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2023 Junior and Cadet Worlds Day 2: Will Morrill Takes Giant Leap to the Top of the Cadet Men’s Saber Podium

04/02/2023, 2:30pm CDT
By Bryan Wendell

On the second day of the 2023 Junior & Cadet Fencing World Championships in Bulgaria, the Cadet Saber teams took center stage, bringing home three more medals for Team USA.

PLOVDIV, Bulgaria — A year after falling one round short of a place in the gold medal final, Will Morrill (Scarsdale Fencing Center) returned to the Cadet Men’s Saber competition in 2023 with one thing on his mind: gold.

“I've definitely gained some confidence and composure,” he says, “and also I’ve been practicing harder, working harder, just to build up all the technique and everything that goes into winning the gold medal.”

That yearlong work paid off Sunday at the 2023 Junior & Cadet Fencing World Championships in Bulgaria, when Morrill bested 106 other competitors to become the 2023 Cadet Men’s Saber World Champion.

Morrill is the first Cadet Men's Saber World Champion in Team USA history.

In 2022, Morrill earned a bronze medal in Cadet Men’s Saber at the Junior & Cadet Worlds in Dubai. His bronze was a hard-won consolation prize after a loss in the semifinals to Colin Heathcock, who was then fencing for Team Germany and now fences for Team USA (winning Junior Men’s Saber gold for the Americans on Day 1 of this competition).

In this year’s semifinals, it wasn’t a future countryman staring Morrill down from the other side of the strip but a current one: Taylor Chon (Globus Fencing Academy). Chon, who is making his Junior & Cadet Worlds debut this year, blazed through the direct elimination rounds in a day that included a thrilling comeback from down 8-4 and 14-12 in the quarterfinals.

In the all-American semifinal, Chon and Morrill traded the lead several times before Morrill ultimately prevailed, 15-12.

“It was definitely a great experience,” Chon says. “You know, there was that assurance that we'll have a guy in the finals. It was me or Will. It was a great bout, and Will is a great fencer. We both put everything we had on the strip, and I’m glad he took the gold medal.”

Chon’s bronze is all the more impressive when you factor in an injury he sustained about three weeks ago. While not serious enough to keep him out of the Junior & Cadet Worlds competition, no competitor wants to be hurting going into their season’s most important tournament.

“But, you know, it really boils down to how much you want it,” Chon says. “And I came in with the mentality that I really wanted to medal today. So, thankfully, I got a medal.”

In the final against Poland’s Benedykt Denkiewicz, Morrill says he used the lessons from his coach, Achiko Lortkipanidze, to stay focused even after losing a touch or two.

“I was just trying to keep the aggression and keep the pressure up — not give them a chance to make an adjustment or take the tempo of the bout,” Morrill says. “So just keep doing what was working and get rid of what wasn't working. And just staying confident until the end of the bout.”

The medals for Morrill and Chon in Cadet Men’s Saber continue a streak for Team USA, which has earned at least one medal in this event every year since 2016.

Morrill says the pathway to a world championship is a journey — but one worth taking.

“There's going to be ups; there's definitely going to be downs,” he says. “Just make sure that you bounce back and learn from your mistakes instead of beating yourself up over things that don't go right. It's all part of the process.”

In Cadet Women’s Saber competition, Jenna Shoman (Manhattan Fencing Center) found the right process throughout the day. Shoman, who was making her debut at Junior & Cadet Worlds, was the third-best fencer out of pools (5-0, +16 indicator) and never looked back, flying through a difficult field of fencers before ultimately losing in the semifinals to Azerbaijan’s Zarifa Huseynova.

Shoman’s bronze medal continues a nice medal run for Team USA in Cadet Women’s Saber. An American has medaled in the event every year since 2017.

Photo by #BizziTeam

Full Day 2 Results

Cadet Women’s Saber

  • Bronze: Jenna Shoman
    • Manhattan Fencing Center
    • Coaches: Sergey Isayenko, Yury Gelman
  • 6th: Sophie Liu
    • Capital Fencing Academy
    • Coaches: Dariusz Gilman, Elliott Clinton
  • T-45th: Hannah Lee
    • Boston Fencing Club
    • Coach: Matthew Zich


Cadet Men’s Saber

  • Gold: Will Morrill
    • Scarsdale Fencing Center, Fencers Club Inc.
    • Coach: Achiko Lortkipanidze
  • Bronze: Taylor Chon
    • Globus Fencing Academy
    • Coaches: Hyo Kun Lee, Andrew Fischl, Bernard Witek
  • 19th: Cody Walter Ji
    • Nellya Fencers
    • Coach: Terrence Lasker

Day 2 Photo Album

Find more than 100 great photos on Facebook.

Tag(s): Latest News  2023 Jr/Cdt Worlds