Owen did a great job is his first “major” fencing tournament. We’re still learning all the ins and outs of youth fencing, but there are a series of tournaments through the year that are semi-national called “Super Youth Tournaments.” Placing at one of these tournaments can give you points which apply to your national ranking (we knew none of this before the weekend.)
Fencing tournaments sort of work like World Cup soccer; there is a pool round where fencers bout everyone in their pool and the results are use for seeding in the final, direct elimination round.
There were about 10 boys with ranking points in the tournament and the were split among four pools. Owen had a tough pool, with three of the ranked fencers, and one who should have been. However, he was amazing in the pool bouts (which are to five points.) He had six pool bouts and won four of them, to finish third in the pool.
His pool finish was strong enough to push him to 12th seed going into the direct elimination round (for those used to wrestling, DE means that you’re “one and done,” there are no “fence”-backs.) DE bouts are made up of three 5-point “encounters” — best two out of three wins.
Owen won his first bout fairly easily, 2-1. His second DE bout was against the #5 seed. Owen lost the first encounter, 0-5, I think. He seemed to be figuring the fencer out and came back from a couple of match points 1-4, to win the second encounter. I think that really unsettled his opponent and Owen won the third encounter — and the bout — pretty easily.
At this point, Owen is in the quarter-finals. His next opponent was the #3 seed, a fencer he had lost to in pool bouting. Again, Owen really struggled in the first encounter, but started to get his opponent figured out and started scoring by mid-second encounter — unfortunately, a little bit too late.
In fencing, all the quarter final losers get places 5-8 and those places are awarded according to to the seeding the fencers after pool bouting. As the lowest seed in the semis, that meant Owen placed 8th.
We were thrilled with the way he fenced … and he really did it all on his own. He was the only fencer (other than the other BCAF fencer) in the top 16 who was there without a coach. Kevin and I know nothing about fencing and so we don’t have anything helpful to tell him between bouts, other than “Go, Owen!” I’m sure a coach could have given him some helpful advice; in the absence of anything else, Owen just attacks, and attacks, and attacks … it’s not pretty, but actually — it often works for him.
We asked him what he thought he needed to work on before the next tournament and he said he needs to practice “countering the counter,” which I think means he needs to work on defense.
To celebrate, we went out for steaks at The Palm and Owen (with some help from Kevin and me) managed to also put away a pint of chocolate gelato along with homemade doughnut holes.