Eli Dershwitz (Tim Morehouse Fencing Club) battles Cody Walter Ji (Nellya Fencers) in the Division I men's saber finals. Photo by Serge Timacheff
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When he won a Division I national championship in men’s saber at age 18, Eli Dershwitz (Tim Morehouse Fencing Club) was the youngest to win the event in history.
Eight years, two Olympic Games and dozens of successful international tournaments later, Dershwitz has repeated the feat — winning his second national title in Division I men’s saber. Now 26, he says he’s taking a somewhat different approach to those long tournament days.
“I think back then when I was young and super hungry, I was always trying to fight my way to championships — trying to fight and grind stuff out,” he says. “Now, in my slightly older age, I’ve tried to find ways of winning matches without grinding everything out. I think today I did a really good job of managing my emotions and making sure that each bout I was able to move up the strip well. And the energy brought me to the end.”
That energy was felt throughout the Charlotte Convention Center on the first day of competition at the Division I/Parafencing National Championships and April North American Cup.
In junior women’s saber, Jadeyn Williams (Advance Fencing and Fitness Academy/University of Notre Dame) brought the energy on the way to her gold medal.
Williams proved that sometimes you’re in the zone — and sometimes you’re really in the zone.
After a flawless performance in pools, she just kept on winning until the very end. In the finals bout, every Williams touch was greeted by cheers from her side of the strip where a sizeable cheering section of club and college teammates had gathered.
But Williams was too much in the zone to hear any of that.
“I really don’t hear it,” she says. “I’m so focused I literally do not hear it. But then after on the videos, I’m like, ‘oh my God, thank you!’”
For Sanjay Kasi (Gutkovskiy Fencing Academy), the victory over 225 highly skilled competitors in junior men’s foil was a welcome end to a successful — and exhausting — day.
“It feels amazing. It was a really long event,” he says. “We started at 8 o’clock and finished around 5. I had a lot of close bouts, as well. So it feels really good to be on top.”
Gold: Jadeyn Williams (Advance Fencing and Fitness Academy/University of Notre Dame)
Silver: Samantha Marsee (Premier Fencing Academy LLC)
Bronze: Zoe Kim (Forward Fencing Academy)
Bronze: Chelsea C. Delsoin (Advance Fencing and Fitness Academy/Peter Westbrook Foundation)
5th: Jenna Shoman (Manhattan Fencing Center)
5th: Alexia C. Newell (Manhattan Fencing Center)
7th: Kaitlyn Pak (Manhattan Fencing Center)
8th: Alexandra Tzou (Sheridan Fencing Academy)
Gold: Kira Nguyen (North Shore Fencers Club)
Silver: Katherine Nemeth (Alliance Fencing Academy)
Bronze: Wan Kiu Hayley Leung (Swords Fencing Studio)
Bronze: Sarah I. Waller (International Fencers Alliance of Dallas)
5th: Yun Cian Fan (Columbus International Fencing Academy)
6th: Alexandra R. Wong (New York Fencing Academy)
7th: Shiqi Lu
8th: Nina Prihodko (Olympia Fencing Center)
Gold: Sanjay Kasi (Gutkovskiy Fencing Academy)
Silver: Samarth Kumbla (Silicon Valley Fencing Center)
Bronze: Daniel D. Zhang (Star Fencing Academy)
Bronze: Eric W. Yu (University of Pennsylvania/LA International Fencing)
5th: Caleb A. Jeon (Silicon Valley Fencing Center)
6th: Ethan J. Xiao (Birmingham Fencing Club)
7th: Ethan A. Um (Marx Fencing Academy)
8th: Allen Chen (Bluegrass Fencers' Club)
Gold: Alanna L. Xue (Marx Fencing Academy)
Silver: Thea Fernandes (California Fencing Academy)
Bronze: Sarah Mei (Invicta Sports)
Bronze: Layla Roy (Gutkovskiy Fencing Academy)
5th: Anice Orvananos (Fencers Club Inc.)
6th: Meeah Bradford (Space City Fencing Academy)
7th: Irene M. Wu (Marx Fencing Academy)
8th: Irene Y. Seo (Gutkovskiy Fencing Academy)
Gold and National Champion: Eli Dershwitz (Tim Morehouse Fencing Club)
Silver: Cody Walter Ji (Nellya Fencers)
Bronze: Jared C. Smith (University of Notre Dame/Avant Garde Fencers Club Inc (CA) (AGFC))
Bronze: Darren Yen (Integrity Fencing Studio/New York University)
5th: Khalil A. Thompson (Peter Westbrook Foundation/Fencers Club Inc.)
6th: Elden S. Wood (Manhattan Fencing Center)
7th: Quinten (Quin) A. Burgunder (Durkan Fencing Academy)
8th: Braydon A. Bolton (Phoenix Fencing Academy)
Gold: Samuel A. Imrek (Alliance Fencing Academy)
Silver: Thomas (Tony) Whelan (Olympia Fencing Center)
Bronze: Miles J. Weiss (Alliance Fencing Academy)
Bronze: Noah E. Silvers (Windy City Fencing-Chicago)
5th: David J. Gornovsky
6th: Konstantin Vaysbukh (Long Island Fencing Center)
7th: Luka E. Loncar (Olympia Fencing Center)
8th: James J. Sennewald (Alliance Fencing Academy)