(Detroit, Mich.) – The majority of Olympians retire from the elite ranks and, while many may go on to coach, you don’t often see an athlete return to the competitive ranks after his or her international careers are done.
Leslie Marx (Durham, N.C.), a top-16 finisher at the 1996 Olympic Games, retired after the 1997 World Championships and didn’t consider competing again until 2009 when the Summer Nationals were held in Dallas.
“I have family in Dallas and thought ‘Oh, this will be a great excuse to visit family and I’ll get to fence and it’ll be fun.’ And then, after that, I just kept continuing to do veteran’s events each year,” Marx said.
And what began as a one-time experience ultimately brought Marx to the North American Cup D in Detroit on Sunday where she earned her third gold medal in veteran’s competition when she took the title in the veteran 40+ epee.
After giving up only five touches in five pool bouts, Marx won four more bouts to advance to the semifinals where she defeated Fiorella Angeleri (Denver, Colo.), 10-6.
“I’m very excited. I really enjoyed fencing the veteran’s events. It’s been a lot of fun and they’ve done a great job with the tournament,” she said.
A former undergraduate at Duke University, Marx returned to her alma mater in 2002 as a professor of economics and began working with the fencing team again.
“I didn’t really fence until I got back to Duke in 2002 and then, when I got back there, Alex Beguinet was still there coaching and there was an opportunity to be involved with the team which was great,” she said.
Marx also competed in the +40 women’s foil event on Friday where she won a bronze medal. A 1995 Pan American Games Champion in epee, Marx said she hadn’t touched a foil since 1989, but the athletes at Duke helped her with the adjustment.
“The team’s been great. They worked really hard with me all last week on foil and they were trying to rejigger me into foil again. I think the last time I competed in foil was 1989, but Alex made me some foils and I bought a lame, so I was ok,” she laughed.
Although Marx is only 43 and not eligible to compete in the Veteran Worlds until she turns 50, Marx has her eye on competing for Team USA again.
“I want to try that. That sounds like a lot of fun,” she said. “I hope to do that in 2017 when I would be eligible to do it and by then my kids will be older, so I can travel a little bit.”
Although Neal White (Chicago, Ill.) doesn’t turn 60 until May, his birth year made him eligible to compete in the 60-69-year-old division for the first time.
A frequent bronze medalist at NAC events, White earned his first NAC title on Sunday with a 10-6 final win over Heik Hambarzumian (Las Vegas, Nev.)
“I’m thrilled. This is my first entry into the 60s because I’m 59 and 10/12ths today so there’s always that first chance for everybody. I warmed up well this morning; did a little yoga and not having a 7 a.m. start always helps,” White said. “There’s always a little bit of luck involved, but the luck came at the right time and the pairings came at the right time and I’ve never taken first in any NAC. I’ve had a number of thirds, so this was fun for me.”
White began fencing in high school and went on to compete for Yale University, but quit during his sophomore year and didn’t return to the sport for 33 years.
“I just love fencing,” White said. “Thirty-three years later I ran into an assistant fencing coach in Chicago and we started talking and two weeks later I was back fencing and I haven’t stopped since.”
White said he looks forward to compete at the Veteran Worlds for the first time later this year.
“The fencing community is amazing. I’ve met a lot of really cool people fencing and then chance to meet those counterparts from other parts of the world is probably the most exciting thing,” White said.
In the veteran women’s 60-69 saber, 2009 Veteran World silver medalist Delia Turner (Philadelphia, Pa.) also is in her first year of eligibility in her new division. Turner won all six pool bouts, giving her a bye into the semifinals where she defeated Ellen O’Leary (Decatur, Ga.), 10-2. In the finals, Turner defeated D.D. Nicolau (Tupelo, Miss.), 10-3.
After winning bronze in the veteran men’s +70 epee on Saturday, James Adams (Rockville, Md.) earned gold Sunday in the +70 foil division with his final bout win against Marcel Miernik (Irvington, N.Y.) whom he defeated, 10-4. A silver medalist in epee who competed in all three weapons at the 2010 Veteran Worlds, the win put Adams well on his way to qualifying with at least two weapons for the 2011 Worlds.
In the veteran men’s 50-59 foil, Joseph Biebel (Bayside, Wis.) made his second NAC medal this season a gold one after finishing second in Cincinnati in October. The #2 seed in the division, Biebel lost just one bout in the pools to enter the direct elimination table ranked fifth. Biebel earned four more wins before defeating 2010 Veteran World Team member Thomas Lutton (Cupertino, Calif.), 10-7.
