vance Elementary School student Connor Dodge also worked hard for the chance to compete and brought home a bronze medal in forms.

“Our Garner athletes performed very well for their first national championships,” JKO instructor and USA Karate-certified coach Ed Craft said. “They handled themselves and the stress of an elite-level competition in an exceptional manner.”

In addition to Garner athletes, Craft also coached athletes from JKO clubs in California and Kentucky and earned another five gold medals and a bronze.