Manny DaCosta has had a successful season with his students from the Shotokan Karate School.

DaCosta, who acts as owner, coach and competitor at the school, took 15 students to a regional qualifier in Plano in May. The group came back with 21 medals and seven state champions.

Five of those students advanced to the USA National Karate Federation Championships which were recently held in West Virginia.

The championships tested the competitors in the two different facets of karate during the two-day event; Kata (the form) and Kumite (the fighting).

Ten-year-old Zofia Melrose returned as the USA National Kata champion. Devin Gordon, 16, won a silver and a bronze and DaCosta returned with a silver medal.

"It's a great opportunity for the children to be a part of the U.S. team," said DaCosta. "These students are participating at the national level of talent."

The two other participants at the national competition were Kaleb Kaluza, 7, and Akim Cherizard.

The public is invited to watch the students compete against others from around the state on Aug. 25 at the Killeen Civic Center in a tournament. The event will begin at 10 a.m. An international group from Japan will also be participating in the tournament,

DaCosta, who has been involved in karate for more than 25 years, just returned from the Pan American Shotokan Tournament in Costa Rica, where he finished third. Two other Texans, both from Houston, took first and second place.

"As a part of the U.S. team, Texans were well represented," DaCosta said.

The Shotokan Karate School offers an after-school karate program for students.

The school is located at 2201 W. Stan Schlueter Loop. For more information, call (254) 368-2311.

Contact Raegan Stanley at or (254) 501-7564.

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