HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — At the age of fourteen, most eighth graders’ top priority is their friends or what they’re going to do on the weekends.
That’s not the case for one Southwest Middle Schooler who’s setting herself up for something bigger.
“I never expected to be doing Taekwondo,” Abigail Skrabak said. “I expected to be like a dance or gymnastics girl.”
Abigail’s journey to Taekwondo wasn’t exactly a traditional route. At five years old, her friend had a coupon for a free class. She decided to try it and never turned back.
“I went to the class, and I took it, and I was like, ‘I love it. I want to do it,'” she said. “My parents were like, ‘are you sure you want to do this?’ And I was like, ‘yes. I like it after one class.'”
One 45-minute class transformed into nine years and three black belts. Abigail is now training five to six days a week both virtually and in-person
“She possesses the attitude. She’s got the heart. She’s got the drive,” said her instructor, Master Bernard Posey.
Mix talent with work ethic, and Abigail has now won many competitions. This has earned her the ranking of number one in the country for her division.
“Being number one…that’s important. But I always know that can easily be taken away,” she said. “I have to train just as hard and can’t just take that as…’I’m number one. I can win everything.’ I have to think about, ‘there’s always someone that’s behind me that could easily catch up.'”
“She sees it. She wants it. She goes and grabs it,” Master Posey said. “That’s the thing that separates her from everybody else. When she wants it, she’s gonna put in the effort to get it. And she does that every single time.”
Every. Single. Time. Including this past February when she qualified to be on Team USA.
“I guess I was just excited,” Abigail said. “I’ve trained since I was nine, and when I was nine, I didn’t know there was a Team USA.”
“You’re representing your country. There’s pride. You know what I mean?” Master Posey said. “You’re the one. And I’m not saying you’re amongst others. You’re the one that’s going out there to put USA on the map.”
Abigail leaves for the Dominican Republic on Friday where Team USA was able to enter two athletes per event. While there, she’ll have another opportunity to rise to the occasion.
“You want to get her prepared for that as in the showtime,” Master Posey said. “‘I’m walking in. This is my stage. This is my mat. This is my ring, and this is my gold medal.'”
At fourteen years old, Abigail has accomplished more in the sport than most people will in a lifetime, but her journey is only getting started.
“I want to win those US competitions first. I feel like I have the potential to,” she said. “After that, I really want to win most international competitions as well. That way I can have success and, hopefully, next year, I can get into Worlds.”
It’s a goal that seems just within reach.
While this will be Abigail’s first international trip, she doesn’t plan on it being her last.
Wherever the sport takes her, nothing will change the fact that the Piedmont is where it all began.