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Six Division III Champions Crowned on Final Day of Summer Nationals

07/13/2021, 2:15pm CDT
By Kristen Henneman

Samuel Minwook Choun took the top step of the podium in the Division III men's epee competition. Photo Credit: Music City Fencing Club


Irene Wu with her Div III women's foil gold. Photo Credit: Marx Fencing Academy

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – On the final day of the USA Fencing National Championships, six Division III fencers earned their first national championship.

Kira Erikson (Torrance, Calif. / South Bay Fencing Academy), Irene Wu (Weston, Mass. / Marx Fencing Academy) and Claire Norconk (Williamsburg, Mich. / Three Swords Fencing Studio) won gold in the women’s events while Samuel Minwook Choun (Hoover, Ala. / Music City Fencing Club), Eric Li (Sharon, Mass. / Star Fencing Academy) and Vincent Hong (Chatham, N.J. / Bergen Fencing Club) claimed titles in the men’s events.

2021 Summer Nationals Live Results

Erikson earned a bye to the table of 64 in the women’s saber event, where she overcame Rhea Moran (Austin, Texas / Texas Sabre Academy) before holding her next three opponents to single digits to guarantee a medal.

In the semifinals, Erikson fenced Angelina LeLe Yang (Chino Hills, Calif. / Laguna Fencing Center), who was coming off a 15-14 victory in the quarters. Erikson jumped out to 5-1 lead and could never be caught as the 15-year-old secured her spot in the final, 15-8.

The gold medal match between Erikson and Christina Shih (Upper Saddle River, N.J. / Bergen Fencing Club) was close throughout and went down to the final point. Tied at 13, Shih scored to come within one point of victory, but Erikson won the final two touches to clinch the championship, 15-14.

Lauren Arnecke (Sulphur Springs, Texas / Texas International Fencing Center) also stood on the podium with bronze.

In the women’s foil event, Wu was joined on the podium by Anning Mi (Pittsford, N.Y. / Rochester Fencing Club), Lavinia Oliveira (Swampscott, Mass. / Moe Fencing Club) and Amber Peng (Irivne, Calif. / Golubitsky Fencing Center).

After cruising through her first two bouts, 15-3, Wu edged out Piper Randolph (Solana Beach, Calif. / Team Touche Fencing Center), 15-13.

One win away from clinching a medal, Wu bested Caroline Slaski (Mount Kiso, N.Y. / Tim Morehouse Fencing Club), 15-7, and advanced to the final thanks to a 7-0 run to end the semifinal bout as she won, 15-9.

Tied at nine in the final against Mi, Wu scored three straight touches and went into the final period with a 13-11 lead. Anning evened the score at 13, but Wu took the final two touches for a 15-13 victory and the title.

The women’s epee event saw Norconk win gold, Jolie Korfonta (McLean, Va. / Penta Olympic Fencing Club) earn silver and Ge Feng (Lexington, Mass. / Cavalier Fencing Club) and Nika Bondar (Sunnyvale, Calif. / International Fencing Academy (CA)) take bronze.

Perfect on the day at 5-0 in pools and 6-0 in the direct elimination rounds, Norconk earned two 15-8 victories to reach the 16, where she defeated Cate Palanski (Fairport, N.Y. / Rochester Fencing Club), 15-11.

After a close 15-13 victory in the quarters over Vera Witte (Ridgewood, N.J. / Arena Fencing Academy), Norconk would take the championship with 15-10 victories in the semis and final.

Tied at two against Fe, Norconk went on a 6-0 run to start the second period. Although Feng closed the gap to two at 10-8, she couldn’t complete the comeback and Norconk advanced to the final.

Fencing Korfonta, who had already clinched her second medal at the Championships after winning bronze in Y14, Norconk took a 12-7 lead at the first break and held on for a 15-10 victory.

On the men’s side, Samuel Minwook Choun (Hoover, Ala. / Music City Fencing Club) won the men’s epee competition with Isaac Lief (Pelham, N.Y. / Long Island Fencing Center) taking silver and Ethan Schulze (Catonsville, Md. / Academies of Fencing in Baltimore) and Rohin Phukan (La Crescenta, Calif. / Swords Fencing Studio) claiming bronze.

Undefeated on the day at 6-0 in pools and 6-0 in the DEs, Choun held his first four opponents to single digits. In the semifinals, the 17-year-old jumped out to a 4-0 lead against Schulze – who had narrowly won his quarterfinal, 15-14 – and never looked back, reaching the final, 15-10.

In the final, Choun faced Lief. With the score deadlocked at 12, Choun earned two single lights take momentum, 14-12. Lief cut the lead to one at 14-13, but Choun earned another single light for the crown, 15-13.

The youngest of Monday’s winners, Li won the men’s foil title at 14 years old. After going 6-0 in pools to take the No. 1 seed, Li blazed past his first three opponents to come within one win of a medal.

Li bested Joshua Cortright (San Jose, Calif. / Le Club Touche) in the quarters, 15-11 and would need a come-from-behind victory to earn the chance to fence for gold.

Down 9-2 to Congyu Josh Sima (Weston, Mass. / Star Fencing Academy), Li went on a 5-0 run and entered the final period down just three at 10-7. His momentum continued in the third, as he went on an 8-1 run to take the bout, 15-11.

Unlike in his semifinal, Li came out strong against Sander Versteele (Armonk, N.Y. / Fencing Academy of Westchester) in the final, using a 6-1 start to take the gold, 15-11.

