Hailey Eyer (right) fences against Gabrielle Grace Gebala in the finals of Cadet Women's Foil at the March NAC. (Photo by Serge Timacheff)
FORT WORTH, TEXAS — Hailey Eyer (Manchen Academy of Fencing) is nonstop. After storms delayed her flight into Fort Worth, Eyer didn’t arrive at her hotel until after midnight. And, her mom says, the Cadet Women’s Foil fencer didn’t get to bed until 2 a.m.
That made the morning start for Cadet Women’s Foil seem so much earlier. But even on four hours of sleep, Eyer outlasted 181 other Cadets to finish with the gold medal. The key, Eyer says, was staying fueled with Gatorade, snacks and a coach who knows how to motivate her during the one-minute break between rounds.
“Yeah, so during breaks, I'm tired, obviously,” she says. “So something that really helps me is my coach telling me, ‘just give me one good period.’ That really helps me focus — like, 'three more minutes of good fencing.' That helps me.”
Eyer’s gold was one of eight awarded on Friday, the first day of the 2023 Parafencing National Championships and March North American Cup, held in Fort Worth, Texas.
The victory marked back-to-back wins at USA Fencing national tournaments for Eyer. At the 2023 Junior Olympics in February, she emerged atop a field of 198 to grab the gold medal and national title. Just 11 days later, she won it all again.
Alexander Bezrodnov (Medeo Fencing Club) has been on a similarly strong run. The Cadet Men’s Epee fencer foot-touched his way to gold at the March NAC just a few weeks after learning he’d secured a spot on the 2023 Junior & Cadet Worlds team.
Bezrodnov was on the flight to Denver for the Junior Olympics when he got the email from USA Fencing saying he’d made the team for Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
“At first I was unsure it was right,” he says. “But then my coach confirmed it, and my dad congratulated me. I felt really, really relieved.”
Scott Rodgers PLY (Denver Fencing Center) knows a thing or two about representing Team USA. He’s has been fencing for more than 25 years, is a three-time Paralympian and earned a bronze medal at the 2004 Games in Athens.
On Friday, Rodgers earned gold in parafencing men’s epee — his first national title since 2010.
“I'm getting better and better and really trying to push the limits of what I can do and where I can get to,” Rodgers says. “Being able to come back and do it after 13 years since I was on the top of the podium, yeah. It is pretty special. And knowing how hard it is to go out and compete, year in and year out to get there is pretty special.”
While Rodgers can count his fencing experience in decades, Jataya Taylor (Denver Fencing Center) can count hers in months.
Taylor has been fencing for eight months, and on Friday, she won her first national title in parafencing women’s epee. She’s competed in other adaptive sports but says fencing brings something different.
“What's interesting is it's more calming for me,” she syas. “Wheelchair basketball, sled hockey — I let all my anger out. But fencing is really good for my mental health. With my changing medical issues, too, it allows me to continue to participate. So it's kind of exciting.”
Speaking of exciting, more excitement is coming very soon for Rodgers and Taylor. Both of these 2023 national champions will compete at the IWAS World Cup in Pisa, Italy, from March 16–19.
Each winner at the March NAC receives a hat courtesy of the Fort Worth Sports Commission. (Photo by Serge Timacheff)
Cadet Women's Foil
Gold: Hailey M. Eyer (Manchen Academy Of Fencing)
Silver: Gabrielle Grace A. Gebala (Silicon Valley Fencing Center)
Bronze: Kaitlyn N. Tan (Star Fencing Academy)
Bronze: Lydia Shen (Star Fencing Academy)
5T: Adeline Senic (Renaissance Fencing Club)
5T: Jaelyn A. Liu (Star Fencing Academy / Fencing Institute Of Texas)
7: Sara Amr Hossny (South Brooklyn Fencing)
8: Yuqiao Aprille Song (Canada)
Cadet Men's Epee
Gold: Alexander Bezrodnov (Medeo Fencing Club)
Silver: Julius Destefano (Epee Miami Fencing Club)
Bronze: Reid Kokenge (Medeo Fencing Club)
Bronze: Andy Zheng (Guanyi Fencing Academy / Twin Cities Fencing Club)
5: Jonathan Wu (Cavalier Fencing Club)
6: Elijah S. Imrek (Alliance Fencing Academy)
7: Ari Silvers (Windy City Fencing-Chicago)
8: Alex Wolfe (Penta Olympic Fencing Club / Orlando Fencing Sports Center LLC)
Cadet Men's Saber
Gold: Emilio A. Gonzalez (Scarsdale Fencing Center / Fencers Club Inc.)
Silver: Aaryan A. Patil (Southern California Fencing Academy (SOCALFA))
Bronze: Daniel Holz (Premier Fencing Academy LLC)
Bronze: Krish Kilari (Fencing Academy of Denver)
5: Inkosi Brou (Peter Westbrook Foundation / Fencers Club Inc.)
6: Zachary Shoman (Manhattan Fencing Center)
7: Christopher Hu (Bergen Fencing Club)
8: Nazir Primus (Peter Westbrook Foundation / Fencers Club Inc.)
Y10 Women's Epee
Gold: Tanya Dhaiya (Marx Fencing Academy)
Silver: Simone Allievi (Arena Fencing Academy LLC)
Bronze: Evelyn Zhong (Elite Fencers Club)
Bronze: Sofia Francesca Operario (Las Vegas Fencing Academy)
5: Sophia Habek (East Bay Fencers Gym)
6: Alexa Ramey (Alliance Fencing Academy)
7: Alina Chen (Boston Fencing Club)
8: Jessica Wu (Yang Fencing Club)
Y10 Women's Saber
Gold: JiaQi Wang (Platinum Fencing Academy)
Silver: Jessie Long (LA Fencing Academy of Pomona)
Bronze: Joy Gong (International Fencing Club)
Bronze: Ashley Zhang (Platinum Fencing Academy)
5: Olivia Zhang (Globus Fencing Academy)
6: Heidi Hu (Nellya Fencers)
7: Rei Nemorin (Manhattan Fencing Center)
8: Lingran Zhao (China)
Y10 Men's Foil
Gold: Chenqiao Zhou (Canada)
Silver: Charles Yang (Silicon Valley Fencing Center)
Bronze: Gaven Hou (Star Fencing Academy)
Bronze: Nathan Zhao (Bluegrass Fencers' Club / Queen City Fencers Club LLC)
5: Brando Fukuda (Massialas Foundation (M Team))
6: Fletcher Mazaheri (Bluegrass Fencers' Club)
7: Ryan Jazwinski (Gutkovskiy Fencing Academy)
8: Royce Tang (5T Fencers Club)
Parafencing Women's Epee
Gold and National Champion: Jataya Taylor (Denver Fencing Center)
Silver: Julie Grant (Salle Auriol Seattle)
Bronze: Patricia “Mama T” Dykes
Parafencing Men's Epee
Gold and National Champion: Scott Rodgers PLY (Denver Fencing Center)
Silver: Noah Hanssen (Salle Palasz / Tri-Weapon Fencing Club)
Bronze: Nicholas Badeaux (Fencing Institute of Texas)
Bronze: Mason Hall (Salt City Swords Fencing Club)
5: James Downing (Denver Fencing Center)
6: Terre Engdahl (Denver Fencing Center)
7: Sam Long (Denver Fencing Center)
8: Gregory Tyler (Golubitsky Fencing Center)
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Tag(s): Latest News March 2023 NAC