More than 900 fencers from across the country tested their skills in a chance to qualify for Nationals at St. Peter’s College, as part of a three-day elimination competition this weekend.
Hosted by Jersey City’s Cobra Fencing Club, fencers as young as 10 years old competed in the Super Youth Circuit, with a chance of conquering their age group click reference. Each fencer was broken up into a group of six to seven fencers. The winner of each group met the winners of the others until one came out victorious.
Fencers are faced with a direct elimination bracket-style, putting extra pressure on the athletes to make sure they are at their best for each round.
At the St. Peter’s gym, 12 mats were stretched across the room, with two matches happening per mat. There were three types of fencing competitions going on – epees, sabers and foil – each with a different blade.
“We’ve got some people coming from Texas for this,” said Steve Kaplan, the Club’s Founder. After three days of competition, the top fencers in each age group and each weapon type could qualify for a national competition with the US Fencing Team.
Kaplan started the club in Jersey City in 2003, with the first practices held Saturdays at the Our Lady of Czestochowa (OLC) School’s Victory Hall. Once enrollment became too big for the small hall, Kaplan moved the school to the fourth floor of a warehouse at 629 Grove Street in Jersey City. Practices have always been open to the public for kids ages 6 and up.