Remember: no practice June 30 through July 7 due to the National Championships in San Jose.
We have a number of Santa Barbara athletes competing. I list them here in order of the days they're fencing:
Starting July 9, our Tuesday and Thursday practices will both be held at the Westside Neighoborhood Center. They will stay there through September.
As we move our tassels to the other side of our cap, I wanted to take
a moment to acknowledge our graduating high school seniors. This year,
there are five graduates at Presidio Fencing Club, and they all hail
from Dos Pueblos High School. Due to senior engineering projects, and
in some cases "senioritis," we don't see many of them at practices
these days. But they're still around, and they deserve recognition.
-Nick Cleland will be digging into some deep dish
pizza at the University of Chicago.
-Isabella Franco will have to take up surfing at UC San Diego.
-Spencer Mullanix will need a rain jacket at the University of Washington, Seattle.
-Matt Schmidt will be searching for mermaids as a nuclear tech on a Navy sub.
-And Sean Strong will finally be able to explain what's so scary about a Tree after attending Stanford.
At least Isabella and Sean will have opportunities for NCAA fencing when they go to their universities. I am familiar with UCSD's fencing, since the UCSB team regularly competes against them in conference play. And Stanford is regarded as the top college fencing program on the West Coast. Also, Nick will find himself at home in a fairly competitive club program in Illinois. I met some of the U. Chicago fencers when I took the UCSB team to Club Nationals in Pennsylvania last April. I am not sure about the fencing at the University of Washington, although Seattle has a couple of top-notch private clubs. And as for Matt, well, the Navy doesn't let their sub technicians see much daylight in the first few years of service.
In case you missed practice last Thursday, we had a plate full of
chocolate and some ice cream cake to celebrate Jeff Van Housen's
birthday. Since Jeff holds the record for the longest continuous
fencing career among Santa Barbara residents, I figured a small
celebration was in order. If you haven't had the privilege of sparring
with him on a Thursday night, then you're really missing out.
Happy Birthday, Jeff!
And in case you're wondering how the 8th Annual SLO Memorial Day Open wrapped up, you can find the results at askfred.net. Of note, Sean Strong took the silver medal in the men's epee. He lost to the reigning champion by one touch: 14-15. Good fight, Sean! Perhaps you'll get another shot at the Div 1A National Championships in San Jose next month.
I hope everyone had a nice three-day weekend. I'll see you all
on Tuesday and Thursday for practice.
What a Saturday for sports! There was a big horse race in Kentucky,
a highly anticipated boxing match in Vegas, and an intense basketball
playoff in LA. And then there was the final Central Coast Youth
Fencing Tournament of the season held in San Luis Obispo.
Thank you to everyone who showed up and made Saturday such a fun event. And to those parents who might have seen fencing for the first time, now you know what the sport is. Now you see why we train. I remember when I first started the club and many people asked me, “Fencing? Why would you do that? We don't fight with swords anymore.” OK. Maybe, we don't need to worry about dueling on the green at sunrise. So why do we fence? For that matter, why do we play any sports?
We play to improve strength, balance, and overall health; to understand strategy; to learn about time management and discipline; to push ourselves; to make friends and build camaraderie; and to have fun. Fencing provides all of this and more. My early critics could not grasp the concept of fencing as a modern sport because they had never seen it. Their understanding was wrapped around characters like Zorro and d'Artagnon, and not the highly-trained athletes of today whose training involves as much critical thinking as it does controlled and explosive movement. It is my hope that, having seen the passion and intensity of your children at Saturday's fencing tournament, you will be able to help me educate those people who think fencing is just about swordfighting.
Now, here are the tournament medalists:
Gold: Theo Funk, Presidio Santa Barbara
Silver: Li Meinhold, Presidio Santa Barbara
Bronze: Theo Brown, Presidio Los Olivos
Gold: Kaleb Jordan, Points West Ventura
Silver: Kincade Avery, Presidio Santa Barbara
Bronze: Clayton Wicka, San Luis Obispo Highlanders
Gold: Boris Peljhan, Presidio Santa Barbara
Silver: Calvin Weimbs, Presidio Santa Barbara
Bronze: Erik Elmfors, Presidio Santa Barbara
Since this was a circuit, points carried over from previous events and the overall season winners were announced:
1st Theo Funk, Presidio Santa Barbara
2nd Li Meinhold, Presidio Santa Barbara
3rd Zach Seaman, Presidio Los Olivos
1st Kaleb Jordan, Points West Ventura
2nd Kincade Avery, Presidio Santa Barbara
3rd Clayton Wicka, San Luis Obispo Highlanders
1st Boris Peljhan, Presidio Santa Barbara
2nd Calvin Weimbs, Presidio Santa Barbara
3rd Hank Molina, Presidio Los Olivos
UCSB Fencing's "Ole! Open" was fun, although small, and Presidio
athletes fared pretty well. The Mixed Foil was won by Walter
Goodwater, who coaches the Los Olivos classes. This victory renewed
Walter's C-rating with US Fencing. Second and third places went to
UCSB fencers, with Jeff Van Housen tieing for third. I want to
acknowledge Matt Kuiken and Lucas Nichols, who both renewed their
E-ratings by finishing in the top 8. And I want give special
acknowledgement to Carter Block, who earned his E by defeating
Jean-Michel Ricard. That match, Block v Ricard, was one of the most
important matches of the day. Both were from Presidio. Both attend
DPHS. And both were currently unrated fencers, hungry for that top-8
finish. What a match-up!