The reigning Veteran World Champion in the 50-59-year-old saber division, Jane Eyre (Swedesboro, N.J.) punched her ticket to the 2011 Veteran Worlds with her gold medal win in the same division on Sunday. Eyre dropped just one bout in the pool rounds where she lost to Lydia Mazorol (Simi Valley, Calif.), 5-4. Eyre won her next matchup with Mazorol in the semifinals, however, with a score of 10-4. In the gold medal final, Eyre defeated Heidi Runyan (San Diego, Calif.), 10-4.
As often occurs in the veteran’s divisions, Runyan’s husband also competed on Sunday. Joshua Runyan (San Diego, Calif.) advanced to the finals of the veteran men’s 40+ division where he competed against Will Milne (Redwood City, Calif.) Runyan led the bout, 4-8, but Milne caught up and tied the score at 9-9. Milne’s last touch was overturned and the score reduced to 9-8, but he scored twice more to win the bout, 10-9.
Seventy-six-year-old Anita Anderson (Citrus Heights, Calif.) defeated Louisa Felty (Louisville, Ky.)
and Una Jackson (Hilton Head Island, S.C.) in the pools to qualify directly for the gold medal bout in the veteran +70 women’s saber. Felty won her next bout against Jackson, 10-6, but Anderson took the final win, 10-6.
Following her wheelchair foil gold medal win on Friday, 15-year-old Catherine Bouwkamp (Fishers, Ind.) had the opportunity to stand on the top of the podium again when she competed in the epee division on Sunday. After two sets of pools, Bouwkamp advanced to the table as the #1 seed. In the semifinals, Bouwkamp defeated her 2010 Wheelchair World Teammate Sonia Fogal (Flowood, Miss.)
Bouwkamp led throughout the final bout against Sonya Perduta (Phoenix, Ariz.), outtouching Perduta, 14-12, after two periods. Following the break, Bouwkamp scored the final touch to win the bout, 15-12.
In the men’s wheelchair epee division, former World Wheelchair Champion Tariq Alqallaf (KUW) completed his sweep of the weapons when he faced two-time Paralympian Mario Rodriguez (Ventura, Calif.) in the finals. The bout was the third in as many days for the duo and, although, Rodriguez kept the bout close, Alqallaf took the win, 15-10.
Jay Slater (Bainbridge, Island, Wash.) suffered two losses in the pools of the Division II men’s epee to enter the direct elimination table ranked 37th, but the 17-year-old won his next six bouts to advance to the finals where Slater lost to Canadian pentathlete John Riker-Fox, 15-12. Slater finished with a silver – his first at a North American Cup.
Three weeks after qualifying for the round of 32 in the U17 division at the Junior Olympics in Dallas, 15-year-old Lauren Kelly (Pittsford, N.Y.) won the Division II women’s foil. Kelly earned six straight wins in the pools and five more table victories to qualify for the finals where she defeated Fatima Largaespada (MEX), 15-9.
Competition concludes on Monday at the Cobo Convention Center with the schedule as follows:
Monday, March 14
Division III Men’s Epee
Veteran (50-59) Men’s Saber
Veteran (60-60) Men’s Saber
Veteran (70+) Men’s Saber
Division III Women’s Foil
Veteran (50-59) Women’s Epee
Veteran (60-69) Women’s Epee
Veteran (+40) Women’s Saber
Veteran (40+) Men’s Foil
Top eight and U.S. results are as follows:
