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Ariel Simmons Comes Back from Injury to Win Gold in Columbus

06/28/2014, 10:30pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

(Columbus, Ohio) – Seventeen-year-old Ariel Simmons (Bellaire, Texas) began the season as one of the top prospects to qualify for the Junior Men’s Epee World Championship Team.

As the reigning Cadet World Champion, Simmons was hoping to fence as an individual at his first Junior Worlds in April until he injured his Achilles tendon at the November North American Cup in Cleveland.

“I thought it was nothing when I did it and then, after the bout, I looked at my Achilles and it was slightly swollen and I went to the medics and iced it and thought that was it. Afterwards, I didn’t fence because I had the flu. And then I went to Bratislava and fenced and didn’t do well and it just kept getting worse,” Simmons said. “I wouldn’t train so I would rest to do the next tournament and I ended up doing three World Cups and one NAC with it hurt. My fencing was progressively getting worse and my results weren’t too hot either because I wasn’t practicing and because I was injured. So my coach and I talked and decided it was better to stop fencing for the rest of the season, heal up and come back when I could be 100%.”

Simmons withdrew from the final international event of the junior season in January and waited until April for his injury to heal.

“I fenced Div I Nationals and made the 16 there, but I’d only been training for like a week and a half,” Simmons said.

Now back and ready for the upcoming season, Simmons won his first Division IA National Championship title at the Columbus Convention Center on Wednesday.

After a 15-8 win over his Alliance Fencing Academy teammate, Jesse Harrick (Cypress, Texas), in the table of 64, Simmons defeated Ethan Grab (Brookline, Mass.) and Maxwell Hampton (Bristol, R.I.) by 15-12 and 15-8 scores, respectively.

Simmons edged Alexander Van Den Bergh (Peapack, N.J.), 15-13, in the quarters and 1992 Olympian Marek Stepien (Orland Park, Ill.), 15-7, to advance to the gold medal round.

In the final bout, Simmons led Ivan Zagoruiko (Rego Park, N.Y.), 8-6, at the break.

During the next period, Simmons gave up just one touch to Zagoruiko and won the bout, 15-7.

“He was really reacting to what I was doing. When I’d draw him out on an attack, I was able to get a duck and his blade would go completely over my head. And, also, he would attack on my step forward so I was able to break the distance and either counter attack or parry-riposte,” Simmons said.

“I’m not in the tournament shape I want to be and everybody’s getting better. I remember when Ivan was just a tall kid who was just starting to learn how to fence and now he’s really good,” Simmons said. “It’s fun to come back. I was tired, but, throughout the day it got better and I was more worried about cramping than my Achilles. I felt really good overall, though, and am hoping to be able to replicate this result.”

A silver medalist in the Division IA foil competition at the 2011 Nationals, 18-year-old Ashley Tsue (Overland Park, Kans.) won her first National Championship title on Wednesday.

Tsue won her opening bout against Veronica Thornton (Fredericksburg, Va.), 15-8, and defeated both Isabella Chung (Greenwich, Conn.) and Caitlin Buteau (Bernardsville, N.J.) by 15-6 scores.

In the quarter-finals, Tsue earned a 15-10 victory over Cassidy Seidl (Redmond, Wash.) and went on to defeat Audra Fox (White Plains, N.Y.), 15-12, in the semis.

Tsue finished the day with a strong, 15-5, win in the gold medal final against Isabelle Elizondo (Cypress, Texas).

The Division II men’s final featured a rematch of the Division III men’s foil final that was held on Tuesday.

Fifteen-year-old Maxwell Chung (New York City, N.Y.) earned a second National Championship title when he won his final bout against 14-year-old Thomas Murray (Staten Island, N.Y.)

Chung held a 7-4 lead after the first period and scored three straight at the start of the second before closing the bout out at 15-7.

A silver medalist at the March NAC as a Division III saber fencer, 16-year-old Lindsay Sapienza (Bardonia, N.Y.) defeated Jamie Norville (Oregon City, Ore.), 15-12, to win her first National Championship title in the Division II event.

Click here to view complete results.

Top eight results are as follows:

Division IA Men’s Epee National Championships
1. Ariel Simmons (Bellaire, Texas)
2. Ivan Zagoruiko (Rego Park, N.Y.)
3. Thomas Petrosewicz (Richmond, Texas)
3. Marek Stepien (Orland Park, Ill.)
5. Alexander Sless (San Antonio, Texas)
6. Zachary Cheng (Bloomington, Ill.)
7. Sean Strong (Goleta, Calif.)
8. Alexander Van Den Bergh (Peapack, N.J.)

Division IA Women’s Foil National Championships
1. Ashley Tsue (Overland Park, Kans.)
2. Isabelle Elizondo (Cypress, Texas)
3. Liana Semel (Carmel, N.Y.)
3. Audra Fox (White Plains, N.Y.)
5. Grace Ding (Bolton, Mass.)
6. Cassidy Seidl (Redmond, Wash.)
7. Sofia Simontov (Seattle, Wash.)
8. MacKenzie Lawrence (Leawood, Kans.)

Division II Men’s Foil National Championships
1. Maxwell Chung (New York City, N.Y.)
2. Thomas Murray (Staten Island, N.Y.)
3. Matthew Glover (San Francisco, Calif.)
3. Nicholas Pollack (Marietta, Ga.)
5. William Wise (Lake Oswego, Ore.)
6. Noah Condiff (Cherry Hill, N.J.)
7. Keith Kan (Millbrae, Calif.)
8. Leonard Behrens (Cincinnati, Ohio)

Division II Women’s Saber National Championships
1. Lindsay Sapienza (Bardonia, N.Y.)
2. Jamie Norville (Oregon City, Ore.)
3. Marney Krupat (Bedminster, N.J.)
3. Ilana Solomon (Setauket, N.Y.)
5. Claire Droppelman (Charlotte, N.C.)
6. Kei Matsuo (Poway, Calif.)
7. Jackie Hua (Princeton, N.J.)
8. Victoria Suber (Lexington, Mass.)

Division III Women’s Epee National Championships
1. Kendyl Bree (Houston, Texas)
2. Megan Eno (Salem, Ore.)
3. Alyssa Parkhurst (New York City, N.Y.)
3. Cena Loffredo (New York City, N.Y.)
5. Brynn Thoreson (Las Vegas, Nev.)
6. Vivian Wang (Boulder, Colo.)
7. Sarah Im (Dix Hills, N.Y.)
8. Luisa Solley (Barrington, R.I.)

Division III Men’s Saber National Championships
1. Will Nikolai IV (Salt Lake City, Utah)
2. Jakob Baumann (San Carlos, Calif.)
3. Colin Campbell (Washington, D.C.)
3. Jared Smith (Ladera Ranch, Calif.)
5. Michael Shender (Cos Cob, Conn.)
6. Brian Huang (East Northport, N.Y.)
7. Maksymilian Mateja (Arlington Heights, Ill.)
8. Alejandro Fosado (Seattle, Wash.)

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