Geoffrey Tourette won his third straight July Challenge title on Friday. Photo Credit: Kristen Henneman.
Chloe Fox-Gitomer won the junior women's saber title in St. Louis. Photo Credit: Kristen Henneman.
(St. Louis, Mo.) – It’s been three years since Geoffrey Tourette (Cupertino, Calif.) lost a direct elimination bout in junior men’s foil at the July Challenge.
Competing in his final July Challenge as a junior, the two-time Junior World team medalist was perfect on Friday, going 6-0 in pools and 7-0 in the DEs to earn the three-peat and go two for two in the junior event at national events this year.
“[Winning the gold] feels great,” Tourette said. “I love coming here and fencing this event. It’s always been one I’m pretty good at and pretty consistent, so I’m pretty happy to win it. And this is my last one, so I’m pretty happy to have ended on a high note.”
On the day, Tourette held five of his seven opponents to single digits. He earned a bye into the 128, where he overcame Max Neo (SGP), 15-8, before edging out Justin Vogler (Portland, Ore.), 15-13.
After advancing to the 16 with a 15-7 victory over Benjamin Hadler (San Francisco, Calif.), Tourette bested Rishi Ranadive (Petaluma, Calif.), 15-8, and earned a come-from-behind victory against 2016 Cadet World Team member Michael Li (Palo Alto, Calif.), 15-9, to guarantee a medal.
“The pools went by fine and then my first few bouts, I was feeling good. I was feeling a little loose and then I struggled in the 16s and the eights. I needed to get myself a little more amped up,” Tourette said. “I felt like I was still sleeping a little bit, but as soon as I fenced these tough opponents – Michael Li and Rishi Ranadive – they really made me work for it, so after that I started to heat up and it took me all the way to end of the day.”
Taking a place in the final with a 15-9 win over Mohamed Hamza (EGY), only 2017 Cadet World Team member Andrew Machovec (East Rockaway, N.Y.) would stand between Tourette and his third straight gold in the event.
With the score tied at three, Tourette scored seven consecutive touches to break the bout open. However, with a 13-5 lead, it was Machovec’s turn to make a push as he went on a 7-1 run to close the gap to two at 14-12 before Tourette would clinch the 15-12 victory.
“I called a medical timeout after 1-0 because I started cramping and after the medical I thought I was feeling better, but at 3-2 my hand started cramping again. I actually took my foil out of my hand and I had to wedge it back in my hand because I couldn’t open it,” Tourette said. “Because of that, I wasn’t able to flick and I wasn’t able to be as crazy on the strip and I think that just turned out to be a blessing in disguise because all of my actions were just starting with a point, trying to extend and hit him. I got on a roll and got in a rhythm and it look me all the way to 14, and that’s all I needed.”
In the junior women’s foil event, Chloe Fox-Gitomer (Portland, Ore.) came out on top after podium finishes in the junior category at her last two national events.
“I have finished silver in junior God knows how many times, finished bronze, been this close every single time,” Fox-Gitomer said. “This time I managed to pull through and I’m really proud of how I was able to keep my composure, keep myself together physically and mentally.”
A part of the silver medal-winning team at the Junior World Championships in Verona earlier this year, Fox-Gitomer went 5-1 in pools and advanced to the table of 64 with a quick 15-6 victory over Laura Canseco (Patomac, Md.)
After defeating Joy Yun (Portland, Ore.), 15-11, in the 64, Fox-Gitomer secured a place in the final with four victories in which she held her opponent to single digits, cruising past 2016 Junior World team bronze medalist Martha Merriam (Tenafly, N.J.), 15-9; Julia Hill (San Clemente, Calif.), 15-8; Sydney Hirsch (Woodbridge, Conn.), 15-6; and Kelli Wozniak (State College, Pa.), 15-9.
In the final, Fox-Gitomer faced a familiar opponent: her teammate at Junior Worlds, Tori Johnson (Peachtree City, Ga.)
Going for gold, Fox-Gitomer jumped out to an 8-5 lead the break, but Johnson responded to start the second period and took three straight touches to equalize the score.
Tied at 10, Fox-Gitomer scored four straight touches of her own to come within a point of victory, but Johnson once again closed the gap, bringing the score within one at 14-13 before Fox-Gitomer secured the winning touch.
