United States Fencing Association's National Championships, at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah - July 1-10, 2017.
Our heroes at the start of the day's competition. You might notice that the two lads in the right, Alexander Pivovarov and Anton Zakharikov are wearing Russian garb: they are, indeed, members of the Russian National Senior Men's Foil Fencing Team. They are Russian citizens. In fairness, the lad on the far left is David Hadler, an American with dual citizenship who also fences for team Taipei (to be complete, the lad, 2nd from left, is my son Zack Hammer). While Alexander (Sascha) is new to the San Francisco Fencers Club (SFFC) team, Zack has fenced nearly daily with David for the last 8 years and Anton's been regularly part of our team for the last four years (he helps coach the young ones, too). Eligibility to compete in the USFA's Summer Nationals is based on the location of the club in which you fence (and earn USFA points from) You'll note other countries' acronyms printed on the backs of competitors' lames in this series (and other pics at previous US Nats I've posted previously).
David (R) faces off with Brandon Smith (L) from the Park City Pokers (Park City, UT) in the opening bout of the tournament. That trident on David's mask indicates he's using the mask he fences with for his college: UCSD.
...and David (R) lands a lovely little flick on Brandon Smith's (L) shoulder. That, boys and girls, its what a well executed flick looks like.
I posted this just because I love the acrobatics of a good defensive maneuver (thank you for the education, Aidan Chu), and here Zack (R) evades the attack of the Park City Pokers' Cole Farquharson (L)
I have a ton of photos like this where Sascha (R - Alexander Povarov) displays what appears to be an effortless touche on the Park City Pokers' Michael Guenigault (L). The truth is, like most great athletes, Sascha makes hard work look easy....and graceful.
Doh! Michael Guenigault (L) defends the inside line only to have David (R) disengage and land a touche on this flank.
Sascha (R) flips his blade up from below to land a touche.
This picture I post to indulge myself. Here is Zack, before he faces his next opponent at the National Championships, sporting a mischevious grin reminiscent of the kind he sported when just a wee lad. Its sort of unnerving when you're the opponent to see that lack of anxiety...
David (R) trys to relax between bouts, but Sascha (L) catches me with my camera up (don't worry, David, I won't post the picture of you sleeping and drooling) and opts to poke David back to reality..
Team Puerto Rico's Jonathan Lugo feels that embarrassing tap on the back that tells him that Anton(R) has successfully landed a lovely flick for a touche.
Not to be outdone, David (R) shares the joy with Team Puerto Rico's Cesar Colon (L).
Anton (R) gets low for an attack on Cesare Colon (L), and Colon gets airborn.
Going low doesn't serve Jonathan Lugo (L) very well against Sascha (R)
Sascha goes airborn over Marx Fencing Academy (Boston, MA)'s Duncan Rheingans-Yoo (R).
David (L) commences an attack on Marx's Brian Wang (R)
This time, its Sascha's (L) turn to land a touche on Wang.
** A plastron is an article of clothing (Kevlar weaved into fabric as armor) to provide protection under one's arm for *exactly* this situation
Having defeated a very strong team from Marx, our heroes got to face our club's other team (SFFC #2) - in the semi-finals. SFFC #2 had just beaten the formidable team from Mission (Long Island, NY). Here, Sascha (L) lands a touch on countryman (and our Summer house guest) Ivan Troshin (who is ~6'6" tall).
Have I mentioned before that it just sucks fencing against your own clubmates at the National Championships? Here, David (L) land a touche on the notoriously illusive Aidan Chu.
Anton (L) gets a bit balletic with the pragmatically no frills, but effective Leo Zaroff (R).
Oh, wait...perhaps I stand corrected. It may only be an inch off the floor, but Leo (R) is airborne as he and Anton (L) demonstrate a corps a corps (bodies crashing into each other...not good when you get called for it).
Anton (L) shows that he, too, can land a touch on the giant from St. Petersburg, Ivan Troshin.
David (L) gets a little elevation to look Leo Zaroff (R) in the eye.
Having defeated our club's other team, we got to face the vaunted Fencer's Club (the famed club in Manhatten whose foil team recently was bolstered by the absorption of the amazing Empire United club). Here Sascha (L) opens the bout with a touch on Adam Mathieu (R).
David (L) faces one of my favorite non-SFFC fencers, the redoubtable Nolen Scruggs (R).
David (L) scores the winning point against Adam Matthieu. The one that got them the gold medal. The one they've been chasing for several years!!!
The four gentleman on the left are the team from the Los Angeles International Fencing Club (Silver). On the right, the team from The Fencer's Club (Bronze - NY,NY). And in the middle, our heroes - the San Francisco Fencer's Club, who earned GOLD!!! — with Anton Zakharikov, Alexander Pivovarov, David Hadler and Zack Hammer.
Anton, David, Zack and Sascha flanked by coaches Олексій Фортунатов and Nadiya Fortunatova. GOLD!