History made: Wallace becomes Alto’s first Karate Swarm Team State champ

by Cristin Parker cristin@thecherokeean.com

Alto Yellowjackets’ Swarm Karate Team member Cassie Wallace kicked and punched her way to becoming a champion recently.

Wallace won her championship ring in the 14-17 female beginner division at the Texas Karate Organization (TKO) League’s 21st annual Martial Arts Expo and State finals, held Nov. 15-16 in Houston, after competing and winning in six other championship tournaments. She won championships in the T-Force Internationals; Ocean’s Nationals; Black Mountain Open; and Chuck Norris C-Force Game of Champions.

She’s now looking forward to the 2020 season, as she seeks the top spot in the World championships, to be held in Reno, Nev., and Walt Disney World in Florida.

According to the official rules of the League, in order to compete at the State Championship level, students had to first advance in one of two qualifier tournaments earlier in the year by placing in the top three of their respective divisions of sparring, individual or team kata or weapons. This achievement then earned them the opportunity to compete at the Regional Championship level, against the top competitors in their area. Students once again had to place in the top three to earn a spot at the State Championship.

Wallace got her start in karate and other martial arts, when three-time World Karate Champion Master Derrick Chancellor started a new after school program for kids in Alto.

“We started out with about 60 kids at the beginning and only one student stayed and continued...,” Chancellor said.

Wallace then joined the TKO League, run by League World Championship title holder Wayne Nguyen. He also starred as the “White Ninja” in the 1992 Chuck Norris movie, “Sidekicks.”

“Our goal is to promote and elevate sport martial arts and we are glad to see that more and more dojos and competitors are getting involved,” Nguyen stated on the website, tkoleague.com. “When our elite athletes are successful in fulfilling their dreams our society benefits from the inspiration these athletes give us.”

Wallace also competes with Kickstart for Kids, a non-profit martial arts character development program formed by Chuck Norris on Aug. 16, 1990, as the Kick Drugs Out of America Foundation.

“In 1992, with the help of former President George H.W. Bush, the program was officially implemented in four schools in the Houston area,” the organization’s website states. “Today, the program operates in more than 59 schools throughout Texas.” The program is taught in mostly middle/junior high schools and some high schools. They currently serve more than 9,500 of today’s youth, making a positive impact in their lives by teaching character through karate.”

Wayne Chancellor contributed to this article.