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USA Fencing Creates Future Stars Program to Develop Fencing Youth

01/26/2012, 6:30am CST
By Nicole Jomantas

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – USA Fencing is pleased to announce the creation of the new Future Stars program for up-and-coming fencing athletes ages 14 and younger.

The centerpiece of the program will be an eight-day camp that will be held for the top 15 male and top 15 female athletes in each weapon (epee, foil and saber) from July 29 – August 5 on the campus of the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Fla.

Athletes, who will be selected from the Y14 National Points Standings as of May 7, 2012, will be coached by a team of young coaches that bring a wealth of international competition and coaching experience to the program.

The camp will include two days of training and instruction followed by a day trip to nearby Disney World® and then two more days of training. The camp will include technical, tactical and physical assessment and will be overseen by Michael Marx (Boston, Mass.) A five-time Olympian who fenced both epee and foil, Marx is currently serving as the USA Fencing Coaching Development Coordinator.

The camp will conclude with a tournament in which the top three finishers in each event will receive funding to compete in a Y15 event in Europe early in the 2012-2013 season.

“We have an amazing staff of coaches lined up to work with our Future Stars who were once future stars themselves and will have an excellent perspective on the challenges and benefits of dedicating oneself to achieve their goals,” Marx said. “The staff includes coaches who had a high level of success at cadet, junior and senior levels and will be able to serve as role models and top-notch technicians for the next generation of fencers.”

Olympians Jon Tiomkin (Hewlett, N.Y.) and former Polish National Champion Ania Tibbetts (San Jose, Calif.) will lead the foil program during the Future Stars camp. Tiomkin competed on both Junior and Senior World Teams before finishing fourth in the team event at the Athens Olympic Games. Now a coach at the California Fencing Academy, Tibbetts was a former cadet, junior and senior national team member in her native Poland who has coached top athletes, including 2008 Olympic silver medalist Hanna Thompson (Rochester, N.Y.)

Sydney Olympian Akhi Spencer-El (New York City, N.Y.) and Terrence Lasker (Atlanta, Ga.) competed together on three Senior World Teams in the late 1990s and will reunite to coach saber athletes at the Future Stars event. Both men now coach top-level elite fencers as Spencer-El is the personal coach of 2011 Senior World medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.) and Lasker, who won the first World medal for Team USA in 1994 when he placed third at the Cadet Worlds, coaches at Nellya Fencers – a program that produced two members of the 2011 Junior and Cadet World Team.

The epee program will be led by Cody Mattern (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Lauren Willock (Astoria, N.Y.) Mattern, a 2004 Olympian, made history in 2010 when he won a silver medal as a member of the U.S. Men’s Epee Team at the Senior Worlds – the first ever medal at a Senior Worlds for a U.S. Men’s Fencing Team. Willock is a veteran of two Senior World Teams herself as a competitor in both 2005 and 2010.

Additional information on the Future Stars program will be released in late February on the USA Fencing Web site at

Tag(s): News