How parents can help young fencers in competitions

Once again, the Academy of Fencing Masters Blog has put together some smart, practical advice for parents of young fencers who are just beginning to compete. Here’s an excerpt:

“New fencers often struggle with knowing what to do in competition, and naturally so. Y8, Y10, and Y12 fencing competitors are on the whole new to all of this, new to big deal that competition is. And a fencing competition is a big deal. Remember though that these kids are still learning how to navigate life all the way round, from putting their clothes away properly to checking out a book at the library. We can’t expect them to just know how to do this in the best way.”

Read all their tips here.

Why fencing is different from other youth sports

Our friends at the Academy of Fencing Masters have written a good piece on what makes fencing stand out from soccer, basketball, gymnastics, and other youth sports. They write:

The way that fencers learn the sport is totally different than most other sports. Fencers learn in a two-pronged way – group classes and private lessons. Group lessons offer fencers the chance to learn alongside other fencers and to practice on the strip with athletes of a similar skill level. Group fencing classes are guided closely by coaches.

Private lessons on other side is 1-on-1 instruction session with a fencing coach. In a private lesson the coach teaches different elements of technique per individual needs of a fencer and based on their skill level. Private lessons are essential part of fencing education and you cannot skip it for a long if you want to make a real progress.

Think about it this way – a few hundred years ago you trusted your sword to defend your life. Would you be confident in your skills to protect yourself without getting private lessons with a fencing master and then practicing with your opponents in a training session? It’s a model that works.

Read their whole post here.

Turner earns her A2019 as OFA battles in Seattle

OFA’s Zoe Turner had a great day at the Div. 1-A Battle In Seattle, winning Gold in the women’s competition and earning her A2019 rating. Teammate Anna Li won Silver, Siobhan Sullivan was fifth and Makana Burch seventh as OFA swept four of the top seven places in the popular Northwest event.

In the men’s D1-A competition, Iain Demarest was the top OFA finisher, claiming ninth place, followed by Sean Kim in 10th and Artyom Kaydalin in 24th.

OFA well represented at Women's Sabre World Cup in Salt Lake

The U.S. women’s sabre team that finished fifth in the strongly contested team event at the Women’s Sabre World Cup featured three Oregon Fencing Alliance fencers, Mariel Zagunis, Ola Shelton and Chloe Fox-Gitomer. The U.S. women’s team was defeated by Italy in the Round of Eight, but came back to oust Russia and Korea and claim the fifth spot in the competition.

Down 40-33 to the Russians, Zagunis delivered an incredible anchor leg, outpointing Sofia Pozdiakova 12-3 to lead the USA comeback victory.

In the individual competition, Shelton finished 25th, Zagunis 41st and Fox-Gitomer 5oth.

Top Ukrainian, Turkish and Argentine fencers in the house

Three-time World Champion Olga Kharlan was among the fencers at the OFA Progressive.

Three-time World Champion Olga Kharlan was among the fencers at the OFA Progressive.

JAN. 19, 2019—The fourth and final OFA Progressive of the Fall/Winter of 2018-19 will go down as one of the most memorable in-house events in the club’s history. The Ukrainian, Turkish and Argentine fencers who spent the past week at OFA training and tuning up for next weekend’s Senior World Cup in Salt Lake City all took part in the Progressive.

The 38-person field for the Open event included a number of the top women fencers in the world, including OFA’s own Mariel Zagunis, a two-time Olympic champion and the most decorated U.S. fencer, and Olga Kharlan, a three-time Olympic medalist.

OFA’s Max Parson-Scherban won the Open event. Congratulations, Max, on an unforgettable day.

In the other events, Maksymilian Skarbonkiewicz won the mixed Y10 event, Vasil Atanassov was a double-winner, taking the Y12 and Y14 mixed events, and Will Attig took the mixed cadet.

Here are the full results:

Our time in Charlotte

More than a dozen current and former OFA fencers competed in the Division I and Junior competitions at the January North American Cup in Charlotte, N.C., taking home two medals and claiming a number of top 50 finishes.

Chloe won gold in Junior women and finished fifth in Division I. Ola took bronze in Division I. Six OFA fencers finished in the top 50 in a large field of Juniors, including Zoe (27th), Neve (34th), Vivian (39), Nina (46), and Anna (50th).

On the men’s side, Ben finished 40th in Juniors and Will was 51st.

Here’s the link for the full results:

The next major national competition is Junior Olympics in February. See you there!

Gold, Silver and good times in Germany

Neve won Gold in team and finished 27th among individuals at Eislingen.

Neve won Gold in team and finished 27th among individuals at Eislingen.

Neve and Will helped their USA teams to Gold and Silver, respectively, in the team competitions in the European Fencing Confederation, Cadet Circuit European Cup last weekend in Eislingen, Germany.

OFA sent five of the 40 U.S. boys and girls to the tough European competition, more than any other individual U.S. club. Coach Adam was there to lead the OFA group.

Vivien (19th) and Neve (27th) came. home with individual points. Nina finished 71st out of more than 200 competitors.

On the boys’ side, Will finished 56th and Iain came in 138th in a strong field of more than 220 fencers from a dozen nations.


Battling in Seattle


OFA fencers made a great showing over the weekend at the Salle Auriol Seattle RJCC.

Siobhan won Gold in cadet women. Makana took Bronze in that event. Zhiyin was 7th, Shengyao ninth and Byronie 12th.

