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Day 4 Recap: Division I and Parafencing National Championships & April NAC

04/24/2022, 6:00pm CDT
By Bryan Wendell

Four national champions were crowned on the fourth and final day of competition at the Division I/Parafencing National Championships and April North American Cup in Charlotte.

Tristan Szapary and Skyler Liverant battle in the finals of Division I men’s epee. Photo by Serge Timacheff

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — He woke up feeling optimistic, but Tristan Szapary (Fencers Club Inc./Fencing Academy of Philadelphia) didn’t know just how far those positive vibes would take him.

As it turns out, that optimism — coupled with years of hard work and expert coaching — took Szapary all the way to the Division I men’s epee national championship.

“Honestly, I woke up feeling pretty confident. I felt strong,” he says. “But I didn't know I was going to go this far.”

Szapary was one of four national champions crowned on the fourth and final day of competition at the Division I/Parafencing National Championships and April North American Cup in Charlotte, N.C.

The 20-year-old started fencing more than a decade ago — at age 9. To say he’s changed since then would be an incredible understatement, Szapary says.

“9-year-old me was incredibly unathletic, fencing foil for five years,” he says. “It’s just been a slow grind to make it up here.”

A big part of Szapary’s success has been an ability to remain focused — both in the weeks, months and years leading up to his national title and in the seconds and minutes before a match.

Before his finals bout, Szapary sat in a chair alone, his feet propped onto the barrier that coaches sit behind. He wore headphones and closed his eyes, listening to new music from Pusha T.

“That got me in the zone,” he says. “Today, I found myself smiling a lot — listening to music, having fun. I didn't take myself too seriously. I just went in with no expectations.”

Even with the gold medal around his neck, Szapary says the reality hasn’t quite hit.

“To get here, you have to be so concentrated and focused all day,” he says. “I'm still in that mindset of focus, focus, focus. I'm sure it's going to hit a little later.”

Shelby Jensen (Valkyrie Fencing Club) knows a thing or two about focus. The parafencing women’s saber national champion hasn’t stopped training and working hard since her trip to the Tokyo Paralympics last year.

“I am intensely training right now,” she says. “I'm going five days a week down to my home club and anytime they have camps. I'm all in.”

But even amid that intense training regimen, there’s room for community and friendships. Because that’s the thing about fencing — you can be bitter rivals on the strip and best friends off it, Jensen says.

“We're like a big family, and this goes for internationally and nationally,” she says. “Everybody, when they're fencing, they absolutely don't like each other. But when the mask is off, we laugh and smile and hug.”

Speaking of smiles, over in parafencing men’s saber, Will Chase (Shepherd Swords Fencing Club/Lotus Fencing Academy) secured the national championship and a tournament sweep. He’s now the reigning national champion in all three weapons.

Day 4 Results

Division II Women’s Saber

Gold: Sophia I. Schiminovich (Oregon Fencing Alliance)

Silver: Angelina Lele Yang (Laguna Fencing Center/LA Fencing Academy of Pomona)

Bronze: Lila Paul (Sheridan Fencing Academy)

Bronze: Charlotte S. Scalamoni-Goldstein (Advance Fencing and Fitness Academy)

5th: Zara A. Fearns (Halberstadt Fencers' Club)

6th: Sammy E. Nathanson (Dynamo Fencing Center Inc.)

7th: Kathryn G. Kynett (Premier Fencing Academy LLC)

8th: Helen Wu (Advance Fencing and Fitness Academy)


Division II Men’s Saber

Gold: Bernard J. Witek (Globus Fencing Academy)

Silver: Alec Avakian (Laguna Fencing Center / West Coast Fencing Academy)

Bronze: Aaron P. Buergenthal

Bronze: William Han

5th: Silas Choi (Globus Fencing Academy)

6th: George F. Luo (PDX Fencing)

7th: Albert Gao (Spartak)

8th: CJ Murzyn III (Lincoln Square Fencing)


Cadet Women’s Foil

Gold: Katerina Lung (Moe Fencing Club LLC)

Silver: Victoria Pevzner (V Fencing Club/LE CLUB TOUCHE)

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

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

5th: Allison V. Chen (Gutkovskiy Fencing Academy)

6th: Bridgette Z. Ouyang (Star Fencing Academy)

7th: Mikayla Chusid (Gutkovskiy Fencing Academy)

8th: Sophie L. Zhao (Bluegrass Fencers' Club/Queen City Fencers Club LLC)


Parafencing Men’s Saber

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

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

Bronze: Terre Engdahl (Denver Fencing Center)

Bronze: William Schoonover (Salt City Swords Fencing Club)

5th: Tim M. Kortenkamp

6th: James Downing (Denver Fencing Center)

7th: Mason Hall (Salt City Swords Fencing Club)

8th: Nicholas Badeaux (Fencing Institute of Texas)


Parafencing Women’s Saber

Gold and National Champion: Shelby A. Jensen (Valkyrie Fencing Club)

Silver: Terry Hayes (Southwest Florida Fencing Academy/Zeljkovic Fencing Academy)

Bronze: Patricia (Mama T) A. Dykes (Zeljkovic Fencing Academy/Fencing Academy Of Denver)


Division I Team Men’s Foil    

Gold and National Champions: Golden State Fencing Academy (Kian Dierks, Ethan I. Gassner and John O. Griffin)

Silver: Renaissance Fencing (Jeidus Deseranno, Samuel E. Freedman, Vir K. Gogoi and Luao Yang)

Bronze: Epic’s Team (Sean Oh, Leonardo T. Song and Owen S. Tang)


Division II Men’s Foil 

Gold: Jia Le Sean Ho (AIC  Fencing Club)

Silver: Eric Li (Star Fencing Academy)

Bronze: James G. Lin (Gutkovskiy Fencing Academy)

Bronze: Eric Min (Northwest Fencing Center)

5th: Michael Howard (Boston Fencing Club)

6th: Jorge Orvananos (Fencers Club Inc.)

7th: Cristian Porras (Metro Tacoma Fencing Club/Rain City Fencing Center)

8th: Justin Guo (5T Fencers Club)


Division I Men’s Epee

Gold and National Champion: Tristan B. Szapary (Fencers Club Inc./Fencing Academy of Philadelphia)

Silver: Skyler J. Liverant (New York Fencing Academy)

Bronze: Jonas B. Hansen (Harvard University/Olympia Fencing Center)

Bronze: Ethan Kushnerik (New York Athletic Club/New York Fencing Academy)

5th: Yeisser Ramirez (Peter Westbrook Foundation/Fencers Club Inc.)

6th: Justin Yoo (New York Athletic Club/New York Fencing Academy)

7th: Ryan Griffiths (Pennsylvania State University/New York Athletic Club)

8th: Ivan Zagoruiko (North Shore Fencers Club /St. John's University)

Junior Women’s Epee

Gold: Leehi Machulsky (Academy of Fencing Masters)

Silver: Ruien Xiao

Bronze: Yasmine A. Khamis (Alliance Fencing Academy)

Bronze: Karen Wang (Alliance Fencing Academy)

5th: Victoria Kuznetsov (Lilov Fencing Academy)

6th: Hadley N. Husisian (Fencers Club Inc./DC Fencers Club)

7th: Isabella Chin (New York Fencing Academy)

8th: Tierna A. Oxenreider (Columbus International Fencing Academy)

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