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Six Division II Fencers Earn National Championships

07/11/2021, 11:45pm CDT
By Kristen Henneman

Sergei Kudriavtcev earned five one-point victories to take the Division II men's epee championship. Photo credit: Alliance Fencing Academy


Sofia Guerra won the Div II women's foil national title. Photo Credit: Metro Tacoma Fencing Club

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Six athletes were awarded their first national championship in the Division II events on the penultimate day of the National Championships in Philadelphia.

2021 Summer Nationals Live Results

In the men’s epee event, Sergei Kudriavtcev (Houston, Texas / Alliance Fencing Academy) won gold while Victor Ma (Sunnyvale, Calif. / Academy of Fencing Masters) earned the silver and Charles Leone III (Atlanta, Ga. / Elite Fencing Academy) and Christian Nixon (Brentwood, N.Y. / Mission Fencing Center) claimed bronze.

For all four, the podium finishes marked their first on the North American Cup circuit.

Kudriavtcev held his first two opponents to single digits to advance to the table of 32, but his remaining five bouts en route to gold would be one-point victories.

After outtouching Corey Zhao (Lexington, Mass. / Olympia Fencing Center), 9-8, Kudriavtcev edged out Mati Zeff (Philadelphia, Pa. / Fencing Academy of Philadelphia North), 15-14, and Byron Wu (Rockville, Md. / Penta Olympic Fencing Club), 10-9 to guarantee a medal.

In the semifinals, Kudriavtcev fenced Nixon, who was also coming off a one-point win in the quarters at 11-10. Up 9-7 with 13 seconds to go in the bout, Nixon cut the gap to one with 6.19 seconds on the clock and equalized with 2.4 seconds remaining, sending the bout to overtime. There, Nixon had priority and with the clock winding down, Nixon held Kudriavtcev off with two double lights before Kudriavtcev earned the winning touch with less than two ticks remaining for a 10-9 victory.

Kudriavtcev took an 11-9 lead into the final period in the final against Ma, who was competing at his first National Championships. Although Kudriavtcev extended his lead to three points, Ma cut the lead to one point at 13-12. But two double touches gave 15-year-old Kudriavtev his first gold, 15-14.

One of two 14 year olds to win a title on Sunday, men’s foilist Caleb Jeon (Los Altos, Calif. / Silicon Valley Fencing Center) also earned a clutch 15-14 victory for his championship.

Jeon jumped out to an early 5-1 lead, which he extended to six points before Chang-Han Sung (Fremont, Calif. / Academy of Fencing Masters) closed the gap three at the break, 11-8. Holding on to a two-point advantage entering the third period at 13-11, Sung scored the next three points come within one point of victory, 14-13, but facing elimination, Jeon won the final two touches.

Earlier in the day, Jeon cruised into the table of 64, 15-6, before edging out Clark McCord (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Pittsburgh Fencers Club), 15-12, and Connor Williams (Pelham, Ala. / Birmingham Fencing Club), 15-13.

Following a 15-7 victory over Nickolas Rusadze (South Salem, N.Y. / Tim Morehouse Fencing Club), Jeon clinched a place in the final with 15-10 victories over Alexander Sichitiu (Cary, N.C. / Research Triangle Fencing) and James Ball (Bronxville, N.Y. / Fencing Academy of Westchester).

Ball, who reached the semifinals with a 15-14 victory in the quarters, kept the bout close early, but tied at six, Jeon went on a 7-0 run to end the first period and won, 15-10.

Also standing on the podium was Aaron Hobson (Orinda, Calif. / Massialas Foundation) with bronze.

Another set of first-time medalists on the NAC circuit, Tony Escueta (Grand Prairie, Texas / Fencing Institute of Texas) secured the gold and was joined on the podium by Preston Yen (Chatham, N.J. /Integrity Fencing Studio), Joshua Lo (Lexington, Mass. / Boston Fencing Club) and Jaesun Yun (Aliso Viejo, Calif. / Southern California Fencing Academy).

A top-eight finisher in Division IA competition on Saturday, Escueta was a perfect 5-0 in pools and easily controlled his table of 128 bout, 15-6. In the table of 64, Escueta overcame Evan Chen (Short Hill, N.J./ Durkan Fencing Academy), 15-11, before picking up two 15-9 victories over Joseph Simak (Rockville, Md. / Nazlymov Fencing Foundation) and Andrew Deng (Livingston, N.J. / Integrity Fencing Studio).

