American Fencing Magazine

American Fencing Magazine 1Check it out! High school level fencing is definitely growing in America, but no one does it like New Jersey. This quarter’s American Fencing Magazine features great insight into New Jersey High School Fencing, written by Olympic Team Captain, Jeff Bukantz.

And the film gets a nod at the end of the article! Thanks, Jeff 🙂



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Former NJSIAA State Champion wins NCAAs

University of Pennsylvania junior, Michael Mills, captured the NCAA Individual Men’s Sabre title in Houston, TX a couple weeks ago. With many former New Jersey High School fencers competing, Mills was the only one to take home the win. Back in 2010, Mills won the NJSIAA Men’s Sabre title for Millburn High School in the same year the team won the overall championship. Check out some old and new articles about Mills and his reposted article from an interview he did as Fencer-of-the-Week in the Star Ledger:

Former Millburn High School fencing star wins NCAA title

Michael Mills NCAA Champion

NJ boys fencing: Mills, Hadzic, Kaneshige win titles at state tournament

Senior, sabre, 6-5, 210 pounds

JUST THE FACTS: He has gone 22-2 in dual meets, including 6-0 in state team tournament meets. He finished 10-0 in the opening pool, helping Millburn to second overall, and was 8-2 in the final pool on the way to winning his second individual title at the District 3 tournament. He took seventh in the junior division at the Junior Olympics this past weekend. Mills earned his way onto the cadet national team and finished second at the state individual tournament last winter.
PERSONAL GOAL: “To win the state individual sabre title.”
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT: “Making the cadet national team last year.”
BIGGEST IMPROVEMENT:  “Nothing with technique. Just my strategy and tactics have gotten better lately.”
FENCING IDOL: Keeth Smart, the two-time NCAA champion and silver medalist in the 2008 Olympics. “I still practice with him sometimes.”
BIGGEST INFLUENCE: “My dad, Robert, started me when I was young and he is there for moral support. He doesn’t watch me too much these days because he gets too nervous.”
FAVORITE MOVIE: “Gladiator.”
FAVORITE BOOK: “1984” by George Orwell.
INTEREST/HOBBIES:  “I’ve played the viola since the third grade. I still take lessons and play in the school orchestra.”
FAVORITE PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE: Boxer Floyd Mayweather. “He’s undefeated and kind of flashy and in your face. He’s really competitive.”
THREE FOR DINNER: “My grandfather, who passed away; Elliot Tusk, a fellow fencer from New York state, and Martin Luther King.”

NJSIAA All State Teams

This post is long over due, but here are the Star Ledger’s 2012-13 All-State Team selections for New Jersey High School Fencing:

Boys Fencer-of-the-Year: Gabe Canaux (Montclair)
Girls Fencer-of-the-Year: Francesca Russo (Wayne Valley)


Boys Team-of-the-Year: Columbia
Girls Team-of-the-Year: Northern Highlands



SABRE: Alex Gorloff, Ramapo; Andrew Doddo, Columbia; Khalil Thompson, Teaneck
FOIL: John Vaiani, Christian Brothers Academy; Drew Johnston, Hunterdon Central; George Haglund, Newark Academy
EPEE: Gabriel Canaux, Montclair; Cooper Schumacher, Pompton Lakes; Eric Gardner, Watchung Hills

Sabre: Jarett Lewis, St. Peter’s Prep; Adam Carcione, Ramapo; Connor Mills, St. Augustine
Foil: David Kong, St. Peter’s Prep; Yashu Srivastav, Watchung Hills; Jared LeBron, Columbia
Epee: Max Gould, Columbia; Albert Reiss, Millburn; Sam Judd, Ramapo


Sabre: Michael Leung, West Windsor North; Wenrui Lu, Pingry; Danny Dembner, Millburn
Foil: Albert Zhang, North Hunterdon; Jake Schulman, Northern Highlands; Calvin Au, Bernards
Epee: Christian Aguilar, Moorestown Friends; Antonio Fuda, Christian Brothers Academy; Lars Swanson, Mendham


Sabre: Jacky Lam, Lawrenceville; Nyle Neuman, Princeton Day; Rob Hedberg, Hun
Foil: Matt Giannotti, Princeton Day; Tom McNulty, Hun; Elijah Acevedo, St. Benedict’s Prep
Epee: Jong-Wan Kagabo, St. Benedict’s Prep; Matt Cavuto, Princeton Day; Max Nye, Princeton Day



SABRE: Francesca Russo, Wayne Valley; Alisha Gomez-Shah, Wayne Hills; Allison Lee, Northern Highlands
FOIL: Sarah Pak, Northern Highlands; Samantha Viquiera, Columbia; Liana Yamin, Northern Highlands
EPEE: Amy Tong, Ridge; Katherine Couch, Montgomery; Brianna Valese, Livingston

Sabre: Elysia Wang, West Windsor North; Alex Viquiera, Columbia; Julia Greene, Voorhees
Foil: Gabby D’Astoli, Hunterdon Central; Kristen Coury, Bernards; Nicole Vianni, Ranney
Epee: Lizzy Elkind, Bernards; Helen Sakharova, Bergen Tech; Sarah Redick, Mendham


