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March 2023 NAC Day 2 Recap: Cowboy Hats Add Motivation for Cadet Women’s Saber Team of Friends from Three Different Clubs

03/04/2023, 10:00pm CST
By Bryan Wendell

This quartet, which chose the name Cool Peeps, was a “super group” made up of four friends from three different USA Fencing clubs. Their formula was a golden one on Saturday at the 2023 Parafencing National Championships and March North American Cup, held in Fort Worth, Texas.

Meet the Cool Peeps: Reya Ghayalod, Siena Nguyen, Charmaine Andres and Sophia I. Schiminovich. (Photo by Serge Timacheff)

FORT WORTH, TEXAS — Four fencers. Three clubs. One dream.

“We were just here to have fun,” says Sophia Schiminovich (Oregon Fencing Alliance). “And then once we found out that we might get cowboy hats, it was like inspiration for us. It was our motivation.”

The knowledge that each gold medalist at the 2023 Parafencing National Championships and March North American Cup, held in Fort Worth, Texas, would receive a cowboy hat courtesy of the Fort Worth Sports Commission might have helped push the Cadet Women’s Saber Team gold medalists a bit. 

But also helping their case: This quartet, which chose the name Cool Peeps, was a “super group” made up of four friends from three different USA Fencing clubs. USA Fencing rules allow fencers from different clubs to compete together in non-championship team events, like this one.

Cool Peeps included Schiminovich of the Oregon Fencing Alliance, Reya Ghayalod of the Durkan Fencing Academy, and Charmaine Andres and Siena Nguyen, both from the Socal Fencing Academy (SoCALFA).

“We've been good friends for a while,” Ghayalod says. “And we've been planning this. We're super excited to finally do a team event together, and it obviously worked out.”

It did, indeed. Theirs was one of 11 gold medals awarded on Saturday, the second day of the tournament. 

While some Cadets opted to form teams of fencers from different clubs, others kept everything in the “family.” Like the Cadet Women’s Epee squad of Daniella BargMargarita PotapenkoMelinda Yao and Victoria Zhang — all from the Alliance Fencing Academy. 

Their secret to success was motivating one another by yelling loudly after every single touch. 

“We said ‘let’s go’ in like seven different languages,” Zhang says. “AndiamoAllez.”  

“It doesn’t matter if we’re winning or we’re losing, whether it’s a double touch or a single touch, we all cheer,” adds Barg.

While the Cadets from Alliance were winning their way to gold in the team event, their clubmate Chloe (CJ) Tolsma was doing the same in Y12 Women’s Epee.

Tolsma says the secret to emerging at the top of a field of 150 is taking things one bout at a time. Not that that’s always easy. The bracket is right there on Fencing Time, and it’s tempting to look a round or two ahead to see who you might face next.

“Honestly, that happened to me a few times today, but I just kept trying to block out those thoughts and just keep like focusing on one bout,” Tolsma says. “I just kept repeating that over and over — just focus on one bout at a time.”

Full Day 2 Results

Y14 Women's Foil

Gold: Iris Yang (Tim Morehouse Fencing Club (Port Chester))

Silver: Lavender Lee (Top Fencing Club)

Bronze: Joy Zhaoyi Liu (Golubitsky Fencing Center)

Bronze: Ella Calise (Tim Morehouse Fencing Club (Port Chester))

5: Prisha Maniktala (Silicon Valley Fencing Center)

6: Ava Mcsherry (Fencers Club Inc.)

7: Viviene E. Goor (Massialas Foundation (M Team))

8: Zhi Tong Lin (Canada)


Y14 Men's Epee

Gold: Nathaniel P. Wimmer (Elite Fencing Academy (VA) / Elite Fencing Academy (GA))

Silver: Daniel Chirashnya (Academy of Fencing Masters (AFM))

Bronze: Geoffrey B. Yao (True Focus Sports Academy)

Bronze: Kaixuan He (China)

5: Dylan G. Kats (New York Fencing Academy)

6: Alex Wolfe (Penta Olympic Fencing Club / Orlando Fencing Sports Center LLC)

7: Hongrui Yue (Canada)

8: Jake Lo (Swords Fencing Studio)


Y14 Men's Saber

Gold: Eric Kwalwasser (Stamford Fencing Center LLC)

Silver: Emilio A. Gonzalez (Scarsdale Fencing Center / Fencers Club Inc.)

