Jericho’s Jonathan Sheng is finishing his final season on good terms.
The senior sabrist won his second consecutive county title Saturday at the Nassau individual championships at Great Neck North. His teammate Brian Li won the epee title, and Garden City’s Zach Ortiz took the foil title.
“I just came in today looking to build on what I did last year,” Sheng said. “And finish this year strongly.”
Sheng defeated Hewlett’s Mathias Cho, 15-10, in the final bout, avenging an earlier loss to Cho in pool play.
“I also fenced him last week. He is very fast and he really upped his game today,” Sheng said. “When he beat me in pools, I noticed I was backing up too much. So I started attacking more and it worked out.”
Li defeated Oyster Bay’s Giusseppe Tumminello in an unexpected epee final. The third-seeded Li fenced brilliantly through pool play and coasted through the elimination rounds. It was not how he expected the day to go.
“I didn’t do great this year, but I really felt myself today,” Li said. “I was able to use all my powers when I was attacking.”
In the foil final, Ortiz easily defeated Great Neck South’s Gabe Magidson, 15-4, after winning an intense semifinal bout against Jericho’s Andy Kwon. In the semifinal, the two friends traded points before Ortiz dealt the decisive blow for a 15-12 victory.
“[The atmosphere] was still electric from the semifinal and it transferred to the final,” Ortiz said. “It still hasn’t really registered for me.”
Of Magidson, Ortiz said, “I’ve wanted to face him all season, but both times he got switched to face someone else. Maybe it was an indicator.”
After finishing runner-up in last year’s county final, winning this year was certainly important to Ortiz. But it also was an opportunity for the junior to fence with his friends — without the weight of a team relying on him.
“[The individual championships] are basically just a fence-off with your friends,” Ortiz said. “Yeah [winning] looks great on a transcript, but doing this without thinking, ‘I have to win this match for the team' . . . It’s less formal, and it’s a lot of fun.”