“I think the key for me there was keeping myself together mentally because I know whenever I fence her she’s beaten me so many times in countless tournaments,” Fox-Gitomer said. “We fence all the time and I always know she’s a challenge because she’s an amazing fencer and she’s one of my amazing friends, and I know just keeping it together mentally was the best for me and really helped.”
Fox-Gitomer will compete Sunday in Division I women’s saber before heading to Wuxi, China next month for the Senior World Championships.
The first two National Championship events also were held on Friday as Division IA women’s épée and men’s saber champions were crowned.
Azaline Dunlap-Smith (Saint Paul, Minn.) earned her first Division IA title with a 15-10 victory over 14-year-old Michaela Joyce (Sterling, Va.) while Charlson Kim (Dix Hills, N.Y.) defeated Dalton Walker (Jersey City, N.J.), 15-12, for his first podium finish at a national event.
As part of the July Challenge, NYAC Red claimed the senior team men’s épée gold. The new champions included Thursday night’s Division I winner, two-time Olympian Soren Thompson (New York, N.Y.), at anchor as well as Teddy Sherrill (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and former World Team members Alex Tsinis (Little Neck, N.J.) and Adam Watson (Hoboken, N.J.) In a field of 57 teams, NYAC Red took the win in the final by a score of 24-20 over Marx Fencing Academy.
In senior team women’s foil, the Dazzling Panda Stars, composed of Zoe Barnette (Bethesda, Md.), Dolly Lampson-Stixrud (Tacoma, Wash.) and Karina Wang (Lutherville Timonium, Md.) with Sophia Mandour (Perry Hall, Md.) as anchor, took the gold, with a 45-32 win against RIFAC in the final.
Top eight results are as follows:
Junior Men’s Foil July Challenge
1. Geoffrey Tourette (Cupertino, Calif.)
2. Andrew Machovec (East Rockaway, N.Y.)
3. Mohamed Hamza (EGY)
3. Kenji Bravo (San Francisco, Calif.)
5. Lucas Orts (Burlingame, Calif.)
6. Michael Li (Palo Alto, Calif.)
7. Benjamin Shih (Santa Clara, Calif.)
8. Robert Wong (Chappaqua, N.Y.)
Junior Women’s Saber July Challenge
1. Chloe Fox-Gitomer (Portland, Ore.)
2. Tori Johnson (Peachtree City, Ga.)
3. Kelli Wozniak (State College, Pa.)
3. Honor Johnson (Bethesda, Md.)
5. Sydney Hirsch (Woodbridge, Conn.)
6. Daniella Timofeyev (Antelope, Calif.)
7. Keona Moya (El Dorado Hills, Calif.)
8. Veronica Czyzewski (Caldwell, N.J.)
Division IA Women’s Épée National Championships
1. Azaline Dunlap-Smith (Saint Paul, Minn.)
2. Michaela Joyce (Sterling, Va.)
3. Shaya Shamsian (Malibu, Calif.)
3. Madeline Adams Kim (Philadelphia, Pa.)
5. Audrey Taylor (San Jose, Calif.)
6. Naomi Ross (Aurora, Colo.)
7. Sarah Isert (Abingdon, Md.)
8. Eleanor Leighton (Mishawaka, Ind.)
Division IA Men’s Saber National Championships
1. Charlson Kim (Dix Hills, N.Y.)
2. Dalton Walker (Jersey City, N.J.)
3. Charles Rohrlack (Chicago, Ill.)
3. Mark Leung (Alpharetta, Ga.)
5. Cole Clarkson (Reno, Nev.)
6. Jack Price (Franklin Lakes, N.J.)
7. Eryk Kokosinski (Chicago, Ill.)
8. Schuyler Rainville-Pond (Charlotte, N.C.)
Senior Team Men’s Épée July Challenge
1. NYAC Red
2. Marx Fencing Academy
3. Popovici Team
4. Tri-State Trio
5. Cedric”s Bois
6. NWFC Aspire
8. Modern Pentathlon
Senior Team Women’s Foil July Challenge
1. Dazzling Panda Stars
3. San Francisco Fencers’ Club
4. Fencing Institute of Texas
5. The Avengers
7. Salle Mauro
8. RedStar 2