Bronze: Alex F. Huang (Lilov Fencing Academy)

Bronze: Alexander Shipitsin (Dynamo Fencing Center Inc.)

5: Daniel Holz (Premier Fencing Academy LLC)

6: Jonathan Ng (Durkan Fencing Academy)

7: Christopher Guffey (Globus Fencing Academy)

8: Maksymilian A. Skarbonkiewicz (Oregon Fencing Alliance)


Y12 Women's Epee

Gold: Chloe (CJ) Tolsma (Alliance Fencing Academy)

Silver: Regina Lee (Swords Fencing Studio)

Bronze: Ziqi (Yoyo) Wang (Swords Fencing Studio)

Bronze: Adriana Ferreira De Melo (Epee Miami Fencing Club)

5: Pinar Yilmaz (Alliance Fencing Academy)

6: Liora Profis (New York Fencing Academy)

7: Luxi Guo (Yang Fencing Club)

8: Julieanne Qi (Guanyi Fencing Academy)


Y12 Women's Saber

Gold: Charlotte G. Young (Manhattan Fencing Center)

Silver: Royce Awad (Lilov Fencing Academy)

Bronze: Xuanyi Zhang (LA Fencing Academy of Pomona)

Bronze: Korina Leou (Bergen Fencing Club)

5: Vasilisa Kuraeva (Alle Fencing Club)

6: Anna Hu (Fencing Club Of Mercer County)

7: Hanna Gugala (Bergen Fencing Club)

8: Amy Zhai (LA Fencing Academy of Pomona)


Y12 Men's Foil

Gold: Chenqiao Zhou (Canada)

Silver: Dalton Sheng (AIC Fencing Club)

Bronze: Kevin Lu (Rain City Fencing Center)

Bronze: Lucas Senic (Renaissance Fencing Club)

5: Alber Y. Wu (Silicon Valley Fencing Center)

6: Jacob Zhang (Precision Athletics Fencing Club)

7: Hugo Rautureau (North Bay Fencing Academy)

8: Evan Parrish (AIC Fencing Club)


Cadet Women's Epee — Team

Gold: Alliance Fencing Academy 1 (Daniella Barg, Margarita D. Potapenko, Melinda Yao and Victoria R. Zhang)

Silver: Swords + 1 (Varvara Bezuglaya, Zoe L. Kim, Tallulah Nguyen and Elizabeth Zigalo)

Bronze: Lunge Bob (Olympia) (Nour Azmeh, Natalya Cafasso, Phoebe C. Chisholm and Sierra Springer)


Cadet Women's Saber — Team

Gold: Cool Peeps (Charmaine G. Andres, Reya Ghayalod, Siena Nguyen and Sophia I. Schiminovich)

Silver: Flames (Jasmine Attia, Aria F. Bevacqua, Arya Chavan and Melissa Chiang)

Bronze: Chicago Team (Emilia Pabian, Heartlyn Tabangay and Irmak Senoglu)


Cadet Men's Foil — Team

Gold: LAIFC (Nathan Canlas, Lawrence I. Naygas and Leor B. Sadovsky) 

Silver: Nor'easter (Eric Li, Congyu Josh Sima and Michael Lin)

Bronze: PNW (Gabriel H. Guerra, Harrison Kim, Christopher T. Lee and Riccardo Sisinni)


Parafencing Men's Foil

Gold and National Champion: Scott Rodgers PLY (Denver Fencing Center)

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

Bronze: Kevin Reeve (Kern Athletic Fencing Foundation)

Bronze: Nicholas Badeaux (Fencing Institute of Texas)

5: Sam Long (Denver Fencing Center)

6: Mason Hall (Salt City Swords Fencing Club)

7: Gregory Tyler (Golubitsky Fencing Center)

8: Matthew Pevoto (North Texas)


Parafencing Women’s Foil

Gold and National Champion: Jataya Taylor (Denver Fencing Center)

Silver: Julie Grant (Salle Auriol Seattle)

Bronze: Patricia (Mama T) A. Dykes

Day 2 Photo Album

Explore all the Day 2 photos in this Facebook album.

Tag(s): Latest News  March 2023 NAC