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Junior Olympics 2024, Day 3 Recap: Young Cadets Claim National Titles in Dominant Fashion

02/18/2024, 9:00pm CST
By Bryan Wendell

In Cadet (under 17) competition, Caterina Fedeli and Emilio Gonzalez won their first national titles, while Alexander Bezrodnov won his second in a row. It was all part of an action-packed third day of the 2024 Junior Olympics and Para NAC.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — At the end of an eight-hour workday, sometimes you just want to let out a big scream.

For Caterina Fedeli (Epic Fencing Club & SCAD- Atlanta Fencing), whose fencing workday began at 8 a.m. and ended just before 4 p.m., this was the scream of a nearly crowned champion. Fedeli exerted her dominance on Sunday, winning the Cadet Women’s Foil national championship — one of three individual titles earned on the third day of the 2024 Junior Olympics and Parafencing NAC in Charlotte.

“This is my first time ever winning an event like this,” she says. “I just felt like I've been working really hard. And I just am really grateful that I've been able to accomplish this — with the help of everyone.”

Fedeli’s day began in pools, where she was the top finisher with a 6-0 record and +27 indicator (30 touches scored, 3 received). She powered through the direct elimination rounds without giving up double-digit touches to any opponent, winning 15-1, 15-7, 14-7, 15-5, 15-2, 13-9 and 15-9.

“I'm really proud that I got to push myself a lot,” she says. “Toward the end, I was getting kind of tired. But I knew that I couldn't stop now, and I just had to finish off strong.”

Fedeli says she’s been working on improving her on-the-strip stamina, ensuring she’s able to fence consistently on long days like this one.

“It's pretty intense training multiple times a week,” she says. “I've just been trying to be able to fence with more quality for longer.”

Fedeli is 14, meaning she still has more years ahead of her in the under-17 Cadet age classification. Same for another of Sunday’s big winners, Cadet Men’s Saber national champion Emilio Gonzalez (Scarsdale Fencing Center & Fencers Club Inc.), who is 15.

Gonzalez was similarly dominant on Sunday, finishing in the top 10 out of pools and allowing double-digit touches to only one opponent. 

“I didn't get the best result from Juniors, but I made some adjustments today. So I'm very proud,” he says. “It’s my first year in Cadets, so hopefully I can bring another one home next season.”

He could follow in the footsteps of Alexander Bezrodnov (Medeo Fencing Club), who did exactly that on Sunday, repeating as Cadet Men’s Epee national champion. 

“I fenced all three days, and I was absolutely exhausted,” Bezrodnov says, referring to Junior Men’s Epee, Junior Team Men’s Epee and Cadet Men’s Epee. “I wasn't even expecting a medal. But then, the thought of this being my last Cadet tournament made me push through and made me want to win the whole entire tournament. So it's tough, but if you really want it, you can do it.”

Three consecutive seven-hour fencing days took their toll on Bezrnodnov, whose middle finger started cramping during his gold medal final. So he did what any phenomenal fencer does: He adapted.

“I decided to use four of my fingers instead of five,” he says. “And I decided to keep my blade down so my opponent couldn't beat my blade down or do anything like that. And I just managed to secure the win.”

Up next for Bezrodnov is a trip to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for the 2024 Junior & Cadet Fencing World Championships, where he’s hoping to take home a medal. 

And speaking of fencers whose careers are on an upward trajectory, count Olivia Scott (Louisville Fencing Center, Inc.) among that group. The parafencer, who won gold in women’s saber on Sunday, only started fencing in  March 2023. And while the hardware is a nice souvenir, the camaraderie of the parafencing community is the real prize, she says.

“The amazing thing about parafencing is it gives us a community of other people who are just like us who go through the same stuff as us,” she says. “It was really amazing to get into the community. Everyone's so supportive, and we all just rally around each other. We're kind of like a team family. So I really like that.”

