Morning Star Staff
Fencers from around the Okanagan and Lower Mainland gathered in Vernon to compete for the title of Champion of the Jeux de Pomme.
This épée event was hosted by the Vernon School District’s fencing team, and saw 106 entries in various categories.
Both local coaches showed their talents with Matt Clarke of the Okanagan Freestyle Fencing Club, which fences in Vernon, Lake Country, and Kelowna (www.okanaganfreestylefencing.com), winning the Open Men’s category, and Brendan Robertson of the Vernon School District fencing team (www.bit.ly/sd22fencing) winning the Veteran Open.
Chris Dlouhy of Kal Secondary missed the podium by one spot in both the Junior Men’s Epee and the Open Men’s Epee. Current international student Jorge Arias of Mexico, who is attending W.L. Seaton, along with teammate Andrew Schmidt, made the top-10.
In the Y10 mixed gender event, James (Indiana) Richardson lost to Marcus Coetzee of Kelowna in the finals.
Richardson’s classmate from Beairsto, Logan Stewart, and his twin sister Claire (Gunsmoke), claimed the bronze medals.
Claire Richardson also captured gold for Girls Y10 with Elise Kinghorn claiming the silver.
One of the most exciting events was the Y12 mixed épée event. This event had 24 athletes vying for supremacy.
The day was won by Jake Bennett (Lake Country), who defeated Casni Govender (Kelowna) with Adam Sexton of Okanagan Landing Elementary and Brennan King of Beairsto sharing the bronze.
King narrowly defeated teammate Chris Vermeulen by one point in sudden death overtime, finishing the most exciting bout of the day to gain a berth into the finals.
Vermeulen did have reason to smile earlier in the day in that he fenced the tournament of his life in the age category above his (Y14) to capture bronze, losing to Noah Melhado of West Vancouver in the semi-finals.
Both fencing teams are currently training hard for the provincial championships to be held in Richmond next month.
The school district team is available only to district students from Grades 4 to 12.
Okanagan Freestyle Fencing is open to the general public.
“Fencing is an amazing sport for all ages,” said Robertson. “It works the body and mind and is not a hard impact sport.”