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Champions Crowned on Opening Day of the March NAC

03/13/2016, 7:30pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

New York Fencing Academy, AFM and East Bay Fencers Gym won gold, silver and bronze in the Y14 women's team epee event. Photo Credit: Bob Bodor

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Eight golds were awarded on the first day of the March North American Cup at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City on Friday.

Competition on the first day of the tournament included individual events for Y10, Y12 and Y14 fencers as well as two Y14 team events.

In the individual competition, all six gold medalists became first-time NAC Champions.

Fourteen-year-old Annika Yong (Fremont, Calif.) qualified for her first Junior Olympic Championships earlier this season and reached a new career high when she took gold in the Y14 women’s saber event. Yong earned a bye into the table of 64 and won her opening direct elimination bout, 15-7, against Leanne Chan (Durham, N.C.) Yong defeated third seed Emma Pincus (Weddington, N.C.), 15-8, in the 32 and Jenny Song (Irvine, Calif.), 15-5, to qualify for her first NAC quarter-final. She fenced Thea Nguyen (Irvine, Calif.), a top-eight finisher in the cadet event at the Junior Olympics, and edged her Nguyen, 15-14. After a semifinal win against Keona Moya (El Dorado Hills, Calif.), 15-12, Yong defeated 2014 Pan Am Youth Champion Atara Greenbaum (Boca Raton, Fla.), 15-11, to win gold.

A bronze medalist at the 2014 Pan Am Youth Championships, 12-year-old Ethan Kushnerik (Brooklyn, N.Y.) won his first NAC title in the Y12 men’s epee event. Ranked No. 3 in the nation at the start of the tournament, Kushnerik went undefeated in pools and earned a bye into the table of 64. Kushnerik held his first three opponents to single digit scores, following a 15-3 win against Matthew Vaughn (McKinney, Texas) with 15-6 and 15-8 victories over Samuel Dixon (New York City, N.Y.) and Zikun Wei (San Diego, Calif.), respectively. Kushnerik defeated Bartosz Kuligowski (San Jose, Calif.), 15-12, in the quarters to secure a medal and took his final two bouts by 15-11 scores against Stafford Moosekian (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Joshua Shin (Anaheim, Calif.)

At just 11-years-old, Caralina Khrol (Brooklyn, N.Y.) has three seasons on the national circuit under her belt. Although her previous top finish had been 10th place at the 2015 Nationals, Khrol stood on top of the podium in the Y10 women’s epee event on Friday. Seeded fifth out of the pool rounds, Khrol earned a bye into the table of 16 where she defeated Noya Chirashnya (San Jose, Calif.), 10-3. Khrol won her next two bouts by 10-6 scores over Lauren Burns (San Jose, Calif.) and top seed Phoebe Li (Palo Alto, Calif.) to advance to the gold medal final where she took a 10-3 win over O’Livia Ghidina (Peoria, Ill.)

Canadian Adam Wong won his first title on the NAC circuit with his gold medal in the Y10 men’s foil event. The 10-year-old was seeded just 19th in the table of 64, but dominated the early rounds, shutting out Kenta Alten (Cupertino, Calif.), 10-0, in the opening round and defeating Frederick Fogelson (New York City, N.Y.) and Ethan Um (Seoul, Korea) by 10-1 and 10-2 scores, respectively, in the 32 and 16. After a quarter-final win against Magnus Pitcher (Middleville, Mich.), 10-3, Wong defeated his Canadian teammate, Nicholas Wu, by an 8-5 margin. In the finals, Wong won his bout against Dominic Joseph (Blue Bell, Pa.), 10-7.

Fencing in a Division II NAC for the second time ever, 13-year-old Alan Chen (Raleigh, N.C.) came home with the gold in the men’s saber event and a B rating on Friday. Seeded 16th in the tournament, Chen dropped three pool bouts and found himself ranked 55th going into the table of 128. Chen defeated Sung-Ho Ahn (New York City, N.Y.), 15-6, in his opening DE bout and avenged his pool round loss to Dian Hong Fu (CHN) with a 15-7 win in the 64. Chen outscored Jack Rohan (Stony Brook, N.Y.), 15-14, and won his next bout against Nicholas Aaron (Lake Oswego, Ore.), 15-11, to earn his first top-eight finish at a NAC this season. After a 15-12 win against Tyson Dougall (Beaverton, Ore.), Chen ended the day with a pair of 15-14 victories over Shu Liu (CHN) in the semis and former Penn State foilist Rylan Delap (Birmingham, Ala.) in the finals.

