Friday, April 18, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Local fencers make US team

Chaz & Ted Smith National Team 2013

BULGARIA BOUND — Chaz and Ted Smith will represent US on the 2013 Veterans World Championship Team this October in Bulgaria. Courtesy photo

DIAMOND SPRINGS — Chaz Smith and Ted Smith of the Hangtown Saber Club in Diamond Springs were named by USA Fencing to the 2013 Veterans World Championship Team representing the US in Bulgaria this coming October.

Both fencers recently returned from competing at the US National Championships in Columbus, OH, where Chaz won the silver in Veteran-50 women’s saber and Ted the bronze in Veteran-60 men’s saber.

The US Nationals is one of three qualifying events (best two results) to be named to the US national team. Chaz qualified based on her silver-medal winning performance at the December NAC followed by winning the gold at the March NAC. For her, Nationals was an important preparation for her second Worlds (she was the 2012 Veteran Worlds silver medalist in Krems, Austria) as well as an opportunity to repeat as national champion.

As the top-ranked fencer in her age group nationally, Chaz was the No.1 seed in the Veteran-50 event.

“I kind of breezed through my pool — I only had two touches scored against me — and I think it actually worked against me,” Chaz said. “I came out for the direct elimination portion of the tournament without the proper mental focus. I won the matches I needed to win but they were way closer than they should have been.”

While Chaz made her second consecutive national championship final, this time she fell short and settled for the silver, losing 10-5 to Lydia Mazarol of southern California. She and Mazarol will share the number 1 seeding on the American team going to Veteran Worlds.

With a bronze medal from the Veteran-60 event at the March NAC, Ted had to finish no lower than third at Nationals to make the national team for the third time. (Ted competed at the Veteran World Championships in Limoge, France in 2008 and Porec, Croatia in 2011.)

After fencing strongly in his pool and a comfortable first round victory, he avenged his only loss in the pool by defeating Keith Baker 10-6 in the quarterfinals. He headed into his semi-final with confidence.

“My semi-final bout was against someone I’d beaten in my pool, and I had a game plan I felt would work,” Ted said. His opponent, David Seuss, has an unorthodox style that caused Ted problems, and Seuss squeaked out the 10-9 win. (Seuss went on to take the gold.)

“I was disappointed that I let a winnable bout get away from me, but satisfied at least that I had made the team by finishing third. Then, I heard the announcement,” Ted said.

Over the  PA system, he learned that he was one of two Veteran-60 fencers with two third place finishes over the course of the season. They would have to fence off for the fourth and final slot on the national team.

“Ted had already taken off his gear and was packing up his things when he learned he had to fence another bout,” Chaz said. “He had to make a pretty big mental adjustment to prepare for the fence off.”

Ted fenced a strategically smart bout, using shifts in tempo to throw off his opponent, and this time was on the winning side of a 10-9 final score.

“It felt great to end the championships on a winning note,” Ted said.

Special to the Democrat

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