Eagle River teen part of elite Taekwando team

By Mike Nesper

Alaska Star

Published: Saturday, Feb. 18 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

Perhaps the strangest exercise, Martin said, is snorkel training. That's where Martin plugs her nose and breaths through a snorkel while training to help increase lung capacity.

The Junior World team trials were the first time Martin competed with someone other than her father as her coach.

Nelson said Martin handled the transition with ease.

"When you give her a directive, she follows that directive," he said.

Nelson said Martin's intensity is her best attribute.

"She's kind of no nonsense," he said. "I love that attitude in a young athlete."

Nelson and the Martin family go back a ways. He and Trevor were part of the same U.S. national collegiate team in 1993.

"I was extremely honored to be able to coach his daughter," Nelson said. "I knew he trusted me with her. He knew I would take care of her as if she were my daughter."

Nelson will serve as Martin's coach in Egypt, and Trevor is tasked with training her. Martin said there's no better duo to have than the one she has in her corner.

"My dad trusts him to coach me, and he trusts my dad to train me," Martin said. "I'm very blessed with teachers and coaches."

Martin is no stranger to pressure.

She participated in her first national competition at age 6, and won gold in 2007. Martin, who's only missed nationals three times since her first competition, has medaled every time she's competed at nationals.

Egypt will provide the biggest challenge of her career, Martin said.

"There will be more on the line," she said. "Who you're representing is a lot bigger."

But that doesn't worry her a bit.

"I'm ready for it," she said. "I'm real excited I can represent the United States."

The biennial, five-day competition will be arduous, Nelson said.

"It's a grueling tournament," he said. "That's because it lasts so long."

Nelson said he's hoping 2010 champion Cheyenne Lewis can repeat her gold medal performance this year.

He's also eager to see a fresh U.S. face reach the podium.

"This might be Moriah's year to break in and be a world champion," he said. "She definitely has the skill to be a world champion."

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