Trail blazes through Richmond

From February 13-16, Marleena Trail, a Heritage student, traveled to Richmond, Virginia to compete in the annual Junior Olympic Fencing Championships.

Over the course of the four-day tournament, Trail, who represented her fencing club, the Fencing Academy of Denver, competed in two events out of a total of 287 fencers.

“I love to travel and I’ve never been to Virginia, so this was a great excuse to go. Also, fencing in the Junior Olympics is a huge honor, and the experience is a reward in itself,” says Trail.

Trail and coach Mr. Tom Strzalkowski prepare for an upcoming fencing bout. (Photo courtesy of Marleena Trail.)

Trail and her coach, Mr. Tom Strzalkowski, prepare for an upcoming fencing bout. (Photo courtesy of Marleena Trail.)

Trail’s events included talent from around the country and were separated into a Cadet division (at or under 16 years old) and a Junior division (at or under 19 years old). In addition to the fencers, coaches from around the world attended the tournament, adding an element of diversity and experience that made the tournament worthwhile for Trail.

“I am so proud of her! I know how hard she works and how much she loves fencing. It was really awesome seeing her reach one of her goals,” says Alicia Sather ’16.

Outside of competing, the tournament offered Trail the opportunity to bond with her nine other FAD teammates who also participated in the championships. Support is a significant part of fencing, and although Trail was fencing alone on the fencing strip, her teammates, coaches, parents and friends were all on the sidelines cheering her on.

“When you haul 10 fencers across the country to compete the camaraderie is intense. We go to each other’s events and support one another. Team dinners are the best, too, because that’s when we get to know each other in normal circumstances,” says Trail.

After all was said and done, Trail took away the new experience and knowledge she gained from her time in Richmond.

“This year I was really shown how much improvement I’ve made since last year. Last year I competed in two events, lost all but one pool and didn’t make it to DE’s [direct elimination]. This year i made it to DE’s in both events…It’s an encouraging thought,” says Trail.

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