Strong start boosts UNC fencing's Carlexa Fevry and Wei Chee Chen to successful finishes in Junior Olympic Championships

North Carolina first-year foils Carlexa Fevry and Wei Chee Chen finished 35th and 36th at the Junior Olympic Championships in Kansas City, Missouri, this weekend.

What happened?

UNC originally had at least 12 fencers that qualified for this tournament, but due to the ACC championships starting this upcoming weekend and several fencers needing rest, only three were considering attending — Fevry, Chen and Jackie Litynski. However, Litynski scratched because of a shoulder injury she suffered in the Duke dual meets a week earlier.

The championships started on Friday, but Fevry and Chen didn’t fence until Sunday in the junior women’s foil event.

The long wait seemed to have no effect, and the pair of foils came out on fire.

Each of young fencers went 5-0 in the in the five-touch seeding bouts of round one. Fevry’s performance earned her the 10th seed in the elimination round, and Chen grabbed the 12th seed. Both were given a one-match bye.

Fevry — last week's ACC Fencer of the Week — breezed by her first match with a 15-4 victory, but she was stunned 15-11 in the next matchup.

It was a very similar result for the Tar Heels' other foil. Chen took her first matchup, 15-9, and also fell 11-15 in the round of 64.

Due to their early success and high seeding, Fevry and Chen earned final spots at 35th and 36th, respectively.

Who stood out?

Both of UNC's competitors were propelled to a strong finish because of a dominant performance at the onset of the tournament.

The opponent who defeated Fevry, Nicole Pustilnik, proved to be a stout competitor and finished the day eighth in the field.

When was it decided?

After both Fevry and Chen had stellar starts to their day, they both slipped in their second matchup of the elimination rounds.

Neither was satisfied with this outing, and head coach Ron Miller said he could tell both of his foils were rusty in this competition.

Why does it matter?

The fact that there were only two Tar Heels at this event was not due to a lot of injuries, other than Litynski, who looks like she will be ready for the next competition.

This is very important, since North Carolina has struggled to field a fully healthy squad at important junctures over the last few seasons.

With a young talent that is meshing well with the experienced fencers on the team, injury could be what derails UNC. And with the ACC Championships right around the corner, things are looking up for the Tar Heels.

Where do they play next?

The ACC Championships will take place this Saturday and Sunday at Duke. Both days will start at 8 a.m., with women’s individuals and men’s team competitions on Saturday and men’s individuals and women’s teams on Sunday.


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