In cadet men, Artyom and Dante took Bronze, Mukund was fifth and Gavin eighth.

David Fang won Silver in men’s junior, while Artyom was sixth, Dante 8th and Gavin 10th.

In women’s junior, Makana won Silver and Zhiyin was fifth.

OFA strikes gold and silver in Sofia


RESULTS! Etropolski's Sabre. Sofia Cadet Circuit European Cup. November 17-18, 2018, Sofia, Bulgaria.

Despite travel delays due to weather on the East Coast, nearly all American fencers made it to the competition.

Here are individual and team results of OFA fencers.

CMS: Will A, 71; Iain D, 85.
CWS: Neve H, 16; Anna L, 35; Vivian L, 50, Nina H, 59T
CTmMS: USA 1 (Will A), GOLD; USA 4 (Iain D), 45.
CTmWS: USA 2 (Neve H), SILVER; USA 3 (Vivian L), 12.

Congratulations to all our fencers.

Magda and Sophia have a blast in Kansas City


Madga claimed Gold in the Y14 competition at the Kansas City North America cup, and Sophia took the eighth-place medal in Cadet and earned her A2018 rating.

Other OFA fencers also did very well in the Kansas City competitions. Here are the top finishers for each event.

JMS: Sean K, 48.
JWS: Magda S, 21T.
CMS: Will A, 20.
CWS: Sophia C, 8 (A2018).
Y14MS: Mukund S, 95.
Y14WS: Magda S, GOLD.

Check out all the results at USA Fencing

Chloe and Mariel rock Orleans


Check out this report from USA Fencing:

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – After competing at her first Senior World Championships in July, 18-year-old Chloe Fox-Gitomer (Portland, Ore.) started the 2018-19 season World Cup season with her best career result on the senior circuit, finishing seventh in Orléans, France on Saturday.

After a 5-1 finish in the pool rounds on Friday, the 2018 Senior Pan American bronze medalist advancing to Saturday’s competition with a 15-8 victory over Olga Hramova (BUL) in the preliminary table of 64.

Fox-Gitomer fenced 2014 Junior World bronze medalist Luca Laszlo (HUN) in the table of 64 on Saturday, building an 8-4 lead at the break and ending the bout with a 15-11 win.

In the next round, she led Malina Vongsavady (FRA), 13-10, late in the second period of their table of 32 bout before Vongsavady called an injury timeout. Vongsavady returned to competition, scoring two touches quickly, but Fox-Gitomer closed out the bout at 15-12.

Fencing in the 16 for the second time at a Senior World Cup this year, Fox-Gitomer took on Yaqi Shao (CHN), who was ranked No. 16 entering the tournament. Although the two bout remained tight throughout, Fox-Gitomer secured the upset, defeating the 2016 Asian Championships silver medalist by a point, 15-14, to fence for her first Senior World Cup medal.

In the quarters, Fox-Gitomer kept the start of the bout close against 2016 Olympic team silver medalist Alina Komashchuk (UKR) who led the bout by three at 8-5 going at the break. In the second period, however, Fox-Gitomer couldn’t overcome the 2013 World Team Champion who took the bout, 15-5.  

The result jumped Fox-Gitomer up to No. 25 in the FIE World Rankings and No. 4 in the USA Fencing National Rolling Point Standings.

The top two fencers in the NRPS, 2016 Olympic team medalists Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.) and Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.), both claimed top-16 results at the first World Cup of the season.

Zagunis, a two-time Olympic Champion who was fencing in just her third individual international tournament after giving birth to daughter Sunday last fall, made quick work of the pool rounds on Friday, going 6-0 to take the No. 1 seed and a bye into day two.

She continued to cruise in her first two DEs on Saturday, posting a 15-6 victory over Hengyu Yang (CHN) and a 15-7 win over Alejandra Benitez (VEN), 15-7.

However, in the 16, Zagunis drew World No. 3 and 2015 World bronze medalist Anna Marton (HUN). Zagunis came back from a 14-11 deficit to tie the bout, but lost the decisive touch, 15-14. Marton went on to win gold.

Brilliant on and off the strip

Congratulations to Oregon Fencing Alliance's three National Merit Scholar Semifinalists, Oregon Episcopal School seniors David Fang and Maxfield Parson-Sherban, and Lincoln High senior Sydney Dunn.  With Fang and Parson-Sherban, our fencing club is home to two of our Oregon Episcopal School’s four Merit Scholar semifinalists. We are so proud of all their academic achievements. Fencers rock!

First fall Progressive is in the books

We had a nice crowd of OFA fencers at our first fall Progressive Tournament on Sept. 22. And once everyone was outfitted and registered with USA Fencing, we had some spirited fencing.

Our medalists were:

Y10: Maks S, GOLD; Jack F, SILVER; Kai O, BRONZE.
Y12: Vasko A, GOLD; Hyder C, SILVER; Sophia S, BRONZE.
Y14: Mukund S, GOLD; Vasko A, SILVER; Sophia S, BRONZE.

Cadet: Will A, GOLD; Brandon C, SILVER; Siobhan S, BRONZE; Howard C, BRONZE.

Open: Mariel Zagunis, GOLD; Austin S, SILVER; Max PS, BRONZE; Will A, BRONZE.

Great work, everybody! Be proud of your results and take the lessons of today to practice this week. The full results are here.