The holiday break was long: the last youth competition was at the beginning of last December and the holidays came at the end of the month. However, EFA fencers were clearly hard at work, coming into the first Youth/JR competition of the new year ready to compete and were rewarded with several great results.

In the Y10 competition, Jonah Lupien attended his first competition alongside his classmate, Finn Magnuson, who has been fencing for a little over three months. Fencing in a pool of 8 in the first round, the boys each acquired several victories, but were unable to get a high seeding going into the elimination round. Finn rallied to get a victory in the first round of DEs, his first in his fencing career. Jonah, meanwhile, worked hard and was able to beat the first-seeded fencer in the semi-finals and carried the momentum into the final match where he defeated the second-seeded fencer to win the event! Jonah placed first in his first competition, and Finn placed third in his first competition outside of his club.

Next up, Ryan Weissman participated in both the Y12 and Y14 events. In Y12 there were 15 competitors; Ryan won 2 of his 4 matches in his pool. Seeded 9th going into the elimination round, he won his first match handily 15-8. His next match was against the 1st seed, and despite fencing very hard, he was knocked out 9-15. In Y14, Ryan had a 6-person pool, and improved on his previous result emerging with a 3-2 record. In his first DE match he put in a strong performance, but ultimately lost 13-15. Ryan worked very hard and executed many skills he’s been working on in practice, showing a focus we are proud to see.

Junior Men’s and Junior Women’s epee closed out the day, with Roark Harris, Aslan Choi, Eowyn Acres, and Ilyssa Freiburger all competing in their respective events.

Roark and Aslan had incredible showings in the pools, which were populated with tricky, awkward fencers. Roark won 4 of his 5 matches in his 6-person pool, and Aslan swept his pool of 7 with aplomb, allowing no more than 3 touches against him in all his bouts - good for a first place seeding into the elimination round. Roark won his first DE match 15-4, but had a much more difficult match in the second round, losing 9-15 against the eventual second-place finisher. Aslan’s position in the tableau earned him a bye in the first round, and he fenced hard to earn a victory in the second round and an entry into the semi-finals. He gave an incredible effort, but was defeated 6-15 (also to the eventual second-place finisher). Roark and Aslan both showed some great fencing, and Aslan finished in third place.

Eowyn and Ilyssa participated in a 9-person pool, which is very challenging in and of itself. Eowyn came to the event armed with effort-based goals and was rewarded with a 5-3 record out of pools, seeding 4th in DE’s. She came out to an early lead in her first elimination match, but her opponent surged ahead to eventually defeat Eowyn 15-10.

Ilyssa worked her way methodically through the pools, handing each of her opponent’s defeats and earning a perfect 8-0 record. She took that momentum into the DE’s with a pair of 15-12 victories, which brought her to the final match. She had a shaky start to the match, being down as much as five points by the end of the first period. A few adjustments and a lot of patience allowed her to claw back the score to 10-12 by the end of the second period. Both fencers were exhausted and determined, and despite her opponent bringing the score to 14-12, Ilyssa tied up the match at 14-14 with plenty of time to spare. After some tense exchanges, an unfortunate hand touch defeated Ilyssa, but she had already acquired many small victories throughout the match. She finished in second, and was 1 touch from earning her E18!

All of our fencers earn points toward the San Diego Cup Youth and Junior standings with participation in this tournament, some appearing for the first time, and some improving their positions. Here are the current standings for EFA fencers:

Y10 Men’s Epee: Finn (3), Jonah (4T)

Y12 Men’s Epee: Ryan Weisman (12)

Y14 Men’s Epee: Ryan Weisman (8)

Junior Men’s Epee: Roark Harris (3), Aslan Choi (12T)

Junior Women’s Epee: Ilyssa Freiburger (2), Eowyn Acres (5)

We are absolutely thrilled with our fencers’ participation in this tournament, and we are glad they were rewarded with so many great results. Everyone exhibited spectacular fencing and exemplary sportsmanship. We hope that these fencers can take the lessons learned at this event to practice and show up at the next competition ready for bigger and better performances.

Full tournament results can be found here, and the current points standings can be found on Askfred: Y10, Y12, Y14, JRM, JRW.

The next Junior tournament is on February 11th and the next Youth tournament is on March 25th. Both tournaments are being hosted by the La Jolla Fencing Academy.

Congratulations, everyone! We look forward to seeing you at the club.