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Junior Olympic Champions to be Crowned in Denver this Weekend

02/14/2019, 8:30am CST
By Nicole Jomantas

Junior World team silver medalist Tori Johnson will attempt to defend her 2018 Junior Olympic title in Denver. Photo Credit: #BizziTeam

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – The 2019 Junior Olympic Championships is expected to host more than 2,000 competitors this weekend in Denver – making it one of the largest Junior National Championships in history.

Athletes from 44 states and the District Columbia will compete at the Denver Convention Center in the four-day tournament in which gold medals will be awarded to winners of the individual junior (U20) and cadet (U17) events as well as junior team competitions in all three weapons: epee, foil and saber.

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Among the athletes competing this weekend are 65 fencers from throughout Colorado. While many are Denver natives, others hail from Colorado Springs, Aspen, Vail and Boulder.

The Junior Olympics will serve as the final domestic selection tournament for the 2019 Junior and Cadet World Championships. The following teams will be announced in Denver: Junior and Cadet Men’s Epee, Cadet Men’s Foil, Cadet Men’s Saber, Junior and Cadet Women’s Epee, Junior and Cadet Women’s Foil and Cadet Women’s Saber.

The Junior Men’s and Women’s Saber and Junior Men’s Foil Teams will be announced following the Junior Pan American Championships from Feb. 26 – March 3 in Bogota, Colombia.

Six fencers competing in Denver are returning individual gold medalists from the 2018 Junior Olympics.

Seventeen-year-old epeeist Emily Vermeule (Cambridge, Mass.) won her first JO title as a cadet last year – a victory that would catapult her to a historic year that included a silver medal finish at the Cadet Worlds and a bronze medal in the team event at the Youth Olympic Games. Among Vermeule’s opponents in the field will be Claire Beddingfield (Pacific Palisades, Calif.) who won the junior event as a 16 year old last year and is aiming to defend her title.

For saber fencer Tori Johnson (Peachtree City, Ga.), her 2018 Junior Olympic title would be the first of three national gold medals won in less than a year as she also added a November NAC gold in the junior event and last month won the Division I title at the January NAC. The 18 year old won silver in the women’s saber team event at the 2018 Junior World Championships as the anchor for Team USA. Seventeen-year-old Ryan Jenkins (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) earned a berth on the 2018 Cadet World Team when she earned the cadet title at the 2018 Junior Olympics and has since aged up to the junior competition.

Notre Dame sophomore Stephen Ewart (Lancaster, Calif.) won the junior men’s epee title in 2018 as one of four gold medals he earned on the North American Cup circuit during 2017-18. After competing at both the 2017 and 2018 Junior World Championships, Ewart is looking ahead to the 2019 Junior Worlds in his final year of eligibility. Last year’s cadet men’s epee champion has aged up to the junior event where Hunter Candreva (Katonah, N.Y.) is aiming for his first podium as a junior at a national event.

In addition to Vermeule, Johnson and Ewart, the following past Junior and Cadet World medalists are scheduled to compete at the Junior Olympics:

  • Elizabeth Tartakovsky (Livingston, N.J. / Junior Women’s Saber), 2018 Junior World team silver medalist and 2017 Cadet World bronze medalist
  • Ariana Mangano (Colts Neck, N.J. / Junior Women’s Epee), 2017 Junior World team bronze medalist
  • Robert Vidovszky (Emerald Hills, Calif. / Junior Men’s Saber), 2018 Cadet World silver medalist
  • Alexis Anglade (Alpharetta, Ga. / Junior Women’s Saber), 2018 Cadet World bronze medalist
  • Jonathan Piskovatskov (Houston, Texas / Junior Men’s Epee), 2017 Cadet World bronze medalist
  • Adrien Thein-Sandler (Topanga, Calif. / Junior Men’s Epee), 2016 Cadet World bronze medalist

Competition schedule is as follows (All times are start of competition only):

Friday Feb. 15
8 a.m.
Cadet Men’s Saber

8:30 a.m.
Cadet Women’s Foil

1 p.m.
Junior Men’s Epee

Saturday, Feb. 16
8 a.m.
Junior Men’s Foil
Junior Team Men’s Epee

1 p.m.
Junior Women’s Epee
Junior Women’s Saber

Sunday, Feb. 17
8 a.m.
Cadet Men’s Epee
Junior Men’s Saber

11 a.m.
Junior Team Men’s Foil

1 p.m.
Junior Team Women’s Epee

1:30 p.m.
Junior Women’s Foil

2:30 p.m.
Junior Team Women’s Saber

Monday, Feb. 18
8 a.m.
Cadet Men’s Foil
Cadet Women’s Epee
Cadet Women’s Saber
Junior Team Men’s Saber
Junior Team Women’s Foil

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