(Dallas, Texas) – While many fencers shout in everything from happiness to frustration, 16-year-old Jacqueline Dubrovich (Riverdale, N.J.) was one of the most exuberant athletes on any of the 48 strips on Monday at the Junior Olympics at the Dallas Convention Center.
With each touch she scored in both the semis and finals of the cadet U17 foil division, Dubrovich released a high-pitched “yesa!” and an accompanying jump in the air.
“Apparently I say ‘yesa.’ I guess I add an ‘a’ to the end of the word,” Dubrovich laughed when asked about her routine. “It definitely helps because twice today I was losing by a lot. I was competing against very experienced fencers and I guess when I yell a lot it helps me release all that stress and pressure.”
The technique appeared to work well for Dubrovich as she earned her first Junior Olympic gold medal.
After six wins in the pools in which she gave up only three touches, Dubrovich won her next four bouts to advance to the semifinals against 2010 Senior Pan Am Team member Ambika Singh (Skillman, N.J.)
Singh led throughout the bout, but Dubrovich made a late comeback to win, 15-13.
“The bout to get into the finals, I was down by a significant amount and to come back against Ambika and not lose my cool was awesome,” Dubrovich said.
In the finals, Dubrovich trailed Madison Zeiss (Los Angeles, Calif.), 9-12, after the first six minutes of the bout, but came back to tie the score, 13-13, before earning the win, 15-13.
“It feels amazing. Especially since both were really close bouts. Both were 15-13 and I was behind,” Dubrovich said. “I kind of didn’t look at the score. I was just focusing on doing nice clean touches and I thought the comeback would come. I wasn’t like ‘I have to win. I have to win.’ I just wanted to get each touch.”
The win kept Dubrovich in the top three on the women’s cadet foil rankings and will earn her an invitation to the Cadet World Championships in Jordan next month.
“All that hard work and I finally made it through to Worlds! I’m so excited especially because this whole season it’s been building up and [fourth-ranked] Mona Shaito and I have been battling this whole season, so it’s very gratifying to finally make the team.”
In the cadet U17 women’s saber, a familiar face returned to the finals.
Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.) placed second in the junior U20 saber on Saturday and was back in the cadet finals on Monday where she competed against Gracie Stone (Chicago, Ill.)
Stone earned her trip to the bout after a 15-11 semifinal win over Desirae Major (Olathe, Kans.) who defeated Russo in the U20 finals on Saturday.
With a slight lead of 8-6 after the first period, Russo went on a scoring streak to win the bout, 15-8.
“I was more focused this time. I was pretty determined and kinda wanted to win and just get it over with,” said Russo who earned her first Junior Olympic gold.
During the awards ceremony, Russo hugged each of the top eight finishers in the division and happily chatted with her opponents.
“We’re all so used to competing against each other on the strip, but off the strip we’re still friends,” she said.
In the men’s cadet U17 epee division, Trevor Shepard (Castaic, Calif.) also was a first-time Junior Olympic gold medalist.
Shepard narrowly advanced out of the round of 16 with a 15-14 win against Sean Callaghan (Pocatello, Idaho), but returned to form in the next two rounds where he defeated Justin Wan (North Hills, N.Y.), 15-9, and Gary North (Englewood, Colo.), 15-5.
In the finals, Shepard took an early lead against Matthew McGrath (Maricopa, Ariz.) before going on to win the bout, 15-9.
“It’s always good to win. You go to a championship with that goal and it’s good to reach it,” Shepard said.
In the junior women’s team epee, the New York Athletic Club athletes dominated their opponents, winning each of four bouts by margins of at least 11 points.
On the heels of victories in the U17 and U20 epee divisions on Friday and Sunday, Audrey Abend (New York City, N.Y.) won her third gold medal of the weekend with the NYAC squad.
