This weekend, Long Island is the center of the fencing world.
Athletes from 11 countries converged at Mission Fencing Center in Rocky Point for the Division I Foil North American Cup, the first NAC to take place on Long Island.
The women’s competition was won by Sabrina Massialas of Northern California Saturday, and the men will compete on Sunday.
“I see an Olympian fencing a world champion. I see a woman from Singapore fencing a girl from Taipei, all here in Rocky Point,” said Jeff Salmon, who runs Mission Fencing with his wife, Jennifer. “I have an enormous amount of pride in what myself and my staff were able to achieve. My staff is unbelievable, and there’s no chance any of this comes together without them.”
The competition was also the first NAC to take place at a local club, Salmon said, as these events are usually held in larger convention centers.
Two local fencers competed on Saturday. Morgan Lee (Hewlett) reached the Round of 16, while Zoe Superville (Woodmere) came in 49th, out of a field of 108.
Sunday’s field features 20 fencers from Long Island, including five seeded in the top 20: Columbia’s Sam Moelis (Lynbrook), NYU’s Daniel Sconzo (Calhoun), Sacred Heart University graduate Stuart Holmes (Centereach), Andrew Machovec (East Rockaway) and Andrew Zheng (Jericho).
“It’s cool to know that all of the fencers I’ve grown with will be back at this tournament in our backyard,” said Stephen Jackson, a freshman at Penn State and Ward Melville graduate, who will also be competing Sunday. “It’s a landmark in fencing history.”
Salmon also said that it was exciting to see local fencers returning, and said having a prestigious tournament locally would help grow the sport.
“Having it here helps get the word out here that fencing is an incredible sport. It’s an incredible opportunity to learn about hard work and have fun, but also maybe have an opportunity for college recruitment,” Salmon said.
“There’s quite a lot of good things going on here. Long Island has some pretty good talent,” United States men’s national team coach Greg Massialas said. He added that the quality of the area’s high school programs is something that stands out, something Bob Bodor of the United States Fencing Association echoed.
“One of the benefits of fencing on Long Island is you have a very viable high school contingency,” Bodor said. “There is a culture here, a lot of energy and a lot of commitment to the sport here and it’s very exciting.”