Aleksander Ochocki and Nzingha Prescod Win Division I NAC Titles in Milwaukee
(Milwaukee, Wis.) – The decision on whether to continue fencing is one many fencers struggle with, but 2010 Junior World medalist Aleksander Ochocki (Linden, N.J.) decided after graduating from Penn State earlier this year to train full time to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The decision has paid off well for Ochocki who won NCAAs as a freshman saber fencer.
On the heels of his bronze medal win at the November North American Cup in Virginia Beach, Ochocki won gold at the December NAC in Milwaukee on Monday.
Seeded first out of the pools, Ochocki earned a bye into the table of 64 where he earned a 15-6 victory over Rokea Rienzi (New York City, N.Y.)
In the next round, Ochocki met his former Penn State teammate Daniel Bak (Franklin Lakes, N.J.) – a 2008 Junior World Team member.
“Dan didn’t have great pools so he wasn’t seeded well and I hadn’t warmed up much, so it was a tough first bout,” Ochocki said.
Ochocki came away with the win, 15-11, and didn’t give up more than six touches to any opponent until the semifinals where 16-year-old Jonah Shainberg (Rye, N.Y.) put up a fight, but lost the bout to Ochocki, 15-9.
In the gold medal bout, 2002 Cadet World medalist Luther Clement (New York City, N.Y.) made a late comeback, but Ochocki closed out the win, 15-9.
“Luckily I had enough of a cushion with the lead that I could set up some sort of action and finally, after working for the last three touches, I was able to finish it off,” Ochocki said.
The win is Ochocki’s first at a NAC since 2010.
“It just shows that the goals I set for myself I can actually achieve with practice. I made my decision to come back into fencing full on and it shows that the hard work is paying off,” he said.
In January, Ochocki will return to the World Cup circuit for the first time since 2011.
“It’s easier now because I can just focus on fencing. I don’t have to worry about school or college meets or things like that. I don’t have to worry about next weekend. I can focus on the big picture and the next set of World Cups,” Ochocki said of his transition from college fencing to training full time.
London Olympian Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.) has been a fixture on fencing podiums since she qualified for her first senior team as a 16-year-old in 2009, but Monday marked her first gold medal at a NAC since 2010.
Seeded first out of the pools, Prescod drew a pair of veteran fencers in her first two direct elimination bouts.
In the table of 64, Prescod defeated 57-year-old Bonnie Henig (Simsbury, Conn.), 15-5, and followed the bout with a 15-3 victory over 2012 Veteran World Team member Ursula Szpak (Trophy Club, Texas).
Prescod’s table of 16 bout pitted her against Jackie Dubrovich (Riverdale, N.J.) – Prescod’s teammate at both Columbia University and the 2012 Junior World Championships. Prescod took the win, 15-8, and moved on to the quarter-finals where she defeated Niki McKee (Valley Stream, N.Y.), 15-12.
In the semifinals, Notre Dame fencer Madison Zeiss (Notre Dame, Ind.) nearly produced an upset, but Prescod hung on for the 11-10 win.
Fencing for gold, Prescod met Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn.) – another Columbia fencer who won a silver medal in the team event at the 2012 Junior Worlds with Dubrovich and Prescod.
With the score tied at three touches each, Prescod went on a 5-1 run to finish the first period with a 9-4 lead.
In the second period, Prescod expanded her lead to 12-4, but Lu scored three more to close the gap to 12-7.
Prescod scored the next two touches and gave up just two more before winning the bout, 15-9.
In the youngest of the veteran events, Don Davis (Clarksville, Md.) won his first two bouts of the 40-49 men’s foil, by 10-5 and 10-4 margins before winning gold over Kristian Anderson (Lincoln, Neb.) by a 10-2 margin.
Three-time Veteran World Team member Ed Kaihatsu (Skokie, Ill.) won his second NAC title of the year in the men’s 50-59 foil. Seeded second out of the pools, Kaihatsu won his first two DE bouts to advance to the quarter-finals where he defeated two-time Veteran World Team member Philippe Bennett (New York City, N.Y.), 10-2.
After a 10-5 victory over Semion Kiriakidi (Rochester, N.Y.), Kaihatsu defeated Ron Daugherty (St. Louis, Mo.), 10-2, to win gold.
Seven-time Veteran World Team member Thomas Lutton (Cupertino, Calif.) defeated several of his past U.S. teammates en route to winning gold in the 60-69 men’s foil event.
In the quarter-finals, Lutton defeated 2003 Veteran World Champion Joseph Biebel (Bayside, Wis.), 10-8.
Lutton’s semifinal opponent was Joseph Streb (Dublin, Ohio) – a two-time Veteran World medalist in saber who also has represented the United States in foil. Lutton won the bout, 10-5, to advance to the gold medal final where he won his bout over Neal White (Chicago, Ill.), 10-5.