In the final, Abend’s teammates Srey Beaulac (Garden City, Ny.), Mandeep Bhinder (Newburgh, Ny.) and Ashley Severson (Franklin Lakes, N.J.) earned a 34-45 win over the Fencing Academy of Philadelphia team of Rose Semmel (Philadelphia, Pa.), Laura Jarin-Lipschitz (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) and Helen Foster (Swarthmore, Pa.)
The team from the Peter Westbrook Foundation added to the men’s bronze epee team medal from Friday night with a women’s bronze after a 45-27 win over the Hooked on Fencing team. Athletes from the Peter Westbrook Foundation team included Isis Washington (Parsippany, N.J.), Jessica Hall (Parsippany, N.J.) and Safaa Ibrahim (Bronx, N.Y.) The following Hooked on Fencing athletes placed fourth: Rachel Rymont (North Royalton, Ohio), Courtney Dumas (Shaker Heights, Ohio) and Tara Coury (Rocky River, Ohio).
In the men’s saber team event, the Hristov-Csikany Fencers, led by individual saber U20 champion Kaito Streets (Redwood City, Calif.), won three bouts to advance to the finals where they defeated a squad from Zeta, 45-29.
The Hristov-Csikany Fencers included Streets, John Hallsten (Sacramento, Calif.), Isaac Buchwald (El Granada, Calif.) and Kalan Miurrelle (Davis, Calif.) The Zeta team included Duncan O’Brien (Wellesley Hills, Mass.), Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.) and Andrew Mackiewicz (Westwood, Mass.)
The bronze medal match featured a close bout between the Manhattan Fencing Center and the Nellya Fencers with the Manhattan Fencing Center Team earning the win, 45-39.
The Manhattan Fencing Center team included Peter Pak (Roslyn, N.Y.), Raymond Cai (Livingston, N.J.) and Rienzi Gokea (New York City, N.Y.) The following athletes on the Nellya Fencers team placed fourth: Ariel Allen (Atlanta, Ga.), Daniel Wolfson (Marietta, Ga.) and Timothy Baran (Marietta, Ga.)
Top eight results for each division are as follows:
Men’s Cadet Epee
1. Trevor Shepard (Castaic, Calif.)
2. Matthew McGrath (Maricopa, Ariz.)
3. Gary North (Englewood, Colo.)
3. Lewis Weiss (Houston, Texas)
5. Justin Wan (North Hills, N.Y.)
6. Nicholas Hanahan (Indianapolis, Ind.)
7. Joseph Guinan (River Forest, Ill.)
8. Martin Peper (St. Paul, Minn.)
Women’s Cadet Saber
1. Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.)
2. Gracie Stone (Chicago, Ill.)
3. Desirae Major (Olathe, Kans.)
3. Allison Lee (Saddle River, N.J.)
5. Stephanie Wang (Cupertino, Calif.)
6. Hee Kyung Oh (Allendale, N.J.)
7. Anastasia Pineschi (Los Angeles, Calif.)
8. Haley Fisher (Kennesaw, Ga.)
Women’s Junior Foil
1. Jacqueline Dubrovich (Riverdale, N.J.)
2. Madison Zeiss (Los Angeles, Calif.)
3. Ambika Singh (Skillman, N.J.)
3. Eve Levin (New York City, N.Y.)
5. Dayana Sarkisova (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
6. Luona Wang (Birmingham, Ala.)
7. Morgan Patridge (Swansea, Mass.)
8. Kaila Budofsky (New York City, N.Y.)
Women’s Junior Team Epee
1. New York Athletic Club
2. Fencing Academy of Philadelphia
3. Peter Westbrook Foundation
4. Hooked on Fencing
5. North Shore Fencers Club
6. DC Fencers
7. Northwestern University
8. Northern Colorado Fencers
Men’s Junior Team Saber
1. Hristov-Csikany Fencers
3. Manhattan Fencing Center
4. Nellya Fencers
5. Avant-Garde Fencers Club
6. Big Green Machine
7. Lone Star Fencing
8. Dallas Fencers Club