This very weekend, Camanche junior Dylan Haubrich will be headed to Colorado Springs. That’s because on Monday, he’s slated to compete in an elite event.
Colorado Springs is home base for USA Taekwondo, including their training facilities. Haubrich was invited to the U.S. Grand Slam Series, which in an invitation only event that brings together the best in taekwondo from all over the nation.
“Not going to lie, I wasn’t really expectingit because I haven’t done too many nationally ranked tournaments,” Haubrich said. “I guess I made the cut.”
Part of that included competing at the 2019 U.S. National Championships in Minneapolis, where Haubrich placed seventh.
He’s been sparring for years now, starting taekwondo when he was just eight. Starting out, it was just one of the activities he did with other Camanche sports also taking up part of his free time.
“It’s a lot different,” Haubrich said. “There are probably three kids between the middle school and high school who do taekwondo. It was difficult sometimes going from one practice to taekwondo.”
Eventually it became clear to him that he had a talent for the sport and he made it a priority. Throughout most of high school, Haubrich began training in Olympic sparring and conditioning five days a week.
There have been challenges for Haubrich. He and his family travel a ton, not just for national and regional tournaments, but also just for training. They go north to work with Grandmaster Jon Kim in Wisconsin and he trains with John Szyowski out of St. Louis.
Other than that he works with Dave and Wanda Ludemann at Impact Martial Arts in the town and does conditioning with Jorge Landa Rodriguez, the executive director of Gateway Area Community Center and the boxing coach at Del Sol Boxing
He’s also of smaller build, just standing very tall. He competes in the 48-kg weight class, which is 100-105 pounds.
“The biggest challenge is my height,” Haubrich said. “It’s a really lengthy sport so a lot of taller kids and I’m the opposite side of that.”
His build also gives him speed, and that’s one of the things he takes pride in. He also touts his IQ.
Those are the two things he focuses on as strengths.
“Speed kind of came natural but you always have to keep up with it, fire and fast kicks,” Haubrich said. “IQ is also natural, but I watch a lot of film of Olympians fighting.”
Conditioning is a huge part of what he does as well. A former member of the Camanche cross country team, he’s no stranger to long and grueling workouts. that can work in his benefit when he’s at the end of a long fight.
“I’ve never lost a fight from being tired,” Haubrich said.
Jorge Landa Rodriguez handles a lot of that here in town.
“His cardio and conditioning [sets him apart],” Rodriguez said. “One round of boxing is about the cardio equivalent of five miles. That puts into perspective of what these kids are doing.”
Rodriguez is just one of the coaches who are pouring time into Haubrich, and to him it’s easy to see why.
“A lot of people see the talent and see the potential, and we know with his aspirations he can make it to where he needs to be,” Rodriguez said. “He gets 100 of what he puts into it.”
Being just one of ten kids invited to be in his division for this next even is something Haubrich is excited about. He has goals to make a national and Olympic team in the future and invitationals like this earn him points towards being considered for those coveted spots.
He loves the sport but knows he still has work left to do.
“The adrenaline when I’m fighting ... it’s kind of addicting,” Haubrich said. “I think I have to keep training like I am and even harder, just stay focused.”
This weekend will certainly help with experience that he’ll need down the road. Haubrich says he is also always looking for support, such as community sponsorships.
His coaches certainly have seen what he can do. He’s already proved he has talent. Now, it’s just time to see how far he can go.
“He took it one his own to start building himself and made sure he sought out the right people,” Rodriguez said. “He’s hungry, he wants it. That’s what it takes. He just needs the support. It’s not a matter of if – it’s a matter of when he becomes a world champion.”