Fayetteville’s fencers at the All-American Fencing Academy swept the medal count in the epee event, but only took the silver in the foil event at the Lafayette/Rulnick Open during the Sept. 7 and 8, Lafayette Festival Weekend in downtown Fayetteville.
“Many of the events have gotten large over the past year. This is the first year we held a two-day event and combined the popular events together,” said Gerhard Guevarra, head coach.
This year, fencers from Wilmington, Chapel Hill, Apex, Durham and Raleigh, N.C. participated. The tournament also brought in fencers from Atlanta, and Charlottesville, Va. fencing clubs. A total of 35 fencers participated in the event.
The All-American Fencing Academy also introduced several competitors from the academy in their first U.S. Fencing Association-sanctioned event.
Jeremiah Hawthorne fenced in the epee event and Melea Stoltenberg fenced in the foil event. Stoltenberg’s two sons, Jameson and Ian also fence at the academy.
Day one of the event featured a youth foil in the morning and the teen and adult foil event starting at noon. In the youth event, Army Family member, Daniel Charpentier took first place.
Kurt Schmitkons, son of Col. Karl Schmitkons, vice commander of Air Force Reserve’s 440th Airlift Wing at Pope Field, took second place. Kurt comes from a whole Family of fencers. The elder Schmitkons also fences foil at the All-American Fencing Academy while mom, Nancy fences epee.
Cullen LeBrun tied for third place with Wilmington’s Sofia Galbraith in the youth event.
In the teen and adult event, Fayetteville fencers John Page and John Murray were expected to lead the charge for the All-American Fencing Academy against high seeds, Charles Chow from Chapel Hill N.C. and Oliver Galbraith, of Wilmington. Galbraith, Murray and Chow all completed their respective pools with 100 percent wins.
In the elimination rounds, Murray was edged out by Alexander Hoirup from Durham in the final 8. However, Page breezed through Galbraith and also decisively eliminating Grayson Katzenbach from Charlottesville with a score of 15-3. Katzenbach previously defeated Page in the early pools.
Page took second place after losing to Chow in the championship round.
Day two featured the epee events for the youth, teens and adults. The day started with the youth events with Gabriel Guevarra, son of All-American Fencing Academy’s head coach, took first, Thomas Mansfield took second and Kurt Schmitkons took third.
The teen and adult epee event had a strong showing from the All-American academy who were poised to defeat high seeds Greg Spahr and Brett Silverman from Wilmington.
Although no fencers came out of the preliminary pools undefeated, Fayetteville fencers Nima Sarrafan, an Army first lieutenant, only had one loss, but defeated both Wilmington fencers and Matt Harris was defeated only by Spahr and teammate Sarrafan.
Sarrafan met Spahr again in the semi-final round and paved the way for an All-American finish pitting Harris and Sarrafan in the championship round.
Sarrafan was seeded first in the brackets, while Harris was seeded third.
Neither fencer was able to get an upper hand and Harris and Sarrafan traded leads several times in the three round finals. Harris eventually toppled Sarrafan with a 15-12 win. The win also earned Harris his first national rating as a fencer with the U.S. Fencing Association.
The All-American Fencing Academy now looks towards the Kick Off Open in Fredericksburg, Va. on Sept. 28 and 29.
For more information about the All-American Fencing Academy, call 644-0137 or visit www.allamericanfencing.com.