With a 15-8 win over Carter Berrio (Lighthouse Point, Fla. / Alle Fencing Club), Escueta secured a medal. Fencing Lo in the semis, Escueta turned a 6-2 deficit into an 8-7 lead at the break. Tied at 12, Escueta took the next two touches and went on to win, 15-13.

Facing a one-point deficit at the break in the final to Yen, Escueta took control, going for eight straight points to put the bout away and win gold, 15-8.

In the Division II women’s epee event, another four fencers were awarded their first medals at a national event. Zara Pehlivani (Iv, Nev. / Battle Born Fencing Club) won gold and Nicole Milewski (Jacksonville, N.C. / Cape Fear Fencing Association) earned silver while Victoriia Doroshkevich (Park Ridge, Ill. / Fencing Center of Chicago) and Mia Smotritsky (Queens, N.Y. / New York Fencig Academy) took bronze.

14-year-old Pehlivani earned a bye into the 64, where she bested Michelle Taubler (Stuart, Fla. / University Of Florida Fencing Club), 15-11, and reached the 16 with a 15-8 win over Alexandra Szewc (Budd Lake, N.J. / Johns Hopkins University NCAA).

Two 15-11 victories over Alisa Yang (Elicott City, Md. / Guanyi Fencing Academy) and Anousheh Reid (Watchung, N.J. / Medeo Fencing Club), 15-11, sent Pehlivani into the semifinals, where she fenced Smotritsky, who had advanced 2-2 on priority.

Down 5-3, Pehlivani scored four straight touches to take a two-point advantage and went on to win, 15-10.

In the final, Pehlivani’s matchup was Milewski, who reached the final with two 15-14 victories, including one over Doroshkevich in the semifinals. Tied at nine, Pehlivani scored two single lights and led the bout the rest of the way, winning, 15-13.

In the women’s foil event, 15-year-old Sofia Guerra (University Place, Wash. / Metro Tacoma Fencing Club) won gold.

Guerra started her day with a bye into the 64 and bested her first two opponents, 15-9.

Her biggest test came in the table of 16, where she outtouched Sofia Prieto (Ventura, Calif. / United Fencing Academy), 15-14.

Another pair of 15-9 victories clinched a berth in the final for Guerra. After overcoming Cameron Cho (Yorba Linda, Calif. / Orange County Fencing Center), Guerra defeated Eden De La Cruz (Chino, Calif. / Orange County Fencing Center). Up 4-3, Guerra went on a 7-2 run to end the first period, a lead she’d sustain in order to take the ‘W.’

Fencing Savannah Locke (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. / LA International Fencing) in the final, who edged out Kyra Wu (San Diego, Calif. / Team Touche Fencing Center) in the other semifinal, Guerra faced a 3-2 deficit early, but scored four straight touches to go up, 6-3. Locke equalized at eight at the break, but Guerra made another run, this one a 5-1 run, and went to win, 15-11.

Competing at her first Summer Nationals, Kavya Menke (Athens, Ga. / Athens Fencing Club) won the women’s saber national championship.

Menke came within one win of her first medal on the North American Cup circuit by edging out Alexa Horan (Port Jefferson, N.Y./ Mission Fencing Center), 15-11; Mari Binstock (Tenafly, N.J. / Durkan Fencing Academy), 15-12; and Ella Nguyen (New Hyde Park, N.Y. / Manhattan Fencing Center), 15-13.

Following another 15-13 victory against Diana Tiburcio (Malvern, Pa. / Temple University NCAA), Menke drew Nisha Hild (Holliston, Mass. / Zeta Fencing), the Y14 silver medalist who advanced to the semis with a 15-14 win over Danielle Levitis (Brooklyn, N.Y. / Fencers Club).

Menke took an 8-6 lead at the break and extended her lead in the second to four points at 11-7. Hild cut Menke’s lead to one at 13-12, but Menke responded to score the final two points for a 1-12 victory.

In the final, Menke faced Anika Sinha (Watchung, N.J. / Advance Fencing and Fitness Academy), who had made the final thanks to three 15-14 victories, including one over Hana Sadik (Portland, Ore. / PDX Fencing) in the semifinals.

Although Menke quickly built a 6-1 lead, Sinha finished the period on a 7-1 run to take an 8-7 lead. Tied at 13, Menke earned two single lights to win the crown, 15-13.

