August 27, 2011

SHREVEPORT, LA - Byrd High School experienced several "firsts" with the finish of the 2011 Get Back to Work 3 weapon tournament.  The first precident was the fact that Byrd has never hosted a fencing event before, let alone a fencing event in which they had students.  Secondly, the event was one of the most highly ranked in our region, boasting not one, not two, but three A2 events.

And then the other stats:

Fencers represented Louisiana (Shreveport, Lafayette, Baton Rouge, New Orleans), Texas (Houston, Dallas, Rockwall), Ocean Springs, Mississippi, Fayetteville, Arkansas & New York City.  These and others of the 58 fencers represented 19 clubs.

Among the officials:

Scott Harkey (Shreveport) – First Level 1 (highest) armorer (one who maintains equipment ),   chosen for USA Teams (international) 7 times  for World Cups and World Championships

Gary Spruill (Ft. Worth) – chosen for USA Team for 3 international competitions

Amgad Badawi (Egypt) – highly rated referee, regularly chosen for world competitions

Robby Carillo (California) – highly rated referee, highly sought after for national competitions

Justin Meehan  (Shreveport) – highly rated referee, regularly chosen for national competitions and recently qualifying for his international rating, recently won the national Vet Sabre Team event In Reno.

Patrick Reardon  (Boston, MA) – highly rated referee, regularly chosen for national competitions

Brian Day (Shreveport) – multiple Louisiana State High School Champion, regularly chosen to referee regional & national competitions

Ryan Estep (Jackson, MS) – Just this month, Ryan topped his Pan American victories with a gold medal in Brazil – making him an immediate qualifier for London 2012.  Our first home grown Olympian!

Terry Harkey (Shreveport) – Has served many years as national bout committee staff and has won a national medal in Veteran Women’s Epee

Notable Partipants:

LongDa Yin – graduated from Cornell University in 2007 where he fenced NCAA and now fences interntionally.

Christofer  Ahn – only 16 and is the current Junior Olympic Sabre Champion of the USA, with a national standing that allows him to fence internationally

Matt Zich – many time gold medal Sabre Champion, 2 time Junior Olympic Champion and Div 1 champion 2003 and has fenced on the Cadet, Junior and Senior USA World Teams.

Erica Zhao – Last December, at only 15 years of age, Erica won the women’s Cadet event in Germany, then followed it up with a silver in the junior event at the January North American Cup.

Vitaliy Boksiner – originally from the Ukraine, during the 80’s he won or placed in the top 3 in many national and international competitions and several times was selected as a member of the Ukraine Republican Team.  He is a Master of Sport USSR and has coached for many years. 

It is highly appropriate that this distinguished group gathered in a school named for a man who surely had fencing experience in the late 1800's.  C.E. Byrd attended the Augusta Military Academy near Staunton, Virginia, and fencing honoring his legacy is long overdue.