“This may sound funny, but I saw The Three Musketeers and was like ‘I want to do that!’ and now here I am eight years later,” Brian Howard (Petaluma, Calif.) laughed after winning his first Cadet title at the October North American Cup on Sunday at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.
Howard, who won gold at this event in 2010 as a Division II fencer with a D rating, earned his A with his victory over July NAC Champion Axel Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
Although the two fencers exchanged the lead by a touch or two each, Howard pulled ahead during the final five touches.
“It’s amazing. I don’t even know how I did it,” Howard said of his win against Kiefer – a fencer who had defeated Howard during their last three match-ups. “That last bout was really intense, but I just took each touch as a new challenge and I just had to get past that touch.”
While Howard said he believes his win will earn him enough national ranking points to compete for the first time on the Cadet European Cup circuit next month, 15-year-old saber fencer Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.) is competing in her third major event during the last six weeks after finishing fifth at the Konin European Cup and sixth in Godollo.
Russo, a top-16 finisher at the Junior World Championships in April, was seeded second after going undefeated in the pools and didn’t give up more than nine touches to any opponent throughout the day.
When Russo reached the top eight, she did so alongside two of her Bergen Fencing Club teammates – 16-year-old Allison Lee (Saddle River, N.J.) and 13-year-old Sarah Merza (Wayne, N.J.)
Russo won her bout against Lee, 15-8, and earned another 15-8 win over Adrienne Jarocki (Middle Village, N.Y.)
In the gold medal bout, the reigning Junior Olympic Champion earned a quick win over Merza, 15-5, to earn her first North American Cup cadet title.
“I’m used to fencing my teammates now. Adrienne’s really new, but we’re all pretty ok fencing each other still. We just kind of get over it right afterwards,” Russo said.
Russo’s travel will continue in November when she begins the Junior World Cup circuit.
“I’m just working toward Junior World Championships and am focused on doing as well as I can there,” Russo said.
Ben Theeman (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.) not only earned his first trip to the table of 64 at a NAC, but the 17-year-old won gold in the men’s Division III saber event.
Theeman was seeded first after going undefeated in the pools and went on to win five straight bouts to advance to the final where he defeated Johanne Pascual (South San Francisco, Calif.), 15-6.
In the Division III women’s foil event, 13-year-old Finnula Mageras (Darien, Conn.) won her first NAC gold medal on Sunday. Mageras won six bouts to advance to the final against Zuzu Tang (Short Hills, N.J.) In a close bout, Mageras built a 7-6 lead as the clock ran down in the final period. With one second left, Tang made a final lunge, but missed the last touch.
Fourteen-year-old Michael Popovici (Katy, Texas) was awarded the gold medal in the Division II men’s epee competition – his first at a North American Cup. Due to a procedural error, Popovici’s final round opponent was withdrawn from the event as he was ineligible to compete in the tournament.
Competition continues on Monday with the cadet women’s foil, Division II men’s foil, Division II women’s saber and Division III women’s epee.
Click here for complete results.
Top eight results are as follows:
Men’s Division II Epee
1. Michael Popovici (Katy, Texas)
2. Fencer Withdrawsn Ineligible
3. Stefan Mesarovich (Roslindale, Mass.)
3. Rhett Courser (Warner, N.H.)
5. Zachary Zeller (Henderson, Nev.)
6. Romain Cannone (New York City, N.Y.)
7. Michael Courchesne (Wilmington, N.C.)
8. Ryan Connor (Lincoln, R.I.)
Men’s Cadet Foil
1. Brian Howard (Petaluma, Calif.)
2. Axel Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
3. Spicer Emge (Los Angeles, Calif.)
3. Jeffrey Chen (Cupertino, Calif.)
5. Drew Johnston (Whitehouse Station, N.Y.)
6. Raymond Chen (Dallas, Texas)
7. Joseph Lam (San Francisco, Calif.)
8. Alastair Keyes (CAN)
Women’s Cadet Saber
1. Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.)
2. Sarah Merza (Wayne, N.J.)
3. Riya Dave (Ardsley, N.Y.)
3. Adrienne Jarocki (Middle Village, N.Y.)
5. Alexa Antipas (Stony Brook, N.Y.)
6. Anastasia Pineschi (Los Angeles, Calif.)
7. Regina Chen (Cupertino, Calif.)
8. Allison Lee (Saddle River, N.J.)
Men’s Division III Saber
1. Ben Theeman (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.)
2. Johanne Pascual (South San Francisco, Calif.)
3. Jian Ouyang (Vienna, Va.)
3. Jonathan Fitzgerald (Brunswick, N.J.)
5. Jose Recinto (Palo Alto, Calif.)
6. Benjamin Natanzo (Manalapan, N.J.)
7. Ryul Lee (KOR)
8. Adam Green (Chevy Chase, Md.)
Division III Women’s Foil
1. Finnula Mageras (Darien, Conn.)
2. Zuzu Tang (Short Hills, N.J.)
3. Angel Jin (Boston, Mass.)
3. Sophia Holmqvist (Upper Saddle River, N.J.)
5. Lyubov Kiriakidi (Rochester, N.Y.)
6. Sarah Mok (Louisville, Ky.)
7. Chelsey Howell-Brown (Cincinnati, Ohio)
8. Chiara Chandlee (Aurora, Ore.)
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