Division II Women’s Foil
1. Lauren Kelly (Pittsford, N.Y.)
2. Fatima Largaespada (MEX)
3. Carolyn Grant (Royal Oak, Mich.)
3. Demi Antipas (Stony Brook, N.Y.)
5. Lynn Botelho (Indiana, Pa.)
6. Desree Ortega-Furgeson (Wyoming, Mich.)
7. Gabriella Zusin (Norwood, N.J.)
8. Clarissa Allen (Newtown, Pa.)
Division II Men’s Epee
1. John Riker-Fox (CAN)
2. Jay Slater (Bainbridge Island, Wash.)
3. Andrew Aitken (Canton, Mich.)
3. Sean Callaghan (Pocatello, Idaho)
5. Michael Culler (Hopkinton, Mass.)
6. Matthew Wexler (Deerfield, Ill.)
7. Patrick De Simio (Fairborn, Ohio)
8. Jared Reichman (Niagra Falls, N.Y.)
Veteran Women’s 50-59 Saber
1. Jane Eyre (Swedesboro, N.J.)
2. Heidi Runyan (San Diego, Calif.)
3. Jeannine Bender (Princeton, N.J.)
3. Lydia Mazorol (Simi Valley, Calif.)
5. Miyako De Rose (Morristown, N.J.)
6. Linda Dunn (Los Angeles, Calif.)
7. Rachell Arama (Phoenix, Ariz.)
8. Toni Waymire (Fishers, Ind.)
Veteran Women’s 60-69 Saber
1. Delia Turner (Philadelphia, Pa.)
2. D.D. Nicolau (Tupelo, Miss.)
3. Ellen O’Leary (Decatur, Ga.)
3. Susan Hurst (San Diego, Calif.)
5. Muriel Evens (Gold River, Calif.)
6. Diane Hiatt (Sparks, Nev.)
7. Karen Brynildsen (Denville, N.J.)
Veteran Women’s 70+ Saber
1. Louisa Felty (Louisville, Ky.)
2. Anita Anderson (Citrus Heights, Calif.)
3. Una Jackson (Hilton Head Island, S.C.)
Veteran Men’s 50-59 Foil
1. Joseph Biebel (Bayside, Wis.)
2. Thomas Lutton (Cupertino, Calif.)
3. Edward Kaihatsu (Skokie, Ill.)
3. Jonathan Zelkowski (Ferndale, Mich.)
5. Stephen Gross (Fairfax, Va.)
6. Oscar Estell (Los Altos, Calif.)
7. Felice Yim (CAN)
8. William Gelnaw (Fullerton, Calif.)
Veteran Men’s 60-69 Foil
1. Neal White (Chicago, Ill.)
2. Heik Hambarzumian (Las Vegas, Nev.)
3. Ray Sexton III (Round Rock, Texas)
3. Jan Patterson (Seattle, Wash.)
5. Ronald King (San Diego, Calif.)
6. Kenneth Floro (St. Louis, Mo.)
7. Adrian Sessions (Los Altos, Calif.)
8. Donald Melchior (Framingham, Mass.)
Veteran Men’s 70+ Foil
1. James Adams (Rockville, Md.)
2. Marcel Miernik (Irvington, N.Y.)
3. Fritz Chang (Lexington, Mass.)
3. Edward Sady (Fairfax, Va.
5. A. Kocsy (Wayne, Pa.)
6. David Kosow (Gaithersburg, Md.)
Veteran Men’s 40+ Saber
1. Will Milne (Redwood City, Calif.)
2. Joshua Runyan (San Diego, Calif.)
3. William Becker (Gilbert, Ariz.)
3. Val Kizik (Indianapolis, Ind.)
5. Ted Smith (Diamond Springs, Calif.)
6. Misha Mironovas (Columbus, Ohio)
7. Ronald Thornton (Shreveport, La.)
8. George Rockas (Seattle, Wash.)
Veteran Women’s +40 Epee
1. Leslie Marx (Durham, N.J.)
2. Fiorella Angeleri (Denver, Colo.)
3. Cynthia Runyon (Flagstaff, Ariz.)
3. Amy Fortune (Monrovia, Calif.)
5. Valerie Asher (Bethesda, Md.)
6. Natalia Stavisky (Brookline, Mass.)
7. Carola Schmid (Seattle, Wash.)
8. Lorraine Hoyne (Stouffville, Ohio)
Wheelchair Women’s Epee
1. Catherine Bouwkamp (Fishers, Ind.)
2. Sonya Perduta (Phoenix, Ariz.)
3. Sylvia Morel (CAN)
3. Sonia Fogal (Flowood, Miss.)
Wheelchair Men’s Epee
1. Tariq Alqallaf (KUW)
2. Mario Rodriguez (Ventura, Calif.)
3. Ryan Estep (Florence, Miss.)
3. Joey Brinson (Brandon, Miss.)
5. Corbin Beu (Phoenix, Ariz.)
6. Rory Pannkuk (Santa Barbara, Calif.)
7. Lance Ivey (Glendale. Ariz.)
8. Ken McGaha (Douglasville, Ga.)
Veteran Team Men’s Epee
1. Fencing Academy of Nevada
3. Came, Saw, Drank Beer, Conquered
4. Team Canada
5. Motor City Mayhem
6. Ducks of Death
7. Cellar Dwellers