The Mixed Epee tournament only had 12 entrants -- and two of them were very strong, A-rated fencers. One A was the UCSB men's epee captain. The other was a woman from the Bay Area who was once a pentathlete for Poland, and who is currently ranked 7th in the USA. Needless to say, the final match between them was very exciting. Fortunately for Santa Barbara, the UCSB fencer came out on top, after coming back with a 12-3 run in the final period. And congratulations to Randy Bublitz for taking the bronze medal in this small but difficult event.
I hope everyone who participated enjoyed the "Second Chance" tournaments. The provided for a considerable amount of extra fencing. Congratulations to Sasha Orodjiev for taking the bronze in the second chance foil, and to Matt Kuiken for taking silver in the second chance epee.
And now, on to the next tournament. This Saturday, in SLO is a Youth tournament at 9:30 in the morning, and then an unrated tournament at 1:00 pm. Email me if you are interested in attending one or both of these events. In preparation, I would like to give the youth fencers at the club a little extra time on the electric scoring machines this Tues and Thurs. If you are an older or more experienced fencer, then please help me help our young athletes prepare for the weekend.
And if you are really digging the competitions, then the annual SLO Open, held every Memorial Day weekend, has announced pre-registration. Walter, along with the Cal Poly SLO team, put on a good tournament, and this year should be an even bigger draw than in 2014. The event will take place on May 23. Pre-register on AskFred:
As you may have heard, I traveled with the UCSB Fencing Team
traveled to Pennsylvania for our first experience at Collegiate
National Championships. There, we had one fencer take the bronze medal
in the individual men's epee finals. Our men's saber squad
placed 6th. Men's foil finished 10th. Men's epee came in 23rd.
Women's saber finished 13th. We did not field teams in women's
foil or women's epee. There were some 50 total colleges in attendance,
and so we feel pretty good about our performance. The UCSB students
are especially energized right now and ready for more fencing.
Tournament, April 25:
On April 25, the UCSB fencing club is hosting a fundraiser tournament. Everyone born in 2001 or earlier is welcome to attend, but you have to make sure you upgrade your USFA membership to "competitive." Fortunatey, if you upgrade this late in the season, then it will last through July 2016! Please handle the membership upgrade as soon as possible. I would prefer not to do it the day of the event. Also, becuase the tournament on the 25th is a USFA sanctioned event, all participants have to have their own gear, including fencing pants.
The exciting thing about the UCSB tournament is that we will separate the experienced from the less-experienced fencers after an intial round of pools. This means even the beginners have a chance to make a medal round, and they're not going to get whooped on by someone with ten times more experience. Find more information and pre-register here:
Tournament, May 2:
On May 2, up in SLO, there will be a senior tournament (fencers born in 2001 or earlier) and a youth tournament (fencers born in 2000 or later). The senior tournament is for unrated fencers only, and it is a USFA-sanctioned meet, meaning participants must be competitive members of the USFA, and they must have their own gear. Pre-registration is available here:
The Youth Event on May 2 is unsanctioned, however, and therefore open to ages 8-14 with the basic USFA membership OR the competitive membership. This tournament is a tad more introductory, and the organizers do their best to make sure everyone gets the equipment they need. So, if you want to try a tournament, but you do not have all the gear, then you should still be able to participate. There is no link to pre-register. Just send me an email.
In preparation for the two tournaments listed above, you can expect to see more sparring over the next two weeks, and I will try to go over equipment maintenance with everyone. I will bring some tools to help check weapons and body cords, and provide advice on how to clean and care for electrical jackets and other equipment. Please let me know if you have questions.
The swords have ceased their clashing and the dust has settled to the floor. These six athletes remain, ready to carry the fight to San Jose and the 2015 National Championships in June.
There were also a handful of fencers from the UCSB team who
qualified. Congratulations to our Santa Barbara fencers. And
congratulations to those who may not have qualified, but who put
themselves out there in an attempt.
I am looking forward to the lessons as we start with Spring quarter. Also, I am looking forward to a busy tournament schedule:
Sprinkled between these weekends are a number of other events in Los Angeles and Orange County. All tournament information can be found on askfred.net
Congratulations to the UCSB Fencing team. They finished 2nd in their conference and are on their way to the Club Fencing National Championships in Pennsylvania, April 10-13.Many people have asked about carpools to practices. Shall we try to establish some ride-shares again? Send an email if you are interested.