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Anne Cebula

Brooklyn, N.Y.

July 3, 1998

Event: Epee
College: Columbia
Clubs: New York Athletic Club, New York Fencing Academy
Coaches: Sergey Danilov (and previously Kornel Udvarhelyi)

Senior World Championship Teams: 2023

Fencing Origin Story: "The first time I saw fencing, I was watching the 2008 Olympics and a highlight reel of the day's events came on - including clips of fencing matches. It was unlike anything I'd ever seen. It was an impressive amount of athleticism tied into a dance of sorts, as people ran up and down the strip. But the one moment I still remember to this day, was how masks were being ripped off of people's faces, ranging anywhere from saccharine joy to absolute devastation. I even remember how some of the clips were saber bouts, where clear-vision-visor masks were being used, so you could read some of the emotions in the athletes' eyes before the mask flew off. It was like an opera.

"I begged my parents to let me try the sport, but they (politely) laughed in my face. It is an expensive sport to just "try out." Regardless, I always kept it in the back of my mind, and when I was accepted to a public high school that had a free fencing club, I emailed the coach within the first week of classes. I started when I was 15, didn't start going to NACs regularly until I was 18, but I somehow made it work. 

"Part of it is hard work and talent, but I think another, larger part of my accelerated journey is because I wanted to do it for so long, but wasn't able to. Genuine love for the sport will take you far and make the difference, especially at the higher level, when the losses are much more painful. It's what keeps you going."

Why I Love Fencing: "In fencing anyone can win - especially in epee. You can't win with brute force, and you can't win by being a textbook fencer either. It's such a fun process to find out what your strengths and weakness are, fine-tune them, and then learn to apply them to each unique opponent. Practice is only dull when you're fencing someone who doesn't adapt and grow with you from week to week - which is why fencing in the Metropolitan NYC area is such a great place to start and fall in love with the sport. Everyone is so competitive, but in the best possible sense of the word."

Advice: "Communicate with your coach your plans - for the week, for the season, and for the next 5 years. Don't be shy or play down your goals. Your coach/es are there to help you and guide you through the process.

"Don't look at the points. I'm so serious. Don't do it. Just do the absolute dead level best that you can, and what's meant to be will be. Let your coach handle the calculations!"

Notable results:

  • Two-time Division I national champion in women's epee team (2016, 2023)
  • 2019 NCAA Epee Champion
  • First Barnard College student-athlete to claim an individual NCAA national title in any sport