This weekend marked the completion of the two weekend-long Northern California RYC1 tournament at Treasure Island in San Francisco! Just one word is all we need to sum up this tournament experience for the AFM fencers – FANTASTIC. In this tournament AFM was represented by 66 fencers fencing in 80 events, 23 medals – an incredible number! For some fencers this was their very first competition and we were very proud to stand by all of these new starts and to witness the sense of camaraderie among all our fencers.
The Total Results
Very impressive indeed!
- 3 Gold Medals
○ Andrea Leang – Y12 Women’s Epee
○ Sonia Bulavko – Y14 Women’s Epee
○ Bartosz Kuligowski – Y12 Men’s Epee
- 3 Silver Medals
○ Ned Machulsky – Y14 Men’s Epee
○ Yakov Shur – Y12 Men’s Epee
○ Lehee Machulsky – Y10 Women’s Epee
- 6 Bronze Medals
○ Adam Chirashnya – Y10 Men’s Foil
○ Marsel Nagimov – Y12 Men’s Foil
○ Noya Chirashnya – Y10 Women’s Epee
○ Natalie Gebala – Y10 Women’s Epee
○ Priscilla Leang – Y12 Women’s Epee
○ Jade Welder – Y14 Women’s Epee
- 11 top 8 medalists
○ Catherine Lagne – 6th at Y14 Women’s Foil
○ Erika Castaneda – 8th at Y10 Women’s Foil
○ Andrea Leang – 5th at Y14 Women’s Epee
○ Ria Jobalia – 8th at Y14 Women’s Epee
○ Neil Hommes – 5th at Y12 Men’s Epee
○ Ishi Gaur – 7th at Y10 Women’s Epee
○ Angela Du – 8th at Y10 Women’s Epee
○ Ishi Gaur – 8th at Y12 Women’s Epee
○ Yakov Shur – 7th at Y14 Men’s Epee
○ Eli Chavez – 8th at Y10 Men’s Epee
○ Aritra Bagchi – 8th at Y10 Men’s Epee
More than Medals
But it is not only the medals that count! We have seen a great improvement in fencing and results for many of our fencers, with several others who didn’t medal impressing us with their consistent improvement! Take Jared Otake for example. In Y12 Men’s Foil Jared finished his pool bouts undefeated and was seeded 3rd after the pools, among 73 fencers! Overall Jared demonstrated great fencing and finished 10th – his best personal result. Just one week after the South California RYC in Los Angeles, where in the same category Jared finished 11th, Jared’s fencing show solid personal growth.
We also saw many examples of great character, such as when our fencers lagged behind in the bout or in the entire competition, being seeded quite low, then they pulled it together and successfully overcame their adversity.
The Exciting Conclusion
A beautiful conclusion of the RYC were 2 epee events – Y12 Men’s and Y14 Women’s. The men’s final was all AFM – Bartosz Kuligowski against Yakov Shur. For both of them this was their best personal result – the first time Bartosz won Y12 tournament and the first time Yakov got Silver.
Y14 Women’s Epee was very dramatic – Sonia Bulavko against our good friend and fierce competitor from Gearge Platt Swords, Simarpreet Kaur. The whole bout went point to point until 7:7, then Simarpreet took 2 points lead and it took Sonia until 13:13 to tie a score, and then 14:13 to get a first time lead. Shortly Simarpreet tied the score and the girls tried to score a single touch until end of the bout, charging towards each other but making one double after another and going to the priority minute with tie score 14:14 and Sonia’s priority. It was so nerve wrecking! It took then 4 or 5 doubles in the overtime minute when finally Sonia ducked on Simarpreet’s attack, turning on only 1 light. Win 15:14! There were about 30 AFM’ers (including parents) from other events watching this bout and cheering Sonia and the whole gym explode with applauds.
But then during the ceremony when Sonia climbed to the top of the podium, the whole gym suddenly started to sing “Happy Birthday to you!”, congratulating Sonia with her 13th birthday. What a wonderful present to give yourself on your 13th birthday!
I was personally happy and impressed with our first time contenders in this tournament. They showed a great attitude towards learning what it takes to compete and taking these lessons back to their training. Many stayed long after their own bouts, watching their more experienced teammates as they advanced in DE’s. The team bond that forms at the competitions is unique, as people share this experience together and more advanced fencers help their less experienced teammates to navigate through the competition. It was just great to watch it!