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franklin county times

Shoppers exposed to battle of foils

By By Tony Krausz/assistant sports editor
June 8, 2003
Fencing proved to be a mall attraction that few shoppers could pass up on Saturday.
The competition, modeled after what was historically training for duels with swords, was one of five events that unofficially kicked off the State Games of Mississippi this weekend. And when it came to entertainment, the event didn't disappoint.
As fencers, who were 19 years old and younger, dueled on the concourse floor between J.C. Penny, Goody's and McRae's at the Bonita Lakes Mall, shoppers would stop and view the seldom-seen event between hunting for bargains.
Most weekend shoppers would view the exotic sport for about five-to-10 minutes before returning to window shopping.
While most casual spectators admitted to not knowing anything about the competition, they were intrigued by what they saw.
Those who stuck around the roped-off area housing the three 46-feet long and six-feet wide fencing strips saw Chris Jones of Clinton win his first fencing tournament in the Youth 12 Foil competition, which had seven participants.
The rookie fencer defeated Miranda Montgomery of Ocean Springs for the gold. Montgomery won the silver, and Lan McNain of Laurel and Andy Paul of Clinton shared bronze medal honors.
The State Games event was the first tournament Jones had ever entered.
The competition was not just the first time Jones' competed in a tournament, it was also the first time his father, Don, saw his son in action decked out in the full white body suit that is traditionally worn by fencers.
The father was all smiles as his son accepted his gold medal.
The sword play action began to heat up even more as the older competitors took the mall floor.
Robert Spanial of Clinton and Bryant Hawkins of Hattiesburg battled to a tight finish in the Youth 14 Foil event, which had nine competitors.
The two swashbucklers were knotted at 14 in the final bout of the age bracket, before Spanial scored the winning touch, after being down 14-11 at one point in the bout.
Championship bouts for the Youth 14 and Junior events were won by scoring 15 hits first or whoever had the most points by the end of the nine-minute time limit.
Hawkins won the silver, and Andrew Morgan of Laurel and Joel Saldo of Hattiesburg shared the bronze.
In the Junior Foil event, for fencers 19 years old and younger, the action remained tight to the final bout. The last competition of the day had six participants.
Morgan and Hawkins remained within one point of each other throughout their bout, until the score became knotted at 10.
Morgan followed the tie score by earning three consecutive points on his way to winning the gold in the Junior event 15-11. Hawkins took the silver, and Spanial and Will Morgan of Laurel shared the bronze.
The day of fencing, which continues today with the adult competitors, started with three fencers in the Youth 10 Foil bracket meeting in the center strip.
Andrew Wiggins of Laurel won the 10-and-under bouts picking up wins in both of his matches to take the gold.
Charlie Burandt of Oxford took silver going 1-1, and Dylan Reithel of Oxford won the bronze medal.
Fencing wraps up its weekend competition starting at 10 a.m. today with the Open Epee competition.