Hudson residents and Amateur Athletic Union team members Vincie Ripepi, Anja Gardziola, Noah Shanafelt, Izzy Collyer and Jordan Heppe, accompanied by Grandmaster Ryan Andrachik, traveled to San Luis Potosí, Mexico, to train with competitors from around the world April 19-22 at the La Loma Olympic Training Center.

For athletes with Olympic dreams, earning a spot on the AAU National Team is both an honor and a monumental achievement. With this honor comes opportunities to train with the best, as five athletes from Asian Sun Martial Arts of Hudson recently did in Mexico.

Taekwondo masters Vincie Ripepi and Anja Gardziola and students Noah Shanafelt, Izzy Collyer and Jordan Heppe, all members of the AAU Taekwondo National Team, were invited to train with other athletes from around the world at the La Loma Olympic training center in Mexico. Lead by Andrachik, the athletes trained with champions from around the globe, including several world champions.

After the training camp concluded, athletes had the opportunity to compete in the World Open at the La Loma Olympic Training Center, where Gardziola took silver and Shanafelt took gold.

The team plans to travel to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to compete at the AAU National Championship, which is scheduled to take place June 30. After earning a spot in the competition on the state level, they will be able to compete with athletes from around the country for national titles.

Master Gardziola and Master Ripepi are head instructors at Asian Sun Martial Arts, which has locations in Aurora, Beachwood, Broadview Heights, Green, Hudson, Medina, Montrose, Tallmadge, and Wadsworth. For more information about Asian Sun Martial Arts, call 330-650-6333 or visit