Right: Liora Profis (New York Fencing Academy) fences against Meredith Richardson (Olympia Fencing Center) — Photo by Serge Timacheff
FORT WORTH, Texas — Even though he was ranked first among all Y14 Men’s Epee fencers competing at the November 2023 North American Cup, Andy Zheng (Guanyi Fencing Academy/Twin Cities Fencing Club) didn’t come in expecting gold.
Winning gold in any weapon — but perhaps most of all epee — is never a guarantee for the tournament’s top-ranked fencer.
But even that bit of added pressure didn’t slow Zheng down on his way to a gold medal on Friday on the tournament’s first day.
“I was just hoping to do my best round after round wasn't expecting gold, but yeah, but I'm happy with it,” he says. “I'm really happy with it.”
In Y14 Women’s Epee, Liora Profis (New York Fencing Academy) wasn’t the tournament’s top seed, but that didn’t stop her from winning one direct elimination bout after another — seven in all — on her way to her first gold at a national tournament.
“It means a lot,” she says. “I've been working really hard for this. And I've always dreamed of winning a national competition. So it feels very fulfilling — really good.”
Profis says it was important not to feel down after losing two pool bouts early in the day.
“I was a little discouraged by this, but thanks to help all my coaches, friends, parents, everyone, I was able to persevere,” she says. “And in the end, I was able to do pretty well.”
More than pretty well — she’s taking home the gold medal (and a cowboy hat from the Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau).
“I just love everything about fencing,” she says. “The fencing, the social aspect of it — and winning also. That's a perk.”
In Junior Men’s Saber, Taylor Chon (Globus Fencing Academy) outlasted a massive field in the day’s largest event. Some 311 of the best under-20 men’s saber fencers showed up in Fort Worth, and with a field that big, there’s no perfect strategy.
“Honestly, there's no real way just to deal with that,” he says. “It’s about just taking it one bout at a time and knowing that I have a good support system. I just want to thank the people around me that brought me this far.”
Chon, who won bronze in Cadet Men’s Saber at the 2023 Junior and Cadet Worlds, has seen his fencing skills take him around the world. But this tournament was an exception. The Carrollton, Texas, resident didn’t have to fly or even book a hotel room for this North American Cup.
“It’s kind of nice for me, just because I got to wake up out of my own bed, drive my own car here,” he says. “In terms of preparation, it was a bit odd. But the mentality was the same: I’m here with a goal, and I'm here to accomplish that goal. And, thankfully, I did.”
In Cadet Women's Foil, Jaelyn Liu (Star Fencing Academy / Fencing Institute of Texas), who recently moved from the Dallas area to Boston, enjoyed a homecoming of sorts.
"I miss it here," she says. "I like the home energy, and I really like being in Texas and fencing here."
Liu says that the key to her success today was "fencing smart."
"Yes, I used a lot of my energy," she says. "But I used my brain to fence today. I didn't hardcore fence into people or try to in-fight people. I used my brain and fenced with the distance."
Liu, who finished fencing after 9:30 p.m. local time, plans to get some boba tea and rest up for the Junior Women's Foil event.
"I love fencing," she says. "It's really fun for me. I just just want to keep on going forward and making new friends and just fencing smart and everything, basically."
Photo by Serge Timacheff
Junior Men’s Saber
Gold: Taylor Chon (Globus Fencing Academy)
Silver: Matthew Linsky (Manhattan Fencing Center)
Bronze: Neil Lilov (Lilov Fencing Academy)
Bronze: Lukas Eichhorn (Nellya Fencers)
5th: Roger Wu (University Of California San Diego NCAA)
6th: Kevin Sohn (Southern California Fencing Academy - SOCALFA)
7th: William Morrill (Scarsdale Fencing Center / Fencers Club Inc.)
8th: Emilio Gonzalez (Scarsdale Fencing Center / Fencers Club Inc.)
Cadet Women’s Foil
Gold: Jaelyn Liu (Star Fencing Academy / Fencing Institute of Texas)
Silver: Mikayla Chusid (Gutkovskiy Fencing Academy)
Bronze: Rebecca Cho (Top Fencing Club)
Bronze: Anice Orvananos (Fencers Club Inc. / Top Fencing Club)
5th: Alexandra Nissinoff (V Fencing Club)
6th: Emily Cho (V Fencing Club)
7th: Caterina Fedeli (Epic Fencing Club / SCAD- Atlanta Fencing)
8th: Vera Fung (Silicon Valley Fencing Center)
Cadet Men’s Foil
Gold: Roy J. Graham (Jovanovic Fencing / Cambridge Fencing Center / Avenues Online)
Silver: Conrad Lo (Massialas Foundation - M Team)
Bronze: Riccardo Sisinni (Silicon Valley Fencing Center)
Bronze: Jeidus Deseranno (Renaissance Fencing Club)
5th: Richard Li (Star Fencing Academy)
6th: Owen G. Traugot (Manhattan Fencing Center)
7th: Alexander Wu (Star Fencing Academy)
8th: Lucas Senic (Renaissance Fencing Club)
Y-14 Women’s Epee
Gold: Liora Profis (New York Fencing Academy)
Silver: Meredith Richardson (Olympia Fencing Center)
Bronze: Yanka Sobus (Dynamo Fencing Center Inc.)
Bronze: Avni Shiv (Alliance Fencing Academy)
5th: Luxi Guo (Yang Fencing Club)
6th: Adriana Ferreira de Melo (Epee Miami Fencing Club)
7th: Alanis Waller Del Valle (Alliance Fencing Academy)
8th: Eva Campbell (Charlotte Fencing Academy)
Y-14 Men’s Epee
Gold: Andy Zheng (Guanyi Fencing Academy / Twin Cities Fencing Club)
Silver: Lucas Hu (Canada)
Bronze: Junzhe Shan (Canada)
Bronze: Carter Bradshaw (Olympia Fencing Center)
5th: Benjamin Mao (Medeo Fencing Club)
6th: Dashan Xia (Cavalier Fencing Club / Rogue Fencing Academy)
7th: Daniel Rubin (Canada)
8th: Alan Lam (ASER International Fencing Academy)
Y-14 Women’s Saber
Gold: Xuanyi Zhang (LA Fencing Academy of Pomona)
Silver: Martina Fernandez (Nellya Fencers)
Bronze: Yifei Liu (Manhattan Fencing Center)
Bronze: Leah Hsu (Nellya Fencers)
5th: Sofiia Vinogorova (Fencing Academy of Denver)
5th: Valentina Chiarelli (Manhattan Fencing Center)
7th: Delilah Huai (Premier Fencing Academy)
8th: Charlotte G. Young (Manhattan Fencing Center)
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