The Veteran men’s +70 foil final featured two past Veteran World medalists who had fenced each other throughout the weekend.
Ray Sexton III (Round Rock, Texas) has won eight medals at the Veteran Worlds and was entering the +70 event for the first time since aging out of 60-69 this fall.
Seventy-three-year-old Jim Adams (Rockville, Md.) has won six medals of his own, including a bronze in the +70 foil event at the 2012 Veteran Worlds in October.
Sexton won both of their previous bouts of the weekend in the gold medal final of the +70 saber on Friday and the quarter-finals of the +70 epee event on Sunday.
Adams avenged the previous two losses on Monday, however, when he gave up just one touch to Sexton to take the win, 10-1, in the first period.
Canadian Brendan Kilburn (CAN) won gold in the Division II men’s epee competition after a 15-10 defeat of Gus Grosenbaugh (Falmouth, Mass.) in the final bout.
In the final competition of the weekend, 15-year-old Kathryn Khaw (Plainsboro, N.J.) won her first NAC medal when she earned the Division II saber gold after a 15-7 victory over former foil fencer Amy Rowan Sach (Arlington, Mass.)
Visit www.usfencingresults.com for complete results.
Top eight results are as follows:
Division I Men’s Saber
1. Aleksander Ochocki (Linden, N.J.)
2. Luther Clement (New York City, N.Y.)
3. Thomas Kolasa (Princeton, N.J.)
3. Jonah Shainberg (Rye, N.Y.)
5. Ben Igoe (Staten Island, N.Y.)
6. Jeff Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.)
7. Adrian Bak (Franklin Lakes, N.J.)
8. Peter Souders (Silver Spring, Md.)
Division I Women’s Foil
1. Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
2. Margaret Lu (Greewich, Conn.)
3. Olivia Dobbs (Farmington, Mich.)
3. Madison Zeiss (Notre Dame, Ind.)
5. Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.)
6. Niki McKee (Valley Stream, N.Y.)
7. Sara Taffel (New York City, N.Y.)
8. Ashley Tsue (Overland Park, Kans.)
Veteran Men’s 40-49 Foil
1. Don Davis (Clarksville, Md.)
2. Kristian Anderson (Lincoln, Neb.)
3. Rolando Balboa (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
3. Iain Valentine (Seattle, Wash.)
5. Richard Weiss (Burke, Va.)
6. Juan Ignacio Calderon (San Diego, Calif.)
7. Phillip Karnezis (Chicago, Ill.)
8. Kanstantsin Sianiutsin (BLR)
Veteran Men’s 50-59 Foil
1. Ed Kaihatsu (Skokie, Ill.)
2. Ron Daugherty (St. Louis, Mo.)
3. Semion Kiriakidi (Rochester, N.Y.)
3. Sam Jones (Round Rock, Texas)
5. Chris Hagen (Brooklyn Center, Minn.)
6. Jamie Douraghy (Los Angeles Calif.)
7. Philippe Bennett (New York City, N.Y.)
8. Paul Epply-Schmidt (Princeton, N.J.)
Veteran Men’s 60-69 Foil
1. Thomas Lutton (Cupertino, Calif.)
2. Neal White (Chicago, Ill.)
3. Joseph Streb (Dublin, Ohio)
3. Heik Hambarzumian (Anaheim, Calif.)
5. Joseph Biebel (Bayside, Wis.)
6. Jan Patterson (Seattle, Wash.)
7. Bruce Milligan (Savage, Md.)
8. Brian Harper (Gainesville, Fla.)
Veteran Men’s +70 Foil
1. Jim Adams (Rockville, Md.)
2. Ray Sexton III (Round Rock, Texas)
3. Marcel Miernik (Irvington, N.Y.)
3. Davis Carvey (Seattle, Wash.)
5. Earl Shapiro (Stone Mountain, Ga.)
6. Fritz Chang (Lexington, Mass.)
7. Lucas Dobrzanski (Bakersfield, Calif.)
8. Ed Sady (Fairfax, Va.)
Division II Women’s Saber
1. Kathryn Khaw (Plainsboro, N.J.)
2. Amy Rowan Sach (Arlington, Mass.)
3. Jacqueline Leval (Washington, D.C.)
3. Alicja Tomaszewski (Morris Plains, N.J.)
5. Francesca Fedorovsky (San Clemente, Calif.)
6. Eva Heinrich (Denver, Colo.)
7. Caitlin Malone (St. Louis, Mo.)
8. Jody Ambalong (Sacramento, Calif.)
Division II Men’s Epee
1. Brendan Kilburn (CAN)
2. Gus Grosenbaugh (Falmouth, Mass.)
3. Zachary Moore (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
3. Ambrose Lee (CAN)
5. Khai Fujita (Garden Grove, Calif.)
6. Joe Taylor (Chicago, Ill.)
7. Jonathan Alperstein (Fishkill, N.Y.)
8. Dalton Boatright (U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo.)