03 August 2011
Nine athletes from Fluvanna County competed at the USA Karate National karate tournament in Arlington, Texas from July 14 to July 17. These athletes, who train under Rob Silverman at LM Karate Academy, located on Rt.53 just outside Lake Monticello, gained 11 gold medals, 9 silver medals and 5 bronze medals.
Leading the way for this contingent were Shannon Clarke, Kelsey Silverman and Amber Lyon. These three young women all finished in first place in their respective age and weight classes in the advance level competition in the fighting discipline of Kumite. As a result, all three athletes made the U.S. Junior National Karate Team. They also gained number one cede status in the U.S. in their age group and weight class.
Shannon Clarke has been competing in Karate since she was 3-4 years old. This year she was competing in the 12-13 age group at the advanced level. This was her first year of competition at this level. She had just become old enough and had just gained a high enough ranking to compete for the national title at the advanced level. By winning this event, Clarke becomes one of the two U.S. athletes in her age and weight group who will compete in the Pan American games in Brazil.
Kelsey Silverman, is Coach Rob Silverman’s daughter. She has been competing in karate since she was three years old. This year she won first place in the 14-15 age group. This is her third year on the U.S. National Team. In 2009 she competed for the U.S. in the Pan Am games in El Salvador, and last year she won a silver medal at the Pam Am games in Canada. Now she has qualified for a third Pan Am competition. She will also be competing for the U.S. in the Junior World Championships which will be held in Malaysia.
Amber Lyon has been competing in karate since she was seven years old. This year she won gold in the 18-20 age group. Like Kelsey Silverman, she was on the U.S. team that competed in El Salvador in 2009. Last year, she was an alternate for the team that competed in Canada. With her win at the competition in Arlington, Texas, she too will now be competing in Brazil and in Malaysia.
Lyon also competed in the 18-34 open competition, which, in an Olympic year would determine the US Olympic competitor. She reached the finals in this category and was defeated in the final by Cheryl Murphy, a karate athlete who has been written up in Sports Illustrated, and who is something of a legend in the US karate community.
In addition to these competitors, Blaise Silverman, competing in the intermediate boys’ seven year old age bracket, brought home a gold medal in weapons competition (Kobudo) and silver medals in the form competition (Kata), and the Kumite competition. Trinity Haynes competing at the advanced level in the ten year old age bracket won silver and bronze medals. Gage Silverman competing in the eleven year old bracket scored a second place finish in the weapons competition.
In their first year of competition, Lucas and Hunter Reny were able to win first and second place respectively in their beginner level competition in the twelve year old boys age group.
The only adult competitor that went to Arlington from LM Karate was Charlene Price. She competed in the 35 and over age group, and came home with two silver medals and a bronze medal.
Coach Rob Silverman said that that his students are usually competing against karate athletes from places like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Honolulu. Most of these competitors have never heard of Palmyra, Virginia.
However, with results like those detailed above it is clear that Silverman and his local athletes are putting Palmyra, Virginia on the national karate map. Silverman advises that he started out in karate competitions in New York at the age of four, “back before it was an Olympic sport.” He competed in the Nationals in 1981. He has been instructing in Palmyra since 1995.