Day 3 Results: The Top 8

Cadet Women’s Foil

Gold and 2024 National Champion: Caterina Fedeli (Epic Fencing Club & SCAD- Atlanta Fencing)

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

Bronze: Allison Chen (Gutkovskiy Fencing Academy)

Bronze: Gabrielle Grace Gebala (Silicon Valley Fencing Center)

5th: Sandra Luo (Golden State Fencing Academy)

6th: Ella Calise (Tim Morehouse Fencing Club (Port Chester))

7th: Sophia Li (Birmingham Fencing Club)

8th: Kaitlyn Tan (Star Fencing Academy)

Cadet Men’s Epee

Gold and 2024 National Champion: Alexander Bezrodnov (Medeo Fencing Club)

Silver: Nathan Kim (Swords Fencing Studio)

Bronze: Sullivan Kim (LA International Fencing)

Bronze: Dylan Kats (New York Fencing Academy)

5th: Reid Kokenge (Medeo Fencing Club)

6th: Caleb Su (DC Fencers Club)

7th: Ryan Jeyoon (Elite Fencing Academy (VA) & Elite Fencing Academy (GA))

8th: Iliya Tikhonov (Cardinal Fencing Academy)

Cadet Men’s Saber

Gold and 2024 National Champion: Emilio Gonzalez (Scarsdale Fencing Center & Fencers Club Inc.)

Silver: Nicolas Wang (Fencing Academy Of Denver & Renaissance Fencing Club)

Bronze: Arthur Bonifield (Avant Garde Fencers Club, Inc (AGFC))

Bronze: Gabriel Babayev (Stamford Fencing Center, LLC)

5th: Christopher Hu (Bergen Fencing Club)

6th: Daniel Holz (Premier Fencing Academy)

7th: Yiwei Li (LA Fencing Academy of Pomona & Laguna Fencing Center)

8th: Gabriel McCarthy (Tim Morehouse Fencing Club)

Junior Team Women’s Epee

Gold and 2024 National Champions: Northwestern University (Anna Damratoski, Christina Liu, Karen Wang, and Ava Wade-Currie)

Silver: Alliance Red (Daniella Barg, Yasmine Khamis, CJ Tolsma, and Victoria Zhang)

Bronze: NYFA (Alexandra Rakhovski, Mia Smotritsky, Anna Temiryaev, and Elizabeth Zigalo)

Junior Team Women’s Saber

Gold and 2024 National Champions: BFC (Chase Callahan, Nisha Hild, Hannah Lee, and Zolie Malek)

Silver: AFFA (Kayla Alcebar, Maya Balakumaran, Veronica Mika, and Anika Sinha)

Bronze: Northwestern University (Megumi Oishi, Amy Lu, and Adele Bois)

Junior Team Men’s Foil

Gold and 2024 National Champions: Asian Sensations (Gabriel Guerra, Jackson Kim, Eric Min, and Riccardo Sisinni)

Silver: SFA Team (Charles Bing, Aidan Ji, Castor Kao, and Eric Li)

Bronze: LAIFC 1 (Zachary Godzhik, Martin Nguyen, Leor Sadovsky, and Valentine Schieneman)

Parafencing Men’s Saber

Gold: Tareq Alqallaf (Zeljkovic Fencing Academy)

Silver: Abe Kaplan (Greensboro Fencing Academy & Invictus Fencing)

Bronze: Kevin Reeve (Kern Athletic Fencing Foundation)

Bronze: Gregory Tyler (Orange County International Fencers Club)

5th: Rick Swauger (Columbus International Fencing Academy & Columbus Fencing And Fitness LLC)

6th: Timothy Birt (Shepherd Swords Fencing Club & Auburn Fencing Club)

Parafencing Women’s Saber

Gold: Olivia Scott (Louisville Fencing Center, Inc.)

Silver: Patricia (Mama T) Dykes (Orion Fencing & Zeljkovic Fencing Academy)

Bronze: Leslie Irby (Shepherd Swords Fencing Club & Auburn Fencing Club)

Parafencing Men's Saber — Photo by Serge Timacheff

Cadet Women's Foil — Photo by Serge Timacheff

Cadet Men's Saber — Photo by Serge Timacheff

Junior Team Women's Epee — Photo by Serge Timacheff

Parafencing Women's Saber — Photo by Serge Timacheff

Junior Team Women's Saber — Photo by Serge Timacheff

Junior Team Men's Foil — Photo by Serge Timacheff

Cadet Men's Epee — Photo by Serge Timacheff

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Tag(s): Updates  Junior Olympics 2024