The Division II women’s foil competition would come down to a pair of Y14 fencers vying for gold with 13-year-old Christina Ferrari (Armonk, N.Y.) winning her first NAC title. Ferrari went undefeated in the pool rounds and earned a bye into the 64. Ferrari defeated Madison Xagoraris (Scottsdale, Ariz.), 15-9, and won her next two bouts by 15-13 scores against Beatrie Verrecchia (Culver, Ind.) and Amy Jungsu Kim (KOR). In the quarters, Ferrari defeated Emmanuelle Cola (El Cajon, Calif.), 15-7. She went on to defeat Tianji Lukins (San Francisco, Calif.) and No. 2 seed Christina Gong (Belmont, Mass.) by 15-13 and 15-11 scores, respectively, to win gold.

The Y14 team competition included both men’s foil and women’s epee events.

In the Y14 men’s foil event, the San Francisco Fencers Club beat all of its opponents by 20 touches or more to advance to the gold medal final where the squad defeated The Spartans, 45-26. After falling to The Spartans in the semis, Golubitsky Fencing Center defeated United Fencing Academy, 45-23, for bronze.

New York Fencing Academy won gold in the Y14 women’s team epee event, defeating AFM, 44-43, in the final match. East Bay Fencers Gym defeated Alliance Fencing Academy, 45-40, in the bronze medal final.

Click here to view complete results.

Top eight and U.S. results are as follows:

March NAC Y14 Women’s Saber
1. Annika Yong (Fremont, Calif.)
2. Atara Greenbaum (Boca Raton, Fla.)  
3. Keona Moya (El Dorado Hills, Calif.)
3. Joy Yun (Portland, Ore.)
5. Sydney Hirsch (Woodbridge, Conn.)
6. Thea Nguyen (Irvine, Calif.)
7. Monir Fahri (South San Francisco, Calif.)
8. Emi Matsuo (Poway, Calif.)

March NAC Y12 Men’s Epee
1. Ethan Kushnerik (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
2. Joshua Shin (Anaheim, Calif.)
3. Skyler Liverant (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
3. Stafford Moosekian (Los Angeles, Calif.)
5. Bartosz Kuligowski (San Jose, Calif.)
6. James Kehoe (Conroe, Texas)
7. Wilson Zhu (Diamond Bar, Calif.)
8. Colin Niebergall (Lone Tree, Colo.)

March NAC Y10 Women’s Epee
1. Caralina Khrol (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
2. O’Livia Ghidina (Peoria, Ill.)
3. Phoebe Li (Palo Alto, Calif.)
3. Alexandra Drovetsky (Martinsville, N.J.)
5. Yasmine Khamis (McKinney, Texas)
6. Lauren Burns (Peoria, Ill.)
7. Navya Dronamraju (Frisco, Texas)
8. Natalie Brooke Gebala (San Jose, Calif.)

March NAC Y10 Men’s Foil
1. Adam Wong (CAN)
2. Dominic Joseph (Blue Bell, Pa.)
3. Nicholas Wu (CAN)
3. Yi Peng Sha (Lexington, Mass.)
5. Nicholas Kim (New York, N.Y.)
6. Jimmy Martos (El Cerrito, Calif.)
7. Yaroslav Muruhin (Mountain View, Calif.)
8. Magnus Pitcher (Middleville, Mich.)

March NAC Division II Women’s Foil
1. Christina Ferrari (Armonk, N.Y.)
2. Christina Gong (Belmont, Mass.)
3. Helen Tan (Coppell, Texas)
3. Tianji Lukins (San Francisco, Calif.)
5. Sofia Kaloper (Davis, Calif.)
6. Emmanuelle Cola (El Cajon, Calif.)
7. Czarina Alfonso (Clifton, N.J.)
8. Elisha Tan (San Diego, Calif.)

March NAC Division II Men’s Saber
1. Alan Chen (Raleigh, N.C.)
2. Rylan Delap (Birmingham, Ala.)
3. Tariq Karam (Seattle, Wash.)
3. Shu Liu (CHN)
5. Kevin Lee (Plano, Texas)
6. Tyson Dougall (Beaverton, Ore.)
7. Ryan Donos (Phoenix, Ariz.)
8. Shawn Pyatetsky (Fair Lawn, N.J.)

March NAC Y14 Women’s Team Epee
1. New York Fencing Academy
2. AFM
3. East Bay Fencers Gym
4. Alliance Fencing Academy
5. Fortune Cookies
6. Denver Fencing Center

March NAC Y14 Men’s Team Foil
1. San Francisco Fencers Club
2. The Spartans
3. Golubitsky Fencing Center
4. United Fencing Academy
5. NWFC Blue
6. Point 45
7. GRAFA Men
8. The Untouchables 

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