Joshua Shin (Providence, R.I. / Rhode Island Fencing Academy and Club) also won bronze.

In the men’s saber competition, 15-year-old Vincent Hong (Chatham, N.J. / Bergen Fencing Club) earned the gold. Vasil Atanassov (Beaverton, Ore. / Oregon Fencing Alliance) secured the silver while Evan Swords (Ladera Ranch, Calif. / Laguna Fencing Center) and Derek Zhang (Marietta, Ga. / Sigma Fencing Academy) took bronze.

Following 15-9, 15-10 and 15-7 victories to make the 16, Hong saw his biggest test of the day in the table of 16. Outtouching Steven Hong (Marietta, Ga. / Sigma Fencing Academy), 15-14, Hong advanced to the medal rounds with a 15-11 victory over Xavier Reyes (Portola Hills, Calif. / Southern California Fencing Academy).

Hong controlled his semifinal bout, using a 7-0 and a 4-0 run to overcome Swords, 15-6.

Up 11-10 in the final, Hong extended his lead over Atanassov to three at 13-10. Atanassov scored the next touch to come within two, but Hong went on to win, 15-11.

Top eight results are as follows:

Division III Men’s Foil National Championships
1. Eric Li (Sharon, Mass. / Star Fencing Academy)
2. Sander Versteele (Armonk, N.Y. / Fencing Academy of Westchester)
3. Joshua Shin (Providence, R.I. / Rhode Island Fencing Academy and Club)
3. Congyu Josh Sima (Weston, Mass. / Star Fencing Academy)
5. Phillip Nunnink (Kansas City, Mo. / Heartland Fencing Academy)
6. Sayid Achilov (Dartmouth, Mass. / Rhode Island Fencing Academy and Club)
7. Alexander Brown (Montclair, N.J. / Gutkovskiy Fencing Academy)
8. Joshua Cortright (San Jose, Calif. / Le Club Touche)

Division III Men’s Epee National Championships
1. Samuel Minwook Choun (Hoover, Ala. / Music City Fencing Club)
2. Isaac Lief (Pelham, N.Y. / Long Island Fencing Center)
3. Ethan Schulze (Catonsville, Md. / Academies of Fencing in Baltimore)
3. Rohin Phukan (La Crescenta, Calif. / Swords Fencing Studio)
5. Tristan Wang (Fairfax, Va. / Elite Fencing Academy)
6. Alexander Usher (Escondido, Calif. / San Diego Fencing Center)
7. Ethan Boroditsky (Summit, N.J. / Medeo Fencing Club)
8. Jonathan Wu (Weston, Mass. / Cavalier Fencing Club)

Division III Men’s Saber National Championships
1. Vincent Hong (Chatham, N.J. / Bergen Fencing Club)
2. Vasil Atanassov (Beaverton, Ore. / Oregon Fencing Alliance)
3. Evan Swords (Ladera Ranch, Calif. / Laguna Fencing Center)
3. Derek Zhang (Marietta, Ga. / Sigma Fencing Academy)
5. Xavier Reyes (Portola Hills, Calif. / Southern California Fencing Academy)
6. Zachary Shoman (Short Hills, N.J. / Manhattan Fencing Center)
7. Charles Dolan (Medway, Mass. / Zeta Fencing)
8. Adam Elin (Needham, Mass. / International Fencing Club)

Division III Women’s Foil National Championships
1. Irene Wu (Weston, Mass. / Marx Fencing Academy)
2. Anning Mi (Pittsford, N.Y. / Rochester Fencing Club)
3. Lavinia Oliveira (Swampscott, Mass. / Moe Fencing Club)
3. Amber Peng (Irivne, Calif. / Golubitsky Fencing Center)
5. Caroline Slaski (Mount Kiso, N.Y. / Tim Morehouse Fencing Club)
6. Dasha Simonov (Brooklyn, N.Y. / Silver Blade F.C.)
7. Alison Hwang (Newport Beach, Calif. / Golubitsky Fencing Center)
8. Alexis Chew (Tustin, Calif. / Golubitsky Fencing Center)

Division III Women’s Epee National Championships
1. Claire Norconk (Williamsburg, Mich. / Three Swords Fencing Studio)
2. Jolie Korfonta (McLean, Va. / Penta Olympic Fencing Club)
3. Ge Feng (Lexington, Mass. / Cavalier Fencing Club)
3. Nika Bondar (Sunnyvale, Calif. / International Fencing Academy (CA))
5. Vera Witte (Ridgewood, N.J. / Arena Fencing Academy)
6. Chloe Yang (Basking Ridge, N.J. / Medeo Fencing Club)
7. Misha Gujja (Glen Head, N.Y. / Long Island Fencing Center)
8. Yedda Lee (Fairfax, Va. / Penta Olympic Fencing Club)

Division III Women’s Saber National Championships
1. Kira Erikson (Torrance, Calif. / South Bay Fencing Academy)
2. Christina Shih (Upper Saddle River, N.J. / Bergen Fencing Club)
3. Angelina LeLe Yang (Chino Hills, Calif. / Laguna Fencing Center)
3. Lauren Arnecke (Sulphur Springs, Texas / Texas International Fencing Center)
5. Greta Yuan (Princeton, N.J. / Premier Fencing Club)
6. Pauline Rogers (Fremont, Calif. / The Fencing Center)
7. Emily Chiang (Holliston, Mass. / Zeta Fencing)
8. Olympe Jean (Austin, Texas / Texas Fencing Academy)

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