|Local Athlete, The Best Coast to Coast|
Devoria Whitaker traveled to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida from July 2- 7 to claim another national title in Olympic sparring-and she did just that. After a gold medal performance and a couple of days rest, Devoria was back on the road again and heading to San Jose, California to compete again.
Devoria arrived in California several days before her competition dates to begin her daily training with her coach and teammate, Marcus Munday. "It's important to me to keep up with my training while I am traveling, it helps keep me mentally in the game," claims the young athlete. "I was feeling confident after winning my division at the AAU Nationals and wanted to keep my momentum, so everyday Marcus and I ran, watched sparring, did paddle drills and tried to stay focused."
"These two national events bring together the strongest competitors in the nation," states coach Jennifer Hastings.
"And Devoria has certainly prove she is one of them." While in San Jose, Devoria claimed two gold medals for her performances in the forms event as well as her sparring event.
Joe Whitaker, Devoria's father, enrolled Devoria in the Xtreme Training Center two years ago after a friend referred him to the center. Joe, a nationally ranked boxer, realized early on that his daughter had an instinctive competitive nature. "After a few weeks of classes, I could see she really liked taekwondo and had some potential." Shortly thereafter, Devoria was traveling with Team Xtreme and competing as a team member.
"Devoria is mentally tough, physically gifted and has incredible drive and determination," claimed Hastings. "She has accomplished so much in such a short period of time. Devoria has competed nationally and internationally and has performed beyond my expectations, she just continues to improve."
What's next for this young star? After a couple of days rest, she will be back on the mat preparing for her next competition!