Monday, July 4, 2016

Lacrosse Goalie Gets a Kick Out of Taekwondo

By 9 News, 07/04/16

Students at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute working out with Caela McCartney
ARVADA - In some sports, the pain is absolutely worth the gain -- especially when the reward is a black belt. Just ask Ralston Valley's Caela McCartney. After seven years of strict training, the junior finally achieved Taekwondo's highest rank.

"It's really tough," McCarney said. "You have to go through each belt, then you have to wait awhile for your next test for each."

While McCartney has seen the firsthand benefits of the Korean martial art, her black belt means more than just self-defense. Since taking up lacrosse her freshman year of high school, McCartney has found Taekwondo has directly improved her performance in her other sport.

"I think if I didn't do [Taekwondo], I wouldn't be on varsity," she said.

After the goalie of her freshman team quit unexpectedly, McCartney stepped in to play the remaining games. This year, she was given the opportunity to compete for the starting position on the varsity team after it lost its keeper. Caela's performance impressed the coaches, and their faith in her could be seen on the field. In her first full season of lacrosse, Caela helped lead her team to the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs.

"I think our defense was probably one of the strongest," she said. "This year since we connected well together, I think we played way better as a team."

Of course, natural ability has something to do with it. But McCartney will also argue, Taekwondo has given her an edge -- especially in net.

"[In Taekwondo] we do 'side stance,' which is the position I'm in for goalie. Since I was used to being in side stance and having fast motion with the side stance, it helped," she said.

McCartney's work with a bow staff has also helped her reflexes with a goalie stick. The benefits have become so obvious, even her lacrosse coaches have taken notice.

"They try and incorporate a little bit of Taekwondo stuff into it to help me understand what I have to improve on," she said.

Her martial arts training has also improved McCartney's mental toughness. She has developed a fearless attitude in net and isn't very sensitive to pain, which is reflected in their 12-4 record this past season. Still, that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.

"I get more bruises at lacrosse than anything," she said.

McCartney hopes to continue both sports through high school, in addition to playing in the Ralston Valley marching band. Her ultimate goal is to now play lacrosse in college.

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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