Top eight results are as follows:

Division II Men’s Foil National Championships
1. Caleb Jeon (Los Altos, Calif. / Silicon Valley Fencing Center)
2. Chang-Han Sung (Fremont, Calif. / Academy of Fencing Masters)
3. James Ball (Bronxville, N.Y. / Fencing Academy of Westchester)
3. Aaron Hobson (Orinda, Calif. / Massialas Foundation)
5. Jun Ahn (Great Neck, N.Y. / East Coast Fencing Club)
6. Dashiell Lin (San Francisco, Calif. / Massialas Foundation)
7. Alexander Sichitiu (Cary, N.C. / Research Triangle Fencing)
8. Christopher Davis (Elk Grove, Calif. / Massialas Fencing Easy Bay)

Division II Men’s Epee National Championships
1. Sergei Kudriavtcev (Houston, Texas / Alliance Fencing Academy)
2. Victor Ma (Sunnyvale, Calif. / Academy of Fencing Masters)
3. Charles Leone III (Atlanta, Ga. / Elite Fencing Academy)
3. Christian Nixon (Brentwood, N.Y. / Mission Fencing Center)
5. Michael Bezrodnov (Mountainside, N.J. / Medeo Fencing Club)
6. Evan Vezmar (Edina, Minn. / Center for Blade Arts)
7. William Lehr (Stony Brook, N.Y. / Mission Fencing Center)
8. Byron Wu (Rockville, Md. / Penta Olympic Fencing Club)

Division II Men’s Saber National Championships
1. Tony Escueta (Grand Prairie, Texas / Fencing Institute of Texas)
2. Preston Yen (Chatham, N.J. /Integrity Fencing Studio)
3. Joshua Lo (Lexington, Mass. / Boston Fencing Club)
3. Jaesun Yun (Aliso Viejo, Calif. / Southern California Fencing Academy)
5. Carter Berrio (Lighthouse Point, Fla. / Alle Fencing Club)
6. Leonid Kotov (Salt Lake City, Utah / Salt City Swords Fencing Club)
7. Heonjae Cheong (Round Rock, Texas / Texas Sabre Academy)
8. Balint Czaha (Arlington, Mass. /Boston Fencing Club)

Division II Women’s Foil National Championships
1. Sofia Guerra (University Place, Wash. / Metro Tacoma Fencing Club)
2. Savannah Locke (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. / LA International Fencing)
3. Eden De La Cruz (Chino, Calif. / Orange County Fencing Center)
3. Kyra Wu (San Diego, Calif. / Team Touche Fencing Center)
5. Feyza Achilova (Dartmouth, Mass. / Rhode Island Fencing Academy and Club)
6. Ophelia Tong (Arcadia, Calif. / Golubitsky Fencing Center)
7. Cameron Cho (Yorba Linda, Calif. / Orange County Fencing Center)
8. Sophia Wong (Chappaqua, N.Y. / Tim Morehouse Fencing Club)

Division II Women’s Epee National Championships
1. Zara Pehlivani (Iv, Nev. / Battle Born Fencing Club)
2. Nicole Milewski (Jacksonville, N.C. / Cape Fear Fencing Association)
3. Victoriia Doroshkevich (Park Ridge, Ill. / Fencing Center of Chicago)
3. Mia Smotritsky (Queens, N.Y. / New York Fencig Academy)
5. Anousheh Reid (Watchung, N.J. / Medeo Fencing Club)
6. Lindsey Minor (South Orange, N.J. / ArtDu Fencing)
7. Judy Gao (Bridgewater, N.J. / Medeo Fencing Club)
8. Yedda Lee (Fairfax, Va. / Penta Olympic Fencing Club)

Division II Women’s Saber National Championships
1. Kavya Menke (Athens, Ga. / Athens Fencing Club)
2. Anika Sinha (Watchung, N.J. / Advance Fencing and Fitness Academy)
3. Nisha Hild (Holliston, Mass. / Zeta Fencing)
3. Hana Sadik (Portland, Ore. / PDX Fencing)
5. Sophie Graff (Jersey City, N.J. / Cobra Fencing Club)
6. Charlotte Depew (Bernardsville, N.J. / Kaprica United Fencing Academy)
7. Danielle Levitis (Brooklyn, N.Y. / Fencers Club)
8. Diana Tiburcio (Malvern, Pa. / Temple University NCAA)

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