Cove, Heights students compete in fencing tournament
By PAMELA GRANT
Harker Heights and Copperas Cove fencing students came together on Saturday for a Summer of Swords tournament to show off their fencing skills.
The tournament began at 9 a.m. in the Harker Heights Recreation Center. Students from both classes competed in three Olympic style weapons, foil, epee, and saber. They also had a Florentine category which is a medieval style of fencing which uses two weapons. Nationally certified fencing director, Michael Cravey, officiated the tournament.
The tournament was for competitors ages 7 and up with divisions for those 12 and under and those 13 and older. Each competitor fought every other participant in their group with the overall winner being the won who had the most victories.
“I loved it,” said Leo Gamboa (14) a member of the Harker Heights fencing club. “It’s like how people love roller coasters. It’s the adrenaline rush. This gives me that.”
Jo Tye, the coach for the swordplay recreational fencing clubs for both Harker Heights and Copperas Cove, said that fencing is a lot like mental chess.
“There’s a lot of strategy to it. They have to learn to think fast,” said Tye. “Kids that are really good at math are really good at fencing.”
Michael Nau’s sons, Sebastian Nau (14) and Benjamin Nau (11), competed on Saturday, with each taking home a few first places. Nau said he was glad that Tye could bring both fencing clubs together. He thought it was good for his sons to get a feel for how official fencing matches are refereed. Nau thinks fencing has been good for his sons and teaches things like camaraderie and good sportsmanship.
“I like the respect in it. It’s great,” said Benjamin Nau. “I like the new people. It’s surprising how skilled the other fencers are.”
Copperas Cove students held their own, considering Cove’s fencing program only began in May.
Grace Walker, whose kids are members of the Copperas Cove fencing club, had three children who competed on Saturday, Samantha Hardy (9), Annette Walker (12), and Ethan Walker (15)
“They all love this. They get a really good workout out of it…I use it across the board for my homeschooling,” said Walker. “I think anybody can enjoy this. My girls enjoy it a lot. They love fencing, they really do.”
Ben Nau won the foil 12 and under category, while his brother, Sebastian Nau took first in the foil 13 and older category. Ben Nau also won the saber 12 and under category, and Sebastian Nau also won the saber 13 and older category. The winner of the epee category, which was open to all ages, was Leo Gamboa. The winner of the Florentine style competition was Sebastian Nau.
Tye’s Harker Heights fencing group meets in the Harker Heights Recreational Center Thursdays from 5 p.m. until 6 p.m. Her Copperas Cove fencing group meets on Mondays from 6 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Copperas Cove Civic Center. Tye provides all necessary equipment to her students, though students can purchase their own gear.