Well we had another great weekend with fencing. This time it was Ashley stepping up to the strip and taking first place at the Mid Atlantic RYC Y10 Women’s Saber. This is an awesome achievement for Ashley. This fencing tournament qualifies Ashley for the 2007 Fencing Nationals in Miami this year.

We went to the University of North Carolina in Greensboro for this event on Saturday March 3rd and it was Ashley’s first tournament outside of the KOS home events. Was she nervous? She sure did not look like it!

Just to refresh your memories on how one of these tournaments works. Fencers are placed in groups called pools. Depending on the number of fencers there could be 1 or many pools. In the case of this tournament there were 3 fencers so only 1 pool was formed. The object of the pool is to get as many wins and points as possible. When the pool is complete the points are totaled up and the fencers are ranked. Based on the ranking results the fencers are paired up to compete in a direct elimination tournament. In direct elimination the winners advance to the next round and the losers go home.

Ashley ended up fencing two other fencers in this pool. She won 1 and lost 1 and the end result of the pool she ended up ranking 2nd out of 3 fencers This created an elimination tournament where the #1 ranked fencer would get a bye for the first round and Ashley would have to fence the #3 rank in round 1 Take a look at the elimination bracket shown below to get a visual idea of what I am talking about.

RYC 2007 DE Bracket

In direct elimination each round consists of the best 2 out of 3 matches of 5 points each. This means the fencers fence up to 3 matches of 5 points each. The first fencer to reach 2 wins advances to the next round.

Ashley won the first two matches in round 1 against Ross with a total score of 10 to 4. This meant Ashley was moving up to the finals against Margaret. Ashley started off a little slow in the first match against Margaret and she ended up loosing the match 5 to 3. Shawn quickly came to Ashley’s side and started coaching her for the next match. Ashley started off slow again but she came from behind to win the 2nd match 5 to 4. This was very exciting to see Ashley come from behind and win the match to tie up the series. The final 3rd match was going to need to be played to determine the 1st place winner. During the final Match Ashley did not start off slow at all and she took the win 5 to 1. We were so excited that Ashley displayed so much courage to come from behind in a difficult match and win 1st place!!

In the picture below Ashley is on the right side and Margaret is on the left. As you can see in the picture both fencers are lunging for an attack but Ashley had right away in this case and she ended up with the point Ashley is showing great form in this picture with her front foot pointed forward and her left arm stretched back to give her great balance in her lunge.

Ashley Fencing at RYC 2007

Day 2 of Shawn's participation in the USFA Summer Nationals was on Monday 7/30/2006.  Check out Day 1 at USFA Nationals for some previous results.  Also check out the pictures that I posted that were taken during our trip. 

Wake up call at 5:30 am was surprisingly on time.  We headed to breakfast at 6:25am and then we hurried to the lobby to request out car.  How many valets does it take to find your keys you ask?  Well more than two.  After a 12 minute wait I headed in the room to assist in the search.  I searched high and low and finally found them laying on the floor.  Meanwhile Denise stood anxiously starring at her watch as the time we were supposed to check into the fencing tournament arrived.  We hurried on to the World Congress Center and fortunately when we arrived at 7:15am there was no line.  So Shawn checked in for his much anticipated saber event, hurried to base camp to wait to be summoned to the "Piste" (fencing strip).

Shawn's saber event had 97 other fencers.  The initial seading based on previous tournament results placed Shawn in 58.  This meant he fell pretty close to the middle of the other fencers.  After the pools are completed the seeding would be re-evaluated and Shawn would be matched up with his first Direct Elimination opponent. 

The pools started at 8:50am and completed at 9:40am.  Shawn fenced 6 bouts during the pool.  Shawn won 1 and lost 5 bouts.  Most of the bouts were very close and Shawn made them very exciting.  His last bout was where he earned his win.  Shawn used a fencing technique called the line to lure his opponent into a failed attack and then he scored by striking on the opponet's right side.  This worked for 3 of the five points during this bout.  The final score of this bout was 5 to 1 with Shawn as the victor.  Shawn moved up one spot in the seeding after the pools were completed.

After the pools the Direct Elimination (DE) tournament began on strip 44 of the venue.  Shawn's opponent was a little shorter than he was which was an advantage by reach for Shawn.  The DE is a best 2 out of 3 bouts that are 5 points each.  Shawn started off with the first bout on a win that was 5 to 3.  Very impressive start!!  The second bout went to Shawn's opponent in a 2 to 5 loss.  It was going to have to go to the 3rd and final bout to determine who was going to advance to the next round.  This sure makes a parent nervous watching your child get so close to winning his first National DE.  But Shawn ended up coming a little short on the points and he lost the bout 5 to 3. 

Well we once again are very proud of Shawn at how well he did in the USFA Summer Nationals of 2006!  He showed so much determination at doing his best and being a real winner even if he did not advance into the finals of the tournament.  Shawn had a lot of fun doing this tournament and we can all expect to see him at the next Summer Nations that will take place in Miami, Florida next year around the fourth of July. 

I uploaded some pictures of the Fencing tournament for anyone that is interested.  For right now I don't have a good way to allow for comments to be left on individual pictures.  So leave any comments about the pictures on this blog entry.