skip navigation

Eliza Stone Wins Women’s Saber, Alexander Tsinis Defends Men’s Epee National Championships Title

04/14/2013, 8:45am CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Women's Saber National Champion Eliza Stone (far right) with Princeton Assistant Coach Hristo Hristov and her younger sister, Gracie Stone. Photo Credit: Nicole Jomantas

Alexander Tsinis (left) defeated his NYAC teammate, Jason Pryor, in the Division I men's epee gold medal final.

(Richmond, Va.) – For saber fencer Eliza Stone (Chicago, Ill.), this season has been close to a dream.

A senior at Princeton, Stone hadn’t fenced in a North American Cup since 2010 – the year she won the Junior Olympic Fencing Championships – until she registered for the October NAC in St. Louis.

Stone took a bronze at her first USA Fencing national event in two years and, just to demonstrate that the result wasn’t luck, she won another bronze the following month in November in Virginia Beach.

The finishes shot the previously unranked fencer up the domestic standings and into contention for the World Cup circuit where Stone finished seventh in Belgium and placed in the top 16 in Turkey.

With a top four domestic ranking to her name, Stone closed out her collegiate career with both an individual NCAA title and a combined team gold – the first for Princeton in the school’s history.

And then she arrived in Richmond to compete at the USA Fencing Division I National Championships on Friday.

The top seed out of the pools, Stone won both her table of 32 and table of 16 bouts against Riya Dave (Ardsley, N.Y.) and Aziza Hassan (Brooklyn, N.Y.) by 15-6 margins.

In a rematch of their NCAA semifinal bout last month, Stone defeated North Carolina fencer Gillian Litynski (Niskayuna, N.Y.), 15-7, in the quarters.

Stone defeated Sophie Keehan (Chandler, Ariz.), 15-11, in the semifinals, to advance to the gold medal bout against two-time Senior World Team medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)

Muhammad led the bout, 8-7, at the break, but Stone tied the bout at 10 and then again at 11 in the second period before reeling off five touches to take the win, 15-11.

“I got back into the national circuit and then international circuit at the beginning of this school year back in October and I decided I was going to do it and train as hard as I could and see what happens. It feels good that it has paid off a little bit,” Stone said. “One big thing I’ve had to work on was keeping up the energy into the last bout, keeping up the focus, not giving up at all and I think I’ve been able to do that this year for the first time.”

Not only did Stone earn her first Division I National Championship, but she did so with her younger sister, Gracie Stone, in her corner.

After falling to Keehan in the table of 16, the youngest Stone sibling returned to the strip to coach her sister in the final three bouts of the day.

“It’s good to know that it’s my sister helping me so it’s not just a coach. It’s family. It’s a good feeling. Just having her fencing at Div I with me has been great because she has also blossomed this year and I’m just glad she’s been able to go to all the tournaments. She won a Junior World Cup and she just decided to go and she won it (laughs). It’s been a roller coaster year for both of us and we’ve been together with that. And now, at the end of the year and the end of the season she’s there coaching me at the Div I finals and it’s comforting,” Eliza Stone said.

Although Gracie fell short of the medal rounds, her older sister was grateful for the support.  

“It would be difficult for anybody to go from being knocked out, you’re upset, you’re trying to figure out what happened, you’re trying to not be upset, but Gracie’s always been very good about that. She’s always been very good about not getting too angry. She’s always come back to help me if I’m continuing in a tournament,” Eliza Stone said. “She took her stuff and came back like 10 minutes later and was like ‘Eliza, do you need any Gatorade? Eliza, do you need any food? There’s chocolate chip cookies over there and I can buy you one!’ She was really great about it. I let her be alone, just in case, but she came right back and was asking me if I needed anything just a couple minutes after she lost. It was awesome.”

While Eliza won her first Division I National title, men’s epee fencer Alexander Tsisnis (Little Neck, N.Y) followed his 2012 gold medal with another in this year’s event.

Tsinis earned a bye into the table of 32 where he defeated Justin Yoo (La Verne, Calif.), 15-10.

After a 15-8 victory over Ayyub Ibrahim (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and 2011 Cadet World Team member Brian Ro (Scarsdale, N.Y.), 15-11.

In the semifinals, Tsinis fenced his New York Athletic Club teammate, Teddy Sherrill (New York City, N.Y.) After two passivity calls for going a minute without a touch being scored, Tsinis scored a touch in the third period to take the score to 1-0. The two athletes took another passivity call for 15 seconds without blade contact to send the bout into a one-minute overtime period in which Tsinis outscored Sherrill to win the bout, 5-2.

Tsinis fenced another NYAC teammate, Jason Pryor (Colorado Springs, Colo.) in the gold medal final and built a 10-6 lead, but Pryor came back in the final 30 seconds to tie the bout and force an overtime period.

During the break between periods, Tsinis switched weapons and replaced his pistol grip epee with a French one – a strategy that paid off quickly as he scored the winning touch two seconds into the overtime period.

“I was beating him, 9-4, and then he changed and then I lost it, I lost that feeling and he tied it up, 10-10 I switched to another blade. I didn’t have a lot of confidence and then I switched and I thought ‘I know how to fence with French. I’ll fence with French,’” Tsinis said. “I switched because I felt like he’s fencing really well. He’s pushing me. He’s moving me around. As you start to get tired, you take more and more parries and that’s the worst thing you can do against someone who’s fencing French, so I decided that I was going to go French too and it turned out that I went into a position where I hit him, but it could have gone the other way very easily.”

London Paralympian Ryan Estep (Florence, Miss.) won his third straight Wheelchair Men’s Epee National Championship title on Friday. Estep won all five of his pool bouts to earn a bye into the semifinals where he would fence the first of two teammates from the club at Methodist Rehab. Estep defeated Josh Russel (Mendenhall, Miss.), 15-10, and followed with a 15-13 victory over his London teammate, Joey Brinson (Florence, Miss.)

In the women’s wheelchair epee competition, London Paralympian Cat Bouwkamp (Fishers, Ind.) continued her three-year undefeated streak with a 15-10 win over former veteran fencer Catherine Thomas (Atlanta, Ga.) in the gold medal final.

In addition to National Championship events, the April North American Cup also was held on Friday with competitions for Y10, Y12 and Y14 events.

Sam Moelis (Hewlett, N.Y.) won his second straight Y14 men’s foil North American Cup title. Moelis, who placed fifth at the Pisa Cadet European Cup earlier this season, defeated Earnest Chen (Weston, Conn.), 15-4, in the semis and won his final bout over Sidarth Kumbla (San Jose, Calif.), 15-8.

The Y14 events on Friday also included team competitions in women’s foil and men’s saber.

The G.R.I.T.S. team of Stefani Deschner (Mechanicsville, Va.), Myrka Boyd (Corinth, Texas) and Kennedy Lovelace (Frisco, Texas) defeated SFFC in the quarter-finals, 44-20, and then won the semifinals over Moe Wen and Unicorn Friends, 45-26. In the gold medal final, G.R.I.T.S. won eight of nine bouts against GRAFA’s team of Justine Banbury (East Grand Rapids, Mich.), Hallie Butterer (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and Alexa Prasher (Grand Rapids, Mich.) by a score of 45-22.

While the DC Fencers Club is most often known as an epee club, the DCFC boys took gold in the Y14 men’s team saber event on Friday. The squad earned a bye into the quarters where they defeated the Fencers Club, 45-40. In the semis, DCFC won its bout against Laguna Fencing Center, 45-31. The Midwest Fencing Academy held a 20-17 lead after the fourth period in the gold medal final, but DCFC’s Adam Green (Chevy Chase, Md.) outscored Filip Dolegiewicz (Park Ridge, Ill.), 8-4, in the fifth to take a 25-24 lead. Salvatore Centani (Washington, D.C.) and Colin Campbell (Washington, D.C.) won their next two bouts to give Green a 40-32 lead that he used to close out the match, 45-36. The Midwest Fencing Academy team of Dolegiewicz, Maksymilian Mateja (Arlington Heights, Ill.) and Antoni Pindral (Lake Forest, Ill.) won silver.

Laguna Fencing Center led the bronze medal match against Sabre Outreach Network Composite, 35-32, after the seventh bout between LFC’s Shawn Kim (Irvine, Calif.) and William Julien (Parkland, Fla.) In the eighth bout, Ariel Croitoru (Aventura, Fla.) outscored Jared Smith (Ladera Ranch, Calif.), 8-4, to give Sabre Outreach Network Composite an 8-4 lead going into the final bout. Slavin Mu (Trussville, Ala.) split the final bout score, 5-5, with Jayson Smith (Ladera Ranch, Calif.) to give the Sabre Outreach Network Composite the victory, 45-44.

