Ward Melville athletes Alexa and Demi Antipas traveled with their team to the USA Fencing Summer Nationals in Reno, and each came home with the gold.
In addition to the medals, the victories scored the teens invites to the 2012 Division I National Championship in Virginia Beach next April, an Olympic qualifying event.
For the sisters, who train at in Rocky Point, it’s their first gold medal. After settling for the silver last year, Alexa broke through to win the women’s Division IA Sabre. For Mission Fencing, it’s their first Division IA gold in the eight years that they’ve been competing in nationals.
Alexa Antipas' coach Jeff Salmon says she’s “fierce and brave. She takes significant risks and they often pay off.”
She also took home the bronze medal in the team event, joining with Alexa Rohan and Laura Barger, which matches the highest a Mission team has finished at nationals.
Before making an attempt at the Olympics, Alexa Antipas, who turns 16 today, believes she has to increase her strength. If she can build up more muscle she think be able to move better and make stronger parries against the older competition.
“Because I’m younger, they have more game than me and a lot more experience than me but it’s getting a little bit easier for me," she said. "I have to work a lot harder than I did this year.”
One who may not need to increase her strength is her sister Demi, who took gold in the Division II Foil after an eighth place finish last year. Jennie Salmon says her athlete has a “really strong footwork based game with a powerful attack.”
It took all of that to win as she beat Rebecca Stafford in the gold medal match by a point, 15-14. Demi had to cut through nearly one hundred other fencers to get to the top of the podium.
A surprise that both coaches mentioned was the Antipas’ younger brother, Michael, who took tenth in the Youth 14 Foil event, which had over 220 competitors.
In addition to the bronze medal in the team event, Rohan took sixth place in the Division IA Sabre after being beaten by Alexa Antipas. Teammate Devon Reina won the bronze medal in Division III Foil. Reina missed a shot at the gold medal match by one point, 15-14. Kacy Charpin won the eighth place medal in women’s Division III Sabre.