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Fencer’s Club of Arizona Finishes 1-2-3 at Division IA Women’s Saber Nationals

07/06/2013, 7:00am CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Division IA women's saber silver medalist Kim Young, gold medalist Sophie Keehan and bronze medalist Emma Keehan with Coach Bill Becker.

(Columbus, Ohio) – Standing on the top step of the podium is every athlete’s goal, but to have your club teammates on either side of you in an individual event at the National Championships is a feat that even fewer fencers achieve.  

Sophie Keehan (Chandler, Ariz.) and her Fencing Club of Arizona teammates had just that experience on Tuesday when the club’s fencers went 1-2-3 in the Division IA women’s saber competition.

Keehan lost two bouts in pools, but her results were good enough to secure a bye into the table of 64. After four straight wins by eight touches or more, Keehan defeated Tasia Ford (West Sand Lake, N.Y.), 15-5, in the semifinals.

“The beginning of the tournament wasn’t so good, but with every bout I got better and better and gained more confidence,” Keehan said.

Kim Young (Gilbert, Ariz.), came out of the pools at the top seed, but ran into Sophie’s older sister, Emma Keehan (Chandler, Ariz.) As is custom for most clubs, the coaches left the fencers to battle it out and Young came out on top, 15-14.

In the gold medal bout, the teammates exchanged touches during the first period with Sophie Keehan taking an 8-7 lead at the break – at which point her strategy changed.  

“I thought ‘enough is enough. No more middle.’ I thought the audience was getting bored, so I thought I’d throw some parries in there, beat her in the box and get some things done,” Sophie said.

Her plan worked and, in the second period, Sophie opened with three unanswered touches and gave up just one more before winning the bout, 15-8.

“It feels really good. I’ve worked so hard to be a champion and it doesn’t matter if it’s Div IA, junior, Div I, it’s just great. It gives me more confidence and the feeling that I can be a champion,” said Sophie whose teammates in the stands rushed onto the stage to celebrate the 1-2-3 finish. “It made it feel more special to have them by my side. We train every today and we make each other better, so I couldn’t do it without them.”

Men’s foil fencer Paul Wat (Hillsborough, Calif.) also became a first-time National Champion after he defeated 2013 Junior Olympic silver medalist George Haglund (Califon, N.J.), 15-13, in the gold medal finals.

In addition to National Championship competition, two events were held in the July North American Cup on Tuesday.

A former title holder in Y14 NAC events, Madeline Antekeier (Houston, Texas) made the jump to the top of the cadet podium in the women’s epee competition. Fencing in the first qualifying tournament for the 2014 Cadet World Championships, Antekeier won gold in the U16 event. Fencing in a field of 135, Antekeier defeated her Alliance Fencing Academy teammate, Gigi Vierheller (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 15-14, in the semifinals and Farrah Lee-Elabd (San Antonio, Texas), 15-5, in the gold medal bout.

Fencing in a best-of-three series of five-touch bouts, Ariel Armoza (Allen, Texas) won his gold medal final over Zi Glucksman (Bedford Corners, Mass.) by scores of 5-1 and 5-1.

Fencing in her final Y14 competition before aging out, Samantha Viqueira (Maplewood, N.J.) won her first National Championship title in the women’s foil event. Tied at four after the first period with Rachel Zhang (Winchester, Mass.) and six early in the second, Viqueira scored four straight to take the lead to 10-6 and went on to win the gold medal final, 15-9

Seeded first in the Y14 men’s saber competition at the start of the tournament, Samuel Kwong (Los Altos, Calif.) won his first national title and will finish the season first in the rankings after a 15-9 victory over Erwin Cai (Marietta, Ga.) in the final bout.

In the team events, the Illinois Fencers Club defeated NYAC to win the senior men’s epee gold. The Illinois Fencers Club team of Mikhail Heber (Elk Grove Village, Ill.), Alexandr Heber (Elk Grove Village, Ill.), Maciek Zmyslowski (Des Plaines, Ill.) and Gabriel Weininger (Northbrook, Ill.) won the final bout, 45-38 over NYAC’s Gabriel Canaux (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Kai Keller (New York City, N.Y.), Christian Rivera (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Cooper Schumacher (Pompton Lakes, N.J.) The Illinois Fencers Club took wins or ties in eight of the nine bouts with Zymslowski defeating Canaux, 11-8, in the anchor bout.

Fencing for bronze, Alliance Fencing Academy 1 defeated Northern Colorado Fencers 1, 32-31.