Sabre: Katie Khaw, West Windsor North; Cindy Oh, Northern Highlands; Alicja Tomaszewski, Morris Hills
Foil: Anastasiya Muravyeva, Fair Lawn; Sophia Holmqvist, Northern Highlands; Kristen Kemnitzer, West Windsor South
Epee: Alaina Jennings, Gov. Livingston; Ashley Hahn, Bernards; Fiana Fong, Watchung Hills


Sabre: Celeste Matsui, Lawrenceville; Claire Zau, Lawrenceville; Janice Luo, Lawrenceville
Foil: Tara Fish, Lawrenceville; Maria Chaves, Princeton Day; Annete Jeffs, Hun
Epee: Noelle Baptiste, Hun; Yang, Lawrenceville; Judy Zhu, Hun


State Individuals Crowned

At the end of the NJSIAA fencing season, there are six new state champions. It was an exciting day at Montgomery High School as the following high school athletes topped the podium: Gabe Canaux (boys epee), Amy Tong (girls epee), George Haglund (boys foil), Sarah Pak (girls foil), Alex Gorloff (boys saber), and Francesca Russo (girls saber). In true dramatic fashion, the Boys Epee event ended with a three-way tie for 1st a fence-off for the title. Boys Foil and Girls Saber also had a two-way fence-off for the gold. All of the competitors should be really proud of their performances and for qualifying for this intense competition. Although only one person can win, each touch is a small victory in itself. Good luck to the seniors in their endeavors and now it’s time to start training for next season. 🙂


For a more detailed report, following the links:Boys Results:
Girls Results:

Team Champions

Congrats to the Columbia boys and the Northern Highlands girls on their NJSIAA Team Championships! I was at Morris Hills in Rockaway, NJ on Wednesday night and the room couldn’t have been more electric. The powerhouse team from Northern Highlands clinched their meet at 14-6 (out of 27 bouts, first to 14 wins) and rushed the strip for hugs and a team cheer. The final score was 18-9 over Montgomery.


The gold medal match for the boys was a bit more dramatic…I mean REALLY dramatic. Lots of yellow cards, 4-4 bouts, overtime wins, emotions, and cheering. Watchung Hills lead the match until the end of the second round when Columbia’s epee squad tied the meet at 9-9. The score went back and forth until Columbia’s foil came up with big wins to put them in the lead. Once again, the meet fell to the epee squad and the meet was clinched at 14-12.


The teams all fought well and the energy was so great for a fencing meet. The girls bronze medal was awarded to Columbia for defeating Livingston in a close bout. The Millburn boys took home the bronze against Ridge. It’s been a great season for all of these teams and they should all be so proud. The last event of the season takes place this Sunday at Montgomery High School in Skillman, NJ for the NJSIAA State Individuals.


Squad Champions

It was a great weekend for high school fencing in New Jersey. The top 16 squads in each of the three weapons fenced each other to determine who would be crowned the state’s Squad Champion. Congrats to Northern Highlands Girls for winning foil AND saber and to Bernards for claiming another state epee title. Congrats to Montclair Boys for their epee title (and a shout out to Gabe Canaux for making the Cadet World Team!), to Columbia Boys as saber championships, and to Hunterdon Central Boys as foil champs. A special congrats to Pompton Lakes on their bronze medal in epee, their first state placement in 10 years! Our production team was following this great group of guys on Sunday and below is a photo of our crew and the epee squad with Coach Owens.


The season isn’t over yet. Wednesday night features the NJSIAA Team matches for bronze and gold at Morris Hills High School. Columbia Boys will face Watchung Hills for the gold and favored Northern Highlands Girls will face Montgomery for the state title. Bronze medal matches will begin the night with Millburn Boys taking on Ridge and Columbia Girls versus Livingston.


Good Luck Frosh/Sophs

Today, many of the freshmen and sophomores in New Jersey are competing in their area’s freshmen and sophomore tournaments. I think this is a great way to get the newbies in a competitive environment without having to join the USFA (which can be expensive if you don’t know if you want to stay in the sport just yet). Good luck to all!

Photo by Bill Viqueira

Fencing In The Schools begins

Fencing In The Schools begins

One of the organizations the film will be highlighting is Tim Morehouse’s Fencing In The Schools. I had the pleasure of meeting some of the administration yesterday with Tim and some of his team. This program is beginning its pilot year at Democracy Prep, a charter school with six campuses in Harlem, NY. With about 2,000 students between all of the schools, Democracy Prep will be running the first 6-week gym program that features fencing as a physical education unit. Tim has commissioned starter foil gear from Absolute so the kids can get into the action quickly and safely (there it is in the picture!)

I’m including this program in the film as an example of how schools can begin fencing programs of their own. Although fencing in NJ is popular at the varsity sport level, you can also introduce kids to the sport in gym class. The earlier the better. As kids compete in soccer and baseball at young ages, starting a new sport when they’re older becomes less appealing. If a kid starts fencing when they’re younger, or at least has tried it, there may be a better chance that they stay with fencing as they get older and into high school.

For more information about Fencing In The Schools, check them out here: