Salem native Isabel Ford (right) will return to her home state to fence at the Junior Olympics in Portland.
Oregon Convention Center
(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – While Team USA’s winter athletes take to the ice and snow in Sochi, more than 1,500 fencers ages 20 and under will compete at the Junior Olympic Championships in Portland, Ore. from Feb. 14-17.
The four-day event will include men’s and women’s cadet (U17) and junior (U20) events in all three weapons (epee, foil and saber) and will include up-and-coming fencers as well as 2016 Olympic hopefuls.
Competition will take place at the Oregon Convention Center, 77 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The action begins at 8 a.m. and concludes at approximately 8 p.m. daily. All events are free and open to the public.
For the first time ever, USA Fencing also is welcoming Tesla Motors to the Junior Olympic Championships. Tesla will display the Model S near the finals stage from Friday through Sunday and will offer test drives and information during the tournament.
“With all the agility and innovation that goes into fencing success, we are pleased to welcome and share with our fencing athletes, their families and the Portland community, one of the world’s most agile and innovative vehicles – the Tesla Model S,” said USA Fencing Executive Director Kris Ekeren (Littleton, Colo.)
The Junior Olympics will serve as the final selection tournament for nearly all of the athletes that will compete at the Junior and Cadet World Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria in April.
Among the athletes contending for positions on the 2014 Junior and Cadet World Team are the following athletes who won medals at the 2013 Junior and Cadet Worlds:
The home of the 2011 USA Fencing National Championships as well as the 2012 January North American Cup, Portland has a strong fencing community that has been the training ground of Olympians and World Champions, including two-time Olympic Champion Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.); two-time Olympic medalist Becca Ward (Portland, Ore.); and Olympians Seth Kelsey (Brush Prairie, Wash.) and Cody Mattern (Beaverton, Ore.) who won the 2012 World Team Championship title together.
More than 60 athletes from throughout Oregon are scheduled to compete at the Junior Olympic Fencing Championships.
Sixteen-year-old Tara Hassett (Beaverton, Ore.) and 14-year-old Mary Barnett (Lake Oswego, Ore.) are both contenders for the Cadet Women’s Saber Team. Ranked fourth and fifth in the nation, respectively, the two train with Zagunis at the Oregon Fencing Alliance and a top finish could give either fencer a berth on her first Cadet World Team.
Hassett and Barnett could be challenged in both the junior and cadet competitions by their cross-town rival 17-year-old Madeline Curzon (Wilsonville, Ore.), the PDX Fencing athlete who took bronze in the junior event at the 2013 Junior Olympics.
A product of Northwest Fencing Center in Beaverton, 19-year-old Isabel Ford (Salem, Ore.) is a sophomore at Princeton where she won an NCAA team title in 2013. The epee fencer earned a career-high result last April when she won silver at the USA Fencing Division I National Championships and will be a top contender for gold this weekend as she returns to her home state to fence in her final junior competition.
The competition schedule is as follows with all times listed as approximate start times:
Friday, Feb. 14
Junior Men’s Epee
Cadet Women’s Saber
Junior Women’s Foil
Junior Team Men’s Saber
Saturday, Feb. 15
Junior Women’s Epee
Junior Men’s Saber
Junior Team Women’s Foil
Junior Team Men’s Epee
Cadet Men’s Foil
Sunday, Feb. 16
Cadet Men’s Epee
Junior Women’s Saber
Junior Team Men’s Foil
Cadet Women’s Foil
Junior Team Women’s Epee
Monday, Feb. 17
Cadet Women’s Epee
Junior Men’s Foil
Junior Team Women’s Saber
Cadet Men’s Saber