First Place Fencers score big in Des Moines IA North American Cup


Success at the North American Cup “A” in Des Moines Iowa

October 9 – 12, 2009 - Five First Place Fencers attended the North American Cup in Des Moines IA over the Columbus Day weekend of October and came home with a startling 5 medals including one gold and two silvers.

Day One

On Friday, the first day, fencers Isaac Buchwald and David Tsung competed in the Division II Men’s Saber competition.  The field was 95 fencers strong.  Issac finished up 4-2 in the pools while David went 3-2.  Then during the DEs, Isaac defeated a pair of Canadians and a New Jerseyan Michael Szczesniak to make top-8.  David cruised easily to the round of 32 before losing a tight bout against Anthony Brashear from Minnesota.

In the finals, Issac lost to eventual silver medalist Michael Costin from Los Angeles, 15-13.

Teammate Kaito Streets helped out with the strip coaching as he and coach Eric ran back and forth between the two competitors.

Day Two

The first event on this unexpectedly snowy morning was the Cadet Men’s Saber with a 93-man field.  Kaito came out of the pools with an impressive 5-0 +14 indicator result while Isaac was 4-2 (with a possible 5-1 or 6-0 finish if only....).  Kaito cruises easily through his DEs to make the top-8.  Isaac had some fight during the DEs, but got an easy fight to defeat Jens Funk from Texas to make the round of 32 and thus earned some cadet national points.

Kaito lost to Jeffrey Larson of Oregon 15-13 despite starting with a 5-1 lead.  Larson had a spirited comeback, aided by some questionable calls from the referee.  His 6th place finish puts Kaito squarely among the top-16 cadet men’s saber fencers.  He will be attending a Designated Cadet World Competition in Gödöllö, Hungary over the October 17-18 weekend.

Later that day, Stephanie Wang competed in the 60-fencers strong Division III Women’s Saber competition.  Stephanie started off with a decent 5-1 from the pools and entered the DEs with a bye into the 32.  She defeated her first opponent easily and then defeated a higher-seeded fencer Christine Whalen from Long Beach (by way of Boston area).  In the final-8, Stephanie defeated Andrea Haley from Pittsburgh PA area handily to make the semi-finals.  She then took Anastasia Pineschi from Los Angeles to town with a 15-9 drubbing.  It was a simple walkover.

In the final, Stephanie lost a hearbreaker, 15-14, to Sage Palmedo from Oregon.  Stephanie earned her C09 by taking top-4 in the Division III Women’s Saber event.

Coach Eric helped out with strip coaching duties for both the cadet men saber fencers as well as for Stephanie’s tour to the gold medal bout.  David Tsung also helped out before leaving for the airport.

Day Three

With the men’s events all finished, the gals came back for their Cadet event.  Elizabeth Jug and Stephanie Wang took on a field of 49 fencers in the Cadet Women’s Saber.  Both Elizabeth and Stephanie came out of their pools 5-1, although Elizabeth’s better indicators put her 6th while Stephanie was seeded 12th.

Both had a bye into the round of 32.  Stephanie, perhaps tired from the previous day’s long competition, lost her first DE to Sarah Yee from Sacramento.  Elizabeth, however, had no problems defeating Sage Palmedo, the previous day’s Division III winner and then easily knocked out Lindsee Rotz from Sacramento to make the final-8.

In the quarterfinals, Elizabeth beat Pineschi, the same one that Stephanie took out the previous day, with a solid 15-5 drubbing.  Then she defeated Gillian Litynski from up-state New York, also with a solid drubbing.  She then faced Sarah Pak from Long Island.  At the brea, Elizabeth was ahead 8-7, but Sarah came on hard to take back the lead 10-8 after the break.  Elizabeth regrouped and retook the lead at 11-10.  The two traded touches until 13-133 where Sarah came out hard to take the next two touches for the gold over Elizabeth.

Coach Jay flew in that morning to help strip coach Elizabeth while coach Eric worked with Stephanie.

Day Four

Only Stephanie was left on the last day of competitions as the others headed back home.  The 7:00 - 8:00 am check-in close didn’t help the situation, but Stephanie was warmed up by the time the competition started in the Division II Women’s Saber.  64 fencers competed in this event.  The previous two days of competition may have taken a toll on Stephanie as she finished her pools with a so-so 3-2 result, seeding her 16th.

Her first DE was a good warm-up bout as she took out Monica Herrera from Florida.  Then, luckily for her, her expected next opponent was defeated by a much-lower seeded teammate.  So Stephanie fenced and easily defeated Haley Fisher from the vaunted Nellya Fencers Club of Georgia.  Stephanie is now top-16 and needs one more win to make top-8 for the medal.  Coach Eric muses the possibilities of scoring a 5-medal outcome as he advises Stephanie on how to defeat Erica Zhao from Texas.  Stephanie defeats Zhao with no problems.  A 5-medal outcome was now guaranteed.

In the final-8, Stephanie first defeated Melissa Regalia from Sacramento with a decisive 15-8 beatdown.  Earlier in the preliminary pools, Stephanie crushed Regalia 5-0, so this finish was not unexpected.  Then came the semifinal bout against Graciela Nolen from Arizona.  This was the most difficult bout as Nolen held the lead at the break at 8-5 and held onto the lead all the way to 14-11.  Then Stephanie pulled everything together to string up 4 straight touches to win the thriller 15-14.  Coach Eric helped Stephanie change her game during the break to break Nolen’s punishing attacks.

For the gold, Eric asked Stephanie if she was ready for the gold this time, having lost the chance on Saturday.  Stephanie replied that she wanted the gold.  And that’s how it’s done.  If you want it, you’ll get it.  And Stephanie pulled off a string of parry-ripostes against Maria Schneeweiss from Boston and led 14-13 before letting Schneeweiss tie the score at 14-14.  Then, one more parry riposte and Stephanie took the gold.

So in a course of three days, Stephanie went from a D09 to a C09 and then to a B09.  Congrats to Stephanie and all the others for a tremendous turnout at the first NAC.  Let’s ride this momentum for NAC B and onwards to Summer Nationals in Atlanta.  And for those who are just new to the sport, you too can make these achievements.  All it takes is dedication, perseverance, and hard work.  Simple, no?

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