11 July 2010 – ATLANTA, GA. Royal Arts Fencing Academy of Gahanna, Ohio sent three athletes to the US Fencing Summer National Championships July 4 – 11 and produced outstanding results.
Leah Stevenson, 10, of Bexley, finished in the top ten in women’s épée, one of the three Olympic sport weapons. After recovering from a challenging day of fencing girls two years her senior the previous day, Stevenson accomplished her top ten in the nation performance after having experience in only a handful of smaller events.
Tom Anglim, 10, of Powell, fenced the Y10 and Y12 events in men’s saber. He had only fenced one tournament prior in which he had to withdraw before the elimination round. Anglim’s first appearance on the national stage drew the admiration of all his fellow competitors as he went further and fought harder than most his age.
Royal Arts head coach Julia Richey said, “Both our athletes were amazing. We are expecting to see great things from them as they continue their training and gain experience.” Coach Richey guided Stevenson to her top ten performance. Last year Richey created a division two national foil champion at the same event held in Dallas, Texas.
Coach Tim Mills led Anglim to his strong debut performances as well as coaching Richey as she competed for the first time in women’s saber. “The saber actions and mindset are so different from the foil I grew up with,” said Richey. Richey began saber training with Mills a few months ago. Her event at Summer Nationals was her second event. Richey frustrated all the fencers, most more than half her age, and brought home the bronze.
“Ultimately,” said Mills, “we had the gold in reach but endurance ran out, and she started falling back to foil actions. With a few months to prepare for the next national tournament, we should have no trouble bring home the gold from now on.”
Royal Arts was founded in 2001 by Richey when she discovered there was no outlet in the area for youth fencing to grow and prosper under the direction of a professional coaching staff. She was a Russian National Team member in women’s foil in the 1980s and 1990s before coming to the US. She is also the Chair of the Arnold Fencing Classic, a part of the Arnold Sports Festival. The Festival is the largest multi-sport festival in the world and the Classic one of the top five biggest fencing tournaments in the country outside the national championships.
After creating a national champion at the 2009 Summer Nationals, Richey brought Mills to Ohio to complete the program. Mills had the largest fencing program in Indiana, producing the most national competitors, and was focused on youth. He is also the Director of Operations for the Arnold Fencing Classic.
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Website: http://royalarts.org and http://arnoldfencingclassic.com