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National Team Members Look Back at 2020 and Share Their Goals for 2021

01/01/2021, 5:00pm CST
By Kristen Henneman and Nicole Jomantas

It’s the start of a new year with the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games scheduled to be held in 2021 after a year-long postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As the world celebrates the beginning of 2021, we checked in with members of the Junior, Senior and Veteran National Teams to see what takeaways they had to share from 2020 and what their goals are for the year ahead.

Sabrina Massialas

2018 Senior World Team member Sabrina Massialas and her puppy Koda.

My whole life I dreamed of having a dog but the circumstances either didn’t allow it or I didn’t have the time. With all competitions and travel cancelled in 2020, I jumped at the opportunity to finally get and raise a puppy! 2020 has been a whirlwind of a year, but cheesy as it sounds—I’m so grateful it gave me the chance to add Koda to the family (and be the best bud to my cat, Kenobi)! 

Hadley Husisian

2020 Junior and Cadet World Team member Hadley Husisian.

Though I missed competing this year, 2020 gave me a break from a typically busy tournament season.  I was able to get a lot more sleep, as well as spend quality time with my family and dogs.  

\Now that I’ve had time to relax, I’m even more excited for the season to start up again sometime in the future.


Andrew Mackiewicz

Two-time Senior World Team member Andrew Mackiewicz.

Some days you’ll wake up and accomplish absolutely nothing, and that’s ok! That’s something I’ve taken away from this past year. Things have gotten very limited to what we can do and we’ve had to learn to be more flexible and focused on the moment. I’ve learned to appreciate what you do have and what you can do!

This year has really tested mine and my fellow athletes patience and perseverance. However, it has also shown how to live in the moment and take each day one at a time

Joanne Stevens

2018 Veteran World medalist Joanne Stevens.

Hmm, 2020. In mid-March I fled my home and NYC based business for the Catskill Mountains, to hide from Covid. One month later my dog died unexpectedly. 

What’s positive? I am alive and healthy. I’m now great with dealing with adversity and surprises.. I’ve learned that anticipating is largely a waste of time.. and I’m 100x better dealing with frustration- eg. when Owen my newly adopted 65 lb. puppy eats my back-up fencing shoes. I have tons of outdoor time faking him out as I run, sprint and change directions ... and when we hike I mentally envision myself
vanquishing over my 2 arch nemeses in the next Worlds.

It’s amazing how life offers up opportunities for fencing development! Thank you USFA for being so great throughout this. And thank you fencing friends. Our force remains palpable despite our separation.

Jackie Dubrovich

2019 Senior World team bronze medalist Jackie Dubrovich.

My goals remain the same (just postponed a full year). I want to be named to the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Women's Foil Team and perform to my highest abilities. I want to walk out of the Olympics and feel like I gave it my all and left nothing on the table. For the team event, I know that we can medal, and I have full confidence that we can come together and accomplish that goal. 

A non-fencing goal is to get married! COVID really messed up our plans, so we haven't been able to coordinate anything. We are looking forward to getting married in Okinawa, Japan where my fiancé has family and also a ceremony in the States. We are crossing our fingers that it will be possible at some point in 2021!

Liz Kocab

Seven-time Vet World Champion Liz Kocab.

My fencing goals for 2021 include:

Making the Vet team and medaling at Summer Nationals and the World Championships.  

Training wise – I’m trying to focus on my footwork exercises (5-6 days in the week) on changes in speed and direction. To help support this I’ll hope to increase resistance training to three days per week focusing on my legs. Three other days should be devoted to aerobic workouts. 

Altogether, my overarching goal is not to get injured and be able to do at the end of next year everything I could do now (and more!). Happy New Year. 

Dagmara Wozniak

2016 Olympic team bronze medalist Dagmara Wozniak.

We all know what the goals are in Tokyo! Besides goals in fencing, my goals are to leave any toxic relationships behind and nurture new and healthy ones instead.

Also mental health is going to be more important than ever this upcoming year because of everything that has been going on in 2020. My goal is to take care of myself and be more forgiving of myself and those around me.

Jake Hoyle

Two-time Senior World Team member Jake Hoyle.

Honestly there are only three things I care about in 2021: staying healthy, qualifying for the Tokyo Games, and bringing home some hardware. My coach (Dr. Aladar Kogler) and I are working as hard as we can to make sure we accomplish all three this year! 

Zander Rhodes

2020 Junior World Team member Zander Rhodes.

In 2021, I hope that world health and safety improves, allowing me and the fencing community to compete in NACs and World Cups. I would like to finish my high school senior year successfully and I look forward to the joys and challenges of college and college fencing. I also hope to maintain a well-balanced diet, drink more water, read at least one book a month and go on morning walks/runs. 

