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Day 3 Recap: Division I and Parafencing National Championships & April NAC

04/23/2022, 8:45pm CDT
By Bryan Wendell

The third day of action saw four national titles awarded, including a championship for Kasia Nixon in Division I women's epee.

Kasia Nixon (Peter Westbrook Foundation/Fencers Club Inc.) celebrates after winning the national championship in Division I women's epee. Photo by Serge Timacheff

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Yes, dropping a couple of matches during pool play — where those first-to-five bouts fly by in seemingly no time — will mean you have a lower seed and a tougher path to the finals. But those early losses don’t doom your chances of becoming a national champion.

Just ask Kasia Nixon (Peter Westbrook Foundation/Fencers Club Inc.). The women’s epee fencer lost two of her six pool bouts, which ranked her 22nd entering the direct elimination rounds. But that seemed not to matter as she kept on winning and didn’t stop until she was the Division I gold medalist and national champion.

“It’s about believing that it's possible — knowing that even if you do bad in pools, it’s not the end. Of course, you're going to have a tougher mountain to climb, but people do it,” Nixon says. “Tonight and tomorrow, I'm going to think about the bouts I lost and figure out what went wrong there. But in the moment, in the competition, I have to focus ahead and move on.”

Even after a win like this one — which happened on the third day of the Division I/Parafencing National Championships and April North American Cup in Charlotte, N.C. — Nixon plans to analyze what went right and wrong.

“Sometimes I watch video, and I talk a lot with my coach. He sees all my bouts and gives advice — what I did that was working, not working,” she says. “I do a lot of memory drills so that I can remember my bouts. So I think I have a pretty good idea of what went wrong in those bouts and what I should fix in the future.”

Nixon says she’ll spend a lot of time reflecting on this win — especially because her finals opponent was three-time Olympian Courtney Hurley (New York Athletic Club/Alliance Fencing Academy). Hurley had an impressive tournament as she looked for her sixth Division I national championship in the event.

Seeing an Olympian on the other side of the strip could be intimidating, but Nixon says she tried to treat Hurley like any opponent.

“I completely respect Courtney,” Nixon says. “I’ve been on teams with her, and we've gone to camps together and everything. She's amazing, and I’ve got to respect that. But it doesn't mean that she's unbeatable or that it's impossible. So I'm going to believe in my skill, and we're going to battle it out.”

Will Chase (Shepherd Swords Fencing Club/Lotus Fencing Academy) knows about battling. After fencing in the able-bodied classification for years, he was injured and took a break from the sport altogether. Friends encouraged him to give parafencing a try, and he eventually listened to their advice.

“I was able to get back into fencing, and I’m super thankful for that,” he says. “It's been a long journey. Parafencing is very different from able-bodied in the sense that some of the actions are similar, but some of the strategies may not be. And it's just been adapting some of the skills I've developed over the years and applying it here. It’s a very unique experience.”

On Friday, Chase won the parafencing national title in men’s foil. On Saturday, he did the same in men’s epee. He says training across different weapons requires commitment, great coaching — and lots of hours watching videos.

“I try and follow some of the clips,” he says. “And then I have great access to a wonderful foil coach who is able to apply a lot of the same lessons into the other disciplines, as well. It’s about just seeing it and absorbing as much as I can.”

Meanwhile, in junior men’s saber, gold medalist Jordan Silberzweig (Manhattan Fencing Center) was just happy to have made it to the finals — a first for him at a North American Cup. After a strong start in pools, Silberzweig says he kept winning by maximizing the downtime between rounds.

“I like to just sit down and really focus on my next opponent,” he says. “It's really easy to lose focus after such a long day. So it’s important to just stay in the zone and keep being ready to work hard in the next round.”

By the time he got to the finals strip — in front of an audience of at least a hundred — Silberzweig felt his mindset switch a bit.

“I was just very excited because it was my first time making it that far at a NAC,” he says. “So really, I felt like the pressure kind of was taken off of me. I just went out there and had fun.”

Day 3 Results

Division I Men’s Epee — Team

Gold and National Champions: Alliance Fencing Academy 1 (Samuel A. Imrek, Anton Piskovatskov, Michael A. Popovici and Miles J. Weiss)

Silver: Penta (Christopher Chong, Gary S. North, Ian C. Park and Kozmo Rhyu)

Bronze: MFA (Simon A. Jones, Adam W. Maczik and Maximo S. Zafft)


Division I Women’s Epee

Gold and National Champion: Kasia Nixon (Peter Westbrook Foundation/Fencers Club Inc.)

