Two local taekwondo athletes win World Championships in Phoenix

Two champions celebrate: Master Kammas Kersch (left) and Dr. Stephanie McGann celebrate their respective World Championships together earlier this month. The two titles represent the first ever individual titles for the ATA West Chester school.

Two athletes with strong ties to Chester County both won World Championships at the American Taekwondo Association championships in Phoenix earlier this month — the individual titles were the first in history for the ATA School in West Chester.

Dr. Stephanie McGann — a Pocopson resident who owns and operates Rainbow Valley Dental in Valley — won the school’s first-ever World Championship July 10 by winning in X-Treme Weapons for her age group of 60 to 69. That event mixes taekwondo weapon moves with music in a highly challenging and entertaining event. A second degree black belt, Dr. McGann qualified for all eight events at the World Championships, winning one gold, two silvers and two bronze medals.

“It was an amazing experience,” Dr. McGann said. “My goal was to take one step forward this year — last year I won my first bronze medal at the World Championships, so my goal was to win at least one silver. To win — something I’ve dreamed about for many years — is unbelievably special to me. It’s a tribute to all the great teachers and instructors at the West Chester ATA — so many have helped me so much with this journey, so this championship is shared by many. Now the work begins to defend — and strive to win more titles in 2024.”

The school won its second-ever individual title just one day later when Master Kammas Kersch, a 6th degree black belt, won her first ever World Champion title in the Combat Weapons Sparring event. In this event, combatants spar with short padded sticks, which requires a mix of athleticism, strategy and speed. Master Kersch had to defeat the 2022 World Champion in the finals to bring home the title.

Kersch is a STEM Service Coordinator for the Chester County Intermediate Unit by day and has been involved in martial arts for more than 23 years and currently serves as an instructor at ATA West Chester.

“It is an incredible honor to be named a World Champion,” Master Kersch said. “This victory is the culmination of years of rigorous training, sacrifice, and the unwavering support of my instructors, teammates, and family. I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to compete alongside such talented martial artists from around the world.”

The 2023 World Championships, one of the most prominent events in the martial arts community, brought together elite competitors from all corners of the globe to compete for the coveted world champion title. The competition spanned several intense days of high-stakes matches, challenging participants to demonstrate their mastery of various martial arts events, including forms, sparring, weapons, and musical forms.

ATA is the world’s largest single style martial arts organization dedicated to promoting the growth and development of martial arts across the globe. With a strong emphasis on fostering sportsmanship, discipline, and camaraderie, they organize and host prestigious events that bring together the finest martial artists from diverse backgrounds.

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