Dakota Mclaren: State Games of America Athlete

The 2019 State Games of America is approaching fast. This year, the Meijer State games of Michigan is sending two athletes and their families to Virginia. Dakota Mclaren of Belding, Michigan was one of the athletes chosen for the opportunity to go to Lynchburg and compete in the State Games of America while receiving free registration, athlete meals at Liberty University’s Reber Thomas Dining Hall, and housing in Liberty University’s dorms. The outpouring of support Dakota received made him the most nominated athlete entered into the “Send an Athlete to State Games of America” contest.


To Dakota, this opportunity means that he will be able to experience competing on a larger level. He is excited to get to meet the athletes from other states and learn from them while getting to spend time with his family. He is so grateful for the love and support from his family and friends that he has received throughout the nomination process.

Without this award, I don’t think I would ever get to go down there and have the opportunity to compete on that level. This chance means more to me than I could ever find the words to say.

Dakota has spent so much time with his instructors and other taekwondo students that they have become his home away from home. Taekwondo is his escape from any bad days or stressful times he may find himself in. The sport and the athletes within it are a very meaningful part of Dakota’s life.

It’s like a second family. Whenever I’m having a rough day, I can always count on training turning everything around.

Now a senior in high school, Dakota aspires to join the police force and believes that his continued taekwondo training will be apart of that. He plans to keep practicing and competing for as long as he can. His inspiration to continue is drawn from one of his instructors who is still doing taekwondo at 80 years old.  He intends to compete in the Meijer State Games of Michigan again this year to practice for the State Games of America.


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