Fencers from Columbia High School made an impressive showing at the Junior Olympic Qualifying Tournament held at Rutgers University on November 24 and 25. Over the two-day event, which drew hundreds of top-ranked fencers from throughout the state, 10 student-athletes from Columbia High School qualified to compete in the United States Junior Olympics, to be held in Baltimore, MD, this February.
With top-eight finishes in their respective qualifying events, junior Alexandra Viqueira (sabre) qualified to compete in the U20 and U17 events, while sophomore Celia Accardi (sabre) and junior Najiyyah Clark (foil) qualified to compete in the U17 event. Freshman Samantha Viqueira qualified for both U20 and U17 foil based on her current national ranking.
In the men’s events, CHS fencers qualified in all three weapon categories. With top-three finishes, junior John Kirk (foil), sophomore Bryn Hammarberg (epee) and freshman Andrew Doddo (sabre) qualified for both U20 and U17. Junior Max Gould (epee) qualified for both U20 and U17 as well. Taking first place, junior Jared LeBron qualified for the U17 foil event, while junior Ravi Cho qualified in U17 epee.
Potentially, CHS could be represented at the 2013 Junior Olympics by as many as 10 fencers. This bodes well for Columbia’s 2012/2013 high school fencing season, as the women defend their 2012 State Championship title, and the boys look to win their third championship in four years after finishing second last year.
The Junior Olympic Fencing Championships, held each year in February during the four-day President’s Day holiday weekend, are the championships for the Under 17 (Cadet) and Under 20 (Junior) teams. They are the final domestic competitions in the selection cycle for the Junior and Cadet World Fencing Championships team. Fencers must qualify to compete in this tournament.
This year, the tournament will take place at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, MD, February 15 through February 18. Approximately 2,000 entrants from across the country will compete in 12 men’s and women’s events in all three weapons.