Tags Posts tagged with "North American Cup"

North American Cup

by -
0 1723
Ward Melville high school boys’ fencing coach Jeff Salmon with his saberist Solomon after the athlete won the Konin Cadet World Cup in Poland. Photo from Three Village school district

Ward Melville fencer Danny Solomon had to overcome a familiar foe to reach new heights — New Jersey’s Mitchell Saron.

The two faced off on the strip six times prior to the Konin Cadet World Cup in Poland Sept. 25, but Solomon’s record against his opponent was 0-6.

“For the past five or six tournaments we ran into each other — it’s been a major roadblock for me whenever I come up to him,” the saberist said. “I always cracked under pressure, but this time I knew if I stayed calm, that he’d crack this time.”

Danny Solomon reacts after beating Mitchell Saron. Photo from Konin Cadet World Cup
Danny Solomon reacts after beating Mitchell Saron. Photo from Konin Cadet World Cup

Solomon was riding a high that day prior to facing off with is archrival. He tied for first with another American from Colorado at the end of the qualifying round the day before, and cruised past Russian and Polish opponents 15-3, 15-9, 15-8 and 15-3 in the four direct elimination rounds prior to the bout against Saron.

“No one could really touch me,” Solomon said.

He beat Saron 15-13, and finished the day with one final bout, which he won for gold, earning him a No. 1 international ranking in cadet.

“I was ecstatic,” Solomon said of getting past Saron. “I’ve been going to international tournaments for the past three years now and each year I’ve been improving and seeing the older kids doing well. This year, with me being the oldest kid in the category, I wanted to make my mark, and I’ve been training hard for a long time now. It’s good to reap the benefits of my hard work with my victory.”

Solomon has been training with Jeff Salmon of Mission Fencing Center in Rocky Point for five years. Salmon is also his high school fencing coach.

“Danny is an extremely good competitor,” Salmon said. “He takes coaching and direction well. He’s eager to be the best he could be.”

Salmon has worked with plenty of high-ranking fencers, but said he’s never had a gold individual at the world cup level.

“He was extremely focused the whole tournament — from beginning to end,” the coach said of his pupil. “He had his goal in mind and he was doing everything he could to put himself in the best particular place possible, without exception.”

The tournament featured 167 fencers from 16 different countries. Although Solomon has been fencing since sixth grade, he is always seeking to improve. He said intense training went into preparing for the world cup bouts. Salmon said he and his student added several new techniques, and he was happy to see his fencer’s hard work come to fruition.

“You could see the pride,” Salmon said. “He couldn’t wipe the smile off his face, and he deserved it.”

The saberist was happy to have his coach at his side.

Danny Solomon and Mitchell Saron compete on the strip. Photo from Konin Cadet World Cup
Danny Solomon and Mitchell Saron compete on the strip. Photo from Konin Cadet World Cup

“He’s really helped me grow, not just as an athlete, but as a person,” he said. “Knowing that he’s experienced and had other people in these types of situations is really comforting.”

Solomon competed in the North American Cup in Detroit this past weekend, and did not have the same success, but finished ninth in cadet, which encompasses all fencers under 17, and ninth in Division I, which is an open category.

“I was hoping to finish close to the top in cadet, but Mitchell edged me out,” Solomon said. “But I’ll learn from it. In the open category, I had blood on my teeth from the day before, so when I got to the Top 16, I was one of the top-seeded people from the qualifying rounds.”

He ended up edging out Saron in Division I that next day.

Solomon is still ranked No. 1 in America, and is third internationally. He said he has enjoyed seeing his progress over the last few years, and is proud to see how the sport has changed him. But for now, he’s just looking forward to the rest of the season.

“When I started fencing I was a short, lanky kid, and now I’ve grown and I’m a tall, lanky kid,” he said, laughing. “But this sport has been amazing to me. It has given me some of my closest friends. It’s opened my horizons to other ways of thinking and showed me that no matter where they come from, no matter what language they speak or how old they are, there’s always a connection between fencers. We love the sport. Now, I’ll just keep training. But this has been a huge confidence booster. ”