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4 win black belt championships

Andalusia Isshinryu karate student Hogan Nichols (left) competes in a tournament in Shreveport, La. | Courtesy photo

Eighteen different schools competed for top honors at the South Alabama Karate Open Saturday at Straughn High School, but only four karate students left grand champions.

In the black belt division, championships were awarded in the youth, adult weapons, and women’s and mens’ fighting.

Sherman Peek of Montgomery won the youth black belt championship; Natalie Hale of Andalusia won the adult kata black belt championship; Sharon Joyner of Jay, Fla., won the women’s fighting grand championship; and Rick Murray of Atlanta won the adult men’s fighting grand championship.

“We had a good turnout,” Andalusia Isshinryu karate instructor Mark Rudd said. “Everything went real well for the tournament.”

Rudd said there were more than 60 local sponsors for the tournament.

“We gave out some of the nicest awards in the south Saturday,” he said.