Six East Cooper fencers qualify for Junior Olympics

Image by Reggie and Judy Fairchild Emily Fairchild fences Allison Beach in the U17 Foil Division.

Six teenagers from the East of the Cooper Fencing Club qualified for the Junior Olympics on Saturday, December 19.  The fencing tournament was held at The Daniel Island School.

Fencers from all over South Carolina competed in Epee, Foil and Saber for the U17 (called Cadet in fencing circles) and U20 (called Junior) age groups.  Three people advanced to the Nationals for each age group and weapon type.

Local stand out Allison Beach won both the Foil and Epee competitions for the U17 age group.  She also advanced to the Nationals in the U20 age group.

Nick Sotile was the top Charleston-area finisher in U17 Epee.  He took the silver medal.

Thad Schmenk, the founder and coach, of East of the Cooper Fencing couldn't have been prouder.  The hard work these teens have put in over the past 4 years, practicing weekly at the Darby Building, has really paid off.

The qualifiers now have the opportunity to compete for the National Championship, which will be held February 12-15, 2010 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Pictures of the event and a complete list of the Charleston-area qualifiers is available on the club's website at