After winning silver in the Y10 women’s epee competition at this event in 2011, Sofia Komar (Laurence Harbor, N.J.) took home her first NAC title on Friday after she defeated Karolina Nixon (Los Angeles, Calif.) by scores of 5-3 and 5-4 in the gold medal final.

A two-time NAC Champion in Y10 women’s epee, Greta Candreva (Katonah, N.Y.) won her first NAC gold in the foil event. Her opponent in the finals, Lauren Scruggs (Ozone Park, N.Y.) won the first of their three bouts, 5-3, but Candreva took the next two by scores of 5-1 and 5-4.  

Click here to view complete results.

Top eight results are as follows:

Division I Women’s Saber
1. Eliza Stone (Chicago, Ill.)
2. Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)
3. Monica Aksamit (Matawan, N.J.)
3. Sophie Keehan (Chandler, Ariz.)
5. Emma Keehan (Chandler, Ariz.)
6. Gillian Litynski (Niskayuna, N.Y.)
7. Samantha Roberts (Upper Saddle River, N.J.)
8. Kim Young (Gilbert, Ariz.)

Division I Men’s Epee
1. Alexander Tsinis (Little Neck, N.Y.)
2. Jason Pryor (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
3. Alen Hadzic (New York City, N.Y.)
3. Teddy Sherrill (New York City, N.Y.)
5. Andras Horanyi (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
6. Adam Watson (Richford, Vt.)
7. Brian Ro (Scarsdale, N.Y.)
8. Jacob Hoyle (Wallingford, Pa.)

Wheelchair Men’s Epee
1. Ryan Estep (Florence, Miss.)
2. Joey Brinson (Florence, Miss.)
3. Josh Russell (Mendenhall, Miss.)
3. Curt Oswalt (Von Ormy, Texas)
5. Andre Cook (San Antonio, Texas)
6. Nathaniel Davis III (San Antonio, Texas)

Wheelchair Women’s Epee
1. Cat Bouwkamp (Fishers, Ind.)
2. Catherine Thomas (Atlanta, Ga.)
3. Mia Ives-Rublee (Durham, N.C.)

Y14 Men’s Foil
1. Sam Moelis (Hewlett, N.Y.)
2. Sidarth Kumbla (San Jose, Calif.)
3. Earnest Chen (Weston, Conn.)
3. Geoffrey Tourette (Cupertino, Calif.)
5. Nick Itkin (Los Angeles, Calif.)
6. Justin Kang (Fullerton, Calif.)
7. Cameron Allen (Newtown, Pa.)
8. Alexandre Amice (St. Louis, Mo.)

Y14 Men’s Team Saber
2. Midwest Fencing Academy
3. Sabre Outreach Network Composite
4 Laguna Fencing Center
5. Nellya 1
6. Manhattan Fencing Center
7. Fencers Club
8. Nellya Fencers 2

Y14 Women’s Team Foil
1. G.R.I.T.S.
3. HFC
4. Moe Wen & Unicorn Friends
5. Intensity
6. FAW
7. The Avengers

Y12 Women’s Epee
1. Sofia Komar (Laurence Harbor, N.J.)
2. Karolina Nixon (Los Angeles, Calif.)
3. Huda Aldadah (Peoria, Ill.)
3. Jessica Thow (Spring, Texas)
5. Charlotte Paulussen (Middleburg, Va.)
6. Margaux Games (Wayne, Pa.)
7. Chloe Daniel (Sierra Madre, Calif.)
8. Ava Navarro (Frenchtown, N.J.)

Y10 Women’s Foil
1. Greta Candreva (Katonah, N.Y.)
2. Lauren Scruggs (Ozone Park, N.Y.)
3. Annora Lee (New York City, N.Y.)
3. Karina Yaroshenko (New York City, N.Y.)
5. Sara Martos (El Cerrito, Calif.)
6. Katina Proestakis (CHI)
7. Maia Weintraub (Philadelphia, Pa.)
8. Zoe Sylvester-Chin (Teaneck, N.J.)

Tag(s): News  Catherine Bouwkamp  Eliza Stone