Danny Solomon is taking his fencing talents to the world stage.
After earning a spot on the United States Under-17 national team last year, the Ward Melville junior has reached new heights this year, including a Cadet World Cup victory in the fall and a Junior Olympic title in February. His results during the campaign earned him a spot on the national team again for April’s Cadet and Junior World Championships in Bulgaria.
“Last year, I had a top three finish, but this year I definitely started the year strong,” said Solomon, who is ranked third in the country among sabre fencers in the cadet (under-17) age group. He also ranks 11th in the junior (under-20) classification.
His victory at the Cadet World Cup in Poland last September helped improve his standing, and Solomon called it the biggest win of his life.
“The entire day, I was fencing amazing,” he said of his performance at the tournament, which featured 167 fencers from 16 countries. “No one got double-digit touches on me the entire day going into the semifinals.”
“This was his best result,” said Jeff Salmon, who coaches Solomon at Mission Fencing Center in Rocky Point. “He fenced to his potential and fenced very strong. He should be proud of himself.”
Solomon also fenced for Salmon last season and won a Suffolk championship in sabre, but decided not to fence for Ward Melville this season because of the demanding schedule of the national and world circuits.
In the semifinals, he beat fellow American Mitchell Saron of New Jersey, who had defeated Solomon in all six of their previous bouts. “I had a bad record against him, but I stayed focused,” Solomon said. “When I got to the final, I had blood in my teeth. I was ready to win.”
His opponent in the final was another American, Christopher Walker of Georgia, which set up another tense bout. “In international tournaments, when Americans fence an American, U.S. people can’t cheer,” Solomon said.
He said the quiet was unsettling “until I started, but after that, I was just set to go, go, go, go.”
Solomon broke the silence with a 15-7 win to capture the title. “It was good to hear after everyone clapping and that everyone was happy for me,” he said. “It was an awesome feeling.”
Since then, Solomon has earned a trio of top three finishes at North American Cup events.
At the Junior Olympics in Kansas City, he secured his spot on the Cadet national team. He finished ninth in the Under-20 competition, before winning the Under-17 title.
His path to the Junior Olympic title was a daunting one, and included victories over Saron and Walker, who was the top-rated fencer in the age group.
“He has really been able to focus and turn this into a love of his life,” Salmon said. “And one of the best things about Danny is that he continues to listen and trust his coaches while staying independently strong.”
Said Solomon: “It’s cool to see a journey, starting from when I was maybe four or five years old all the way up to now, see the progression and finally get to fencing at the top level.”