Two years into the sport of taekwondo, Derek Landgrebe has amassed a trophy case full of trophies and medals. The 14-year-old Newton boy became a quad title holder in Iowa state competition.
On June 1, Landgrebe captured a triple crown — first place in forms, first place in weapon forms and first place in combat weapons — at the 2013 District Championships-North Division of the American Taekwondo Association. He placed third in sparring for his age group. The tournament was at Lakeville, Minn.
“It was a sport I thought I’d like to try,” Landgrebe said. He begins his freshman year at Newton Senior High School in a few days. He said he has played football, wrestling, track and plans to play golf this fall at NHS.
Landgrebe began working in taekwondo in March 2011 and earned his black belt recently on July 29. Landgrebe is a member of Triumph Marital Arts Club in Newton. A year ago, he began the work toward the quad state title.
At the 2012 Worlds AAA class in Little Rock, Ark., Landgrebe came away with a second place finish in the sparring and was first in combat weapons. In August 2012, he placed second in combat weapons at the ATA Class A tournament in Allan, Texas.
“It’s a challenging sport, and you get to learn a whole bunch of new moves, and the tournaments are fun,” Landgrebe said. “My favorite division is combat weapons and weapon forms.”
In another Class A tournament in Kansas City, Mo., on Nov. 10, 2012, Landgrebe won the forms division, where competitors perform taekwondo techniques in front of judges, plus was third in sparring and second in combat weapons. A week later in the 2012 Class C tournament in Pleasant Hill, he was the champion in forms, sparring and combat weapons.
Landgrebe began 2013 competitions at the Class B tournament in Sioux City, winning forms again. He placed second in weapons forms and combat weapons and third in sparring.
On April 27, Landgrebe completed the quad title in winning not only forms by weapons at the 2013 Class B tournament in Bellevue/Omaha, Neb. He was second in combat sparring.
“Derek is pretty determined and there’s a lot of mental toughness to him,” said David Hobbs, instructor at Triumph Marital Arts of Newton. “In a tournament, Derek does have to go up against kids, who are bigger but the same age as he is, and he does a good job.”
Landgrebe has had to deal with being a Type 1 diabetic since he was in fifth grade. He said as long as he does what he is supposed to do, the diabetes is not a problem for him. He said being active helps him control his diabetes.
The top 10 finishers from each state are invited to compete in the ATA district championships. There are five states in the North Division district — Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa. The tournament was in Minnesota in June.
Landgrebe is the son of Danielle Lester and Mike Druyff.