Silver: Courtney L. Hurley (New York Athletic Club/Alliance Fencing Academy)

Bronze: Ketki Ketkar (Kaizen Academy LLC)

Bronze: Leehi Machulsky (Academy of Fencing Masters)

5th: Hadley N. Husisian (Fencers Club Inc./DC Fencers Club)

6th: Margherita A. Vincenti Guzzi (Ataba Fencing Club)

7th: Amanda L. Pirkowski (University of Notre Dame)

8th: Kyle R. Fallon (Fencing Academy of Westchester)


Cadet Men’s Foil

Gold: Renzo K. Fukuda (Massialas Foundation — M Team)

Silver: Caleb A. Jeon (Silicon Valley Fencing Center)

Bronze: Joseph Glasson

Bronze: Richard Li (Star Fencing Academy)

5th: Conrad Lo (Massialas Foundation — M Team)

6th: Anup Banerjee (Silicon Valley Fencing Center)

7th: Peter J. Bruk (Gutkovskiy Fencing Academy)

8th: Justice Cullivan (Columbus Fencing and Fitness LLC)


Junior Men’s Saber

Gold: Jordan H. Silberzweig (Manhattan Fencing Center)

Silver: Anthony Jiang (Spartak)

Bronze: William Morrill (Fencers Club Inc.)

Bronze: Cody Walter Ji (Nellya Fencers)

5th: Connor Liang (Laguna Fencing Center)

6th: Kevin J. Sohn (Southern California Fencing Academy)

7th: Matthew G. Limb (Avant Garde Fencers Club Inc (CA))

8th: Carter E. Berrio (Alle Fencing Club)


Parafencing Men’s Epee

Gold and National Champion: Will Chase (Shepherd Swords Fencing Club/Lotus Fencing Academy)

Silver: Scott Rodgers (Denver Fencing Center)

Bronze: Terre Engdahl (Denver Fencing Center)

Bronze: William Schoonover (Salt City Swords Fencing Club)

5th: Mason Hall (Salt City Swords Fencing Club)

6th: Tim M. Kortenkamp

7th: Noah Hanssen (Salle Palasz/Tri-Weapon Fencing Club)

8th: Timothy Birt (Auburn Fencing Club/Shepherd Swords Fencing Club)


Parafencing Women’s Epee

Gold and National Champion: Jillian Kosanovich (Denver Fencing Center)

Silver: Victoria A. Isaacson (The Phoenix Center/Rogue Fencing Academy)

Bronze: Shelby A. Jensen (Valkyrie Fencing Club)

Bronze: Ellen T. Geddes (Shepherd Swords Fencing Club)

5th: Terry Hayes (Southwest Florida Fencing Academy/Zeljkovic Fencing Academy)

6th: Andrea Hampton (West Michigan Fencing Academy)


Cadet Women’s Saber

Gold: Madeline A. Engelman-Sanz (Bergen Fencing Club)

Silver: Jenna Shoman (Manhattan Fencing Center)

Bronze: Janna N. Freedman (South Bay Fencing Academy)

Bronze: Minna Krastev (Cardinal Fencing Club)

5th: Madison Duckett (Tim Morehouse Fencing Club)

6th: Charmaine G. Andres (Southern California Fencing Academy)

7th: Trisha Nath (Bergen Fencing Club/Olympian Fencing Studio)

8th: Katie Jeong (Bergen Fencing Club)


Division II Men’s Epee

Gold: Dylan J. Kim (Elite Fencing Academy (GA)/Elite Fencing Academy (VA))

Silver: Max Prihodko (Olympia Fencing Center)

Bronze: Benjamin O'Donnell (Windy City Fencing-Chicago)

Bronze: Ethan Dennis (Windy City Fencing-Chicago)

5th: Oscar (Bo Lang) Cui

6th: Jalen Li (Long Island Fencing Center)

7th: Thomas P. Murphy (Penta Olympic Fencing Club)

8th: Joseph B. Spina (Fencing Center of Chicago)


Junior Women’s Foil

Gold: Jessica Zi Jia Guo

Silver: Katerina Lung (Moe Fencing Club LLC)

Bronze: Crystal Qian (Silicon Valley Fencing Center)

Bronze: Jia P. Chen (V Fencing Club/LE CLUB TOUCHE)

5th: Ellen Wang (Moe Fencing Club LLC)

6th: Alina Lee (Massialas Foundation (M Team) /The Ohio State University)

7th: Emily Jing (Marx Fencing Academy)

8th: Gabrielle Grace A. Gebala (Silicon Valley Fencing Center)

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