Competition continues on Wednesday with the schedule as follows:

8:30 a.m.
Y12 Women’s Foil
Junior Women’s Epee

11 a.m.
Cadet Women’s Saber
Senior Men’s Team Foil

1 p.m.
Senior Women’s Team Foil

2 p.m.
Y10 Men’s Foil

3 p.m.
Y14 Men’s Epee

4:30 p.m.
Division IA Men’s Saber

Visit for complete results.

In the women’s team epee competition, the Northwest Fencing Center 1 team successfully defended its 2012 National Champion. Returning two fencers from the 2012 squad – Princeton sophomore Isabel Ford (Salem, Ore.) and veteran fencer Maria Copelan (Portland, Ore.) – NWFC 1 also included Sarah Holst (Central Point, Ore.) and Rita Somogyi (Portland, Ore.) Coming off a one-touch victory over Hooked on Fencing, 37-36, in the semis, NWFC 1 won gold, 45-38, over Boston Fencing Club 1’s Cassandra Bates (Waltham, Mass.), Helen Jolley (Weston, Mass.), Amy Orlando (Greenfield, Ind.) and Monica Weindling (Belmont, Mass.)

In the bronze medal match, Alliance defeated Hooked on Fencing, 45-41.

Top eight results are as follows:

Division IA Women’s Saber National Championships
1. Sophie Keehan (Chandler, Ariz.)
2. Kim Young (Gilbert, Ariz.)
3. Tasia Ford (West Sand Lake, N.Y.)
3. Emma Keehan (Chandler, Ariz.)
5. Christine Griffith (Rochester, N.Y.)
6. Anastasia Ivanoff (Los Angeles, Calif.)
7. Arabella Uhry (New York City, N.Y.)
8. Malia Hee (Vancouver, Wash.)

Division IA Men’s Foil
1. Paul Wat (Hillsborough, Calif.)
2. George Haglund (Califon, N.J.)
3. Shuya Ishizuka (New York City, N.Y.)
3. Steffen Felt (Redmond, Wash.)
5. Stuart Holmes (Centereach, N.Y.)
6. John Vaiani (Belmar, N.J.)
7. AJ Szilagyi (Lloyd Harbor, N.Y.)
8. Nolen Scruggs (Ozone Park, N.Y.)

Y14 Women’s Foil National Championships
1. Samantha Viqueira (Maplewood, N.J.)
2. Rachel Zhang (Winchester, Mass.)
3. Mari Summers (Tigard, Ore.)
5. Allison Wong (Cupertino, Calif.)
6. Shani Edwards (Lexington, Ky.)
7. Alexa Prasher (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
8. Zoe Superville (Woodmere, N.Y.)

Y14 Men’s Saber National Championships
1. Samuel Kwong (Los Altos Hills, Calif.)
2. Erwin Cai (Marietta, Ga.)
3. Ariel Croitoru (Aventura, Fla.)
3. Josh Cohen (River Vale, N.J.)
5. Matthew Chen (Monmouth Junction, N.J)
6. Josef Cohen (Jamestown, R.I.)
7. Edward Zhao (Potomac, Md.)
8. Adam Green (Chevy Chase, Md.)

Senior Men’s Team Epee National Championships
1. Illinois Fencers Club
3. Northern Colorado Fencers 1
4. Alliance Fencing Academy 1
5. EBFG Team KAO
7. Hooked on Fencing Blue
8. Nyack Fencing Academy

Senior Women’s Team Epee National Championships
1. NWFC 1
2. Boston Fencing Club 1
3. Alliance
4. Hooked on Fencing
5. Boston Fencing Club 2
6. Salle Auriol Seattle
7. Two Ravens Fencing School

Cadet Women’s Epee July North American Cup
1. Madeline Antekeier (Houston, Texas)
2. Farrah Lee-Elabd (San Antonio, Texas)
3. Charlene Liu (Bridgewater, N.J.)
3. Gigi Vierheller (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
5. Kasia Nixon (Los Angeles, Calif.)
6. Amy Zhao (Cambridge, Mass.)
7. Helen Sakharova (Ridgewood, N.J.)
8. Kenya Plenty (New York City, N.Y.)

Y10 Men’s Epee July North American Cup
1. Ariel Armoza (Allen, Texas)
2. Zi Glucksman (Bedford Corners, Mass.)
3. Nicholas Lawson (New York City, N.Y.)
3. Arthur Andreev (Southborough, Mass.)
5. Isaac Herbst (Houston, Texas)
6. Cesar Colon (PUR)
7. Michael Mun (Irvine, Calif.)
8. Simon Schafer (Las Vegas, Nev.)


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