Colorado Muay Thai State Tournament
By Sean Madden
The prestigious Colorado Muay Thai State Tournament was held this year on Sunday, April 9th at the National Western Complex in Denver, Colorado. Teams from across the state came together to display their Muay Thai skills in the ring. This year Easton Denver and Boulder had 13 fighters representing our program:
- Joey Nitura, Easton Boulder
- Porshya Ragoschke, Easton Boulder
- Ian Roberts, Easton Boulder
- Brian Dwyer, Easton Boulder
- Liz Gerrity, Easton Boulder
- Gwen Dannenbaum, Easton Denver
- Megan Vucasovich, Easton Denver
- Norbert Lovato, Easton Denver
- Travis Williams, Easton Denver
- Melissa Burdette, Easton Denver
- Mari Nishida, Easton Denver
- Ivan Smirnou, Easton Denver
- Donald McSherry, Easton Denver
Our team put on a fantastic showing overall at the tournament! We had 11 of our 13 fighters take home medals, with about half of those becoming Colorado Muay Thai Champions! I am very proud of the hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and discipline our team showed over the course of 7 weeks to prepare for this event. The fighters did exactly what the coaching staff asked of them, and more.
A few that I would like to personally mention are Gwen Dannenbaum and Mari Nishida, who are teammates at the Denver gym. There was nobody in their respective weight classes (102lbs), so they agreed to do an exhibition bout, which turned out to be an amazing fight and a great display of Muay Thai! After 7 weeks of training, the last thing you want is to have to fight a teammate, but they graciously accepted and performed great. Liz Gerrity (Boulder) and Megan Vucasovich (Denver) were also in the same bracket. They both won their initial fights in dominating fashion and were set to face each other in the finals. We, as a team, had already agreed that if two teammates were to meet in the finals, we would bow out respectfully. However, according to tournament regulations, if the fighters elected not to compete in the finals, they would be disqualified. Megan and Liz both agreed to take the disqualification, rather than competing with their teammate over a medal.
I would also like to give Ian Roberts an honorable mention for receiving an incidental training injury less than two weeks from the tournament and still stepping into the ring to compete. His injury would have caused most people to pull out of the tournament, but he had his mind set and he had put in the work the past 6 weeks. Unfortunately, in his first fight, the injury would prove to be overwhelming and we made the choice to throw in the towel. Some things are simply out of our control, and this was one of them. Although Ian was clearly disappointed in the results, the coaching staff was very proud of him for how far he came in training and preparing for this event, and his willingness to step into the ring despite his injury. That is the fighting spirit that cannot be taught.
Easton Muay Thai showed, once again, why we are one of the top Muay Thai programs in the state. I had a number of coaches come up to me after the tournament and compliment me on our fighter’s style, technique, and execution in the ring. Regardless of the outcome of any of the fights, that alone makes me proud! Thank you to the coaching staff who helped prepare the fighters for this competition, and thank you again to the fighters for representing Easton Muay Thai so well in the ring!