(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – USA Fencing is pleased to announce the 2017-18 season’s second group of recipients for the Fencing Spirit of Sport Recognition Program, recognizing six members of the fencing community who have exemplified outstanding dedication to the sport and are an inspiration to others.
Each quarter, one recipient from each region is chosen based on commitment and dedication to the sport as well as his or her club, respect, teamwork, inclusion, passion, sportsmanship and character.
The six recipients for the first quarter’s Fencing Spirit of Sport Award are as follows:
All selections will be honored at the 2018 USA Fencing National Championships in St. Louis and will receive a USA Fencing Spirit of Sport t-shirt and bag tag.
Nominations for the third quarter are due April 15. The nomination form can be found here.
More information on each of our winners can be found below:
Region 1: Rosie Parker
Club: Northwest Fencing Center
Weapons: Foil and Epee
Number of Years Fencing: 10
Nominated By: Lynn Parker (Mother)
Dealing with congenital knee issues that warranted three surgeries while she’s been in high school, Rosie Parker’s love for fencing has been on full display. Throughout the recovery process, she did whatever she could to stay involved with the sport, whether that meant FaceTiming her teammates, training in a wheelchair, earning her referee certification to help out at her club’s tournaments or being honored to captain at some of her team’s tournaments. Parker also volunteers at beginner summer camps and club clean-up day, participates in demonstrations and was recently elected to be a voting member of the NWFC Board of Directors. At tournaments, she stays to provide support and advice if a coach is unavailable, checks if the coaches need lunch or coffee and is respectful of referees and competitors.
“Her surgeries definitely provided significant speed bumps in her fencing career,” Lynn Parker said. “But supported by her amazing coaches, teammates, staff, and club parents – and sporting a healthy streak of grit and determination – Rosie continues to train and plans on competing for an NCAA team in the coming fall.”
Eleanor Sloan (right)
Region 2: Eleanor Sloan
Club: Homewood-Flossmoor High School
Number of Years Fencing: 6 Months
Nominated By: David Greene (Coach)
A dream athlete for any coach, Eleanor Sloan began fencing less than a year ago though the High School Fencing Club membership. She instantly fell in love with the sport and has shown great interest in not only participating, but learning the history and traditions of fencing. She arrives early to practice and leaves late whenever she can and is the ideal teammate, encouraging her teammates and never taking her frustration out on others. A fencer who has shown incredible potential, she still maintains proper sportsmanship when she loses. Afterwards, she even talks with her opponent on how she could improve and brings the knowledge back to her team.
“I'm pretty sure, if she could, she would just sleep in our fencing closet so she wouldn't miss a second,” Greene said. “She pushes herself harder than everyone else and although I haven't been a coach for the longest time I have not seen more dedication to the sport and to bettering herself and her team. If all of our fencers I had half as much passion and drive, we would all be the luckiest coaches.”
D.C. Pixie Roane
Region 3: D.C. Pixie Roane
Club: Wallingford Panthers Club
Weapons: Epee, Foil and Saber
Number of Years Fencing: 33
Nominated By: Zach Suico (student)
As a coach, Pixie Roane makes her athletes better as both people and fencers. She will show up to tournaments for fencers of all ages and skill levels and is a referee. Her encouragement, dedication and teaching style keep fencing fun while ensuring her students show good sportsmanship and teamwork. Helping her fencers reach their full potential, she is open-minded, caring, attentive and considerate. Roane also fences with the same principles she teaches with, role modeling determination, respect, passion, optimism, the ability to learn from her mistakes and a will to improve to her students – all with a smile on her face.
“We all have much respect for her, because she continues to focus on us, even when she is hurt and sick,” Suico said. “She follows the team wherever we go, local or far away, never letting us fail without making us smile and thinking about our future. She is the heart and core of the Panthers.”
Carla Corbit (middle)
Region 4: Carla Corbit
Clubs: Beverly Hills Fencing Club and California Institute of Technology
Number of Years Fencing: 35+
Nominated By: Jennifer Koslu (Parent at BHFC)
Despite being busy with her jobs as a coach at California Institute of Technology as well as a coach and manager at Beverly Hills Fencing Club, Carla Corbit is dedicated to growing the sport, doing community outreach to introduce and include young kids of all ages, races and backgrounds in fencing. Under her leadership, Corbit has created a fencing family, encouraging support and inclusion. While still maintaining high competitive standards, she teaches good sportsmanship and respect and is committed to developing fencers. At the same time, however, Corbit also supports the athletes’ academics and a balanced lifestyle.
“She is enthusiastic, spending countless hours of her own time fostering the love of her sport and mentoring young athletes,” Koslu said. “Carla goes above and beyond, making sure that kids of all socio-economic levels can participate fully in classes, competitions and camps.”
Region 5: Rakesh Venkat
Club: North Texas Fencing Alliance
Number of Years Fencing: 6
Nominated By: Maniam Palanivelu (Father)
A competitor at the regional, national and international level, Rakesh Venkat hasn’t let any obstacle deter him from continuing to pursue his passion of fencing. In 2013, when Venkat moved to Singapore, he took the initiative to find a club in Singapore. Since then, Venkat has continued to find additional ways to be involved, recently passing the referee exam. In school, on top of his academics, Venkat is extremely active with extracurricular activities. He is a percussionist, a member of the basketball team and is the team manager for the junior varsity basketball team.
“His coach always likes him for the respect and teamwork he shows at the club and events to all fencers, refs and the coaches,” Palanivelu said.
Region 6: Bryce Thayer
Club: Southwest Florida Fencing Academy
Weapons: Foil and Epee
Number of Years Fencing: 4
Nominated By: Mary Ellen Ball (Friend)
Bryce Thayer is extremely committed and has an incredible work ethic, practicing at least three days per week and on the weekends, he is typically competing or refereeing. As a teammate at the club, Thayer helps and encourages fencers of all ages. He is willing to fence with anyone and help the less experienced fencers, even if he is training for a big competition. Although he is just 12 years old, Thayer is a gentleman on the strip and off, always respectful, patient and kind. He follows proper fencing etiquette, even when interacting with rude opponents or parents. When he is refereeing, he shows incredible professionalism.
“He is mature beyond his years. He is extremely smart and intuitive. He is kind and empathetic,” Ball said. “He is simply in a class of his own. He is a force and will bring only good things to the sport.”
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