Lydia Fabry Mazorol

Two-time individual Vet World Champion Lydia Fabry Mazorol.

My fencing goal is to not only make the Veteran World Fencing Team again (because I made past year’s and the 2020 team by a default of doing well at only one pre-Covid event in 2019) but to actually be able to actively fence in a World event again, whether it be in 2021 … or whenever it can be intelligently and safely set next. I suppose I get to hold my reign as the most current Vet-60 Women’s Saber World Champion but I really can’t wait to compete for another win again!

To achieve that goal, I have not let up on actively working to stay in shape which, since March of 2020, has not yet included a safe ability to fence against an opponent at a club near me so, I’ve started running, working out on an indoor slide board, indoor rowing and stair stepping. Every active exercise day, which is about four to five times a week, starts with a lot of stretching and working core balance too. I’ve been watching and studying various fencing bout videos on YouTube, including my own, so I can visualize and keep my brain trained to thinking about fencing actions and strategies. I do worry about the muscle memory loss and distance training issues of not having a moving target so I hope to have time for actual fencing bouting well before any qualifier event occurs again.

And … I look forward to seeing everyone again in a non-virtual setting!

Alex Massialas

Two-time Olympic medalist Alex Massialas.

My goals for 2021 are to win Olympic gold and to reinstate the 11 sports that Stanford cut this summer. I loved my time at Stanford and it was four of the most formative years of my life; I want generations of fencers and athletes of all sports to be able to have the same experiences that I had.

Josh Runyan

2019 Vet World Champion and UCSD Assistant Coach Josh Runyan (far left).

My goal for 2021 is to concentrate on priorities and how to keep them well ordered. Hopefully the priorities will be faith, family and friends, along with fitness as a means to the other three. Previously a priority would include flying, but I recently retired after nearly 40 years in the profession. Fencing is important within my priorities, for fitness and because I’m able to share the sport with my lovely wife and it also includes many good friends and wonderful students. Therefore, as a veteran fencer, Director of the USFCA’s Collegiate Committee and a volunteer college coach, I am looking forward to fencing’s return in 2021.

Kat Holmes

Rio Olympian Kat Holmes ... still seeking the approval of #TrainerTiger.

As far as 2021 goals go:

1) Actually have an Olympics

2) Start training in my gym/club again

3) Finish qualifying to the Olympics

4) Win an Olympic medal

5) Start medical school (finally)

6) Win #TrainerTiger's approval

Ashton Daniel

2020 Junior World Team member Ashton Daniel with teammate Kenji Bravo.

My goals for 2021 are to win a championship with Columbia, run a marathon, learn to play a Hans Zimmer score on piano, learn AI and robotics, learn how to cook a steak, and spend more time with family

Nicole Ross

London Olympian Nicole Ross.

My goals for 2021 include: engaging in more volunteer work and community outreach, studying for my master’s degree in psychology, qualifying for my second Olympic Team, increasing awareness and research around athlete mental health.

Jennette Starks-Faulkner

Five-time Vet World Champion Jennette Starks-Faulkner

As much as I love being with my first grandbaby, I would love to get back to training. Prior to the 2019 Veteran World Championships I started working a new foil coach and I finally found a saber coach, so I am eager to work with them and get back to fencing! Can't wait to seeing my fencing family! 

Marcello Olivares

2018 Cadet World silver medalist Marcello Olivares.

2021 goals:

1. Individual and U.S. Team medal at Junior Worlds 

2. Win NCAAs with Notre Dame

3. Improve senior world ranking 

4. Summer internship

5. Tesla

Jane Eyre

Nine-time Vet World Champion Jane Eyre.

Not having any idea what we will be able to do this coming year to train, travel, compete or even our ability to go outside of our homes is a bit disconcerting. I'm staying with the only thing I can control; this moment. Gleaning the present moment for the great things right around me and letting go of what I can't control is pretty much how I try to approach everything in my art, fencing, and life.

Letting go of expectations, results, and requirements, staying in the moment and not beating myself up for something that I do wrong or that goes wrong; just facing reality straight on and then making the most of it.  2020 has been an amazing opportunity to practice this. 2021 will be what it will be. I'm excited to see it unfold and I'm up for the challenge.

Mitchell Saron

Two-time Junior World medalist Mitchell Saron.

To be more mature and to appreciate the little things. And to read a book a day and do my own laundry. 

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