2017 Cadet World medalist Elizabeth Tartakovsky will be fencing for a chance at gold in Memphis. Photo Credit: Augusto Bizzi / FIE
(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Nearly 2,000 athletes ages 20 and under will fence for their chance at being crowned a Junior Olympic Champion in Memphis, Tenn. this weekend.
The four-day tournament will be held at the Memphis Cook Convention Center with competition beginning on Friday and continuing through Monday. Gold medals will be on the line daily with competition beginning at 8 a.m. and concluding at 8 p.m.
Junior Olympic titles will be awarded in both gender categories for all three weapons (epee, foil and saber) in junior (U20), cadet (U17) and junior team (U20) events. Ten of the 12 individual events include 200+ competitors each with the junior men’s epee, junior men’s foil and cadet men’s foil events all topping 300 participants.
Athletes also will have the opportunity to earn positions on the U.S. team that will fence at the 2018 Junior and Cadet World Championships in Verona, Italy in April.
Athletes will be selected for each weapon squad based on their position in the USA Fencing National Team Standings at the conclusion of the weekend in the following events: junior men’s and women’s epee, junior women’s foil and all cadet events. Four athletes will be named to the junior teams and three to the cadet teams. Junior men’s and women’s saber and junior men’s foil teams will be named at the conclusion of the Pan Am Junior Championships in March.
Four medalists from the 2017 Junior and Cadet Worlds are expected to contend for gold in Memphis, including:
Seven individual champions from the 2017 Junior Olympics in Kansas City, Mo. will return to this year’s event with their eyes on repeating gold.
Alan Temiryaev (Woodmere, N.Y.) won his first Junior Olympic title in 2017 when he took the junior men’s epee gold as a 16-year-old. Now the 2017 Cadet World Team member is set to compete on both the Junior and Cadet World Teams this year and could be a contender for both individual titles as well. Among his opponents will be 17-year-old Robert Hondor (Malden, Mass.) who won the cadet men’s epee title in 2016 and has aged up to the junior event this year.
The women’s saber field will be a deep one with both the junior and cadet champions from 2017 returning to fence in the junior competition this year. Seventeen-year-old Tori Johnson (Peachtree, Ga.) took her second straight cadet title Junior Olympic title to help earn her position on the 2017 Cadet World Team. Johnson has since aged up and is expected to highlight the Junior World squad as the No. 1 fencer in the nation. Eighteen-year-old Veronica Czyzewski (Caldwell, N.J.) won her first career junior national gold at the 2017 JOs during a year that also saw her claim Division I gold at the October North American Cup in Anaheim.
Sixteen-year-old Gabrielle Hill (Minneapolis, Minn.) made a name for herself in 2017 when she won gold in the cadet women’s epee competition at her first Junior Olympics and earned a top eight finish in the junior event. Hill will return to JOs this year with the goal of returning to podiums in both age groups.
Seventeen-year-old Joon Paik (Norwood, N.J.) took the cadet men’s foil title last year and will be among those vying for gold in the junior event in Memphis to cap off a season that included Paik’s first Junior North American Cup bronze last month in Virginia Beach.
In 2017, Danny Solomon (Setauket, N.Y.) won the cadet men’s saber title to qualify for his second Cadet World Team. This year, Solomon will be in the mix as a junior – a category in which he won bronze at the November North American Cup.
Nearly 30 athletes from throughout Tennessee will be competing this weekend as well, including fencers from Music City Fencing Club, Modern Fencer, Memphis University School Fencing Team, Memphis Fencers, Middle Tennessee Fencing Club and the University Of Tennessee Knoxville Fencing Club.
For complete entrants lists and seeding, visit www.usafencingresults.com.
The event schedule is as follows (All times listed are start times, all events continue through completion of gold medal finals:
Friday, Feb. 16
Junior Women’s Saber
Cadet Women’s Epee
Junior Team Women’s Foil
Junior Team Men’s Epee
Junior Men’s Foil
Saturday, Feb. 17
Cadet Women’s Foil
Cadet Men’s Saber
Junior Team Men’s Foil
Junior Men’s Epee
Junior Team Women’s Saber
Sunday, Feb. 18
Cadet Men’s Foil
Cadet Women’s Saber
Junior Women’s Epee
Junior Team Men’s Saber
Monday, Feb. 19
Junior Women’s Foil
Junior Men’s Saber
Junior Team Women’s Epee
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