En garde! Leanne Comfort masters fencing
Two and a half years ago, Leanne Comfort of El Dorado Hills, now 14, was looking for a sport she might like to try.
She definitely made a good choice.
Leanne is now the California state champion in Senior Women’s Saber, having won that title at the Pacific Coast Championships at the Marin Civic Center in May. She was pitted against fencers as old as 40 and came out on top.
The fun — and titles — were just starting.
Leanne’s victory qualified her for the USA Fencing Summer Nationals held at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center July 1-10. More than 3,500 athletes competed in the Summer National Championships and July North American Cup.
The largest fencing tournament in the world, the event included more than 6,000 individual entries and served as the final qualifying tournament for the 2011 Veteran World Championships as well as the first qualifying event for the 2011 Junior and Cadet World Championships.
Leanne took third in the Youth 14 Saber division in Reno, a heady experience for someone who has only been fencing a little more than two years. She is now one of the top eight fencers in the nation. She also took first in the Veteran Coaches Award category.
She practices five to six days a week at the Sacramento Fencing Club based in Rancho Cordova.
Other Sacramento Fencing Club members who placed in the top eight in the United States include Karinne Caisse of Shingle Springs, who took second in Women’s Division III Saber, losing her final bout to Malia Hee from Vancouver, Wash.
Drew Dickinson of El Dorado Hills finished fifth in Men’s Division II Saber.
Representing the Hangtown Saber Club, based in Diamond Springs at Lord’s Gym, Chaz Smith was second in the Veteran Women’s 40 division, losing her last match to Liz Enochs of San Francisco.
Fencing coach Ted Smith finished fifth in the Veteran Men’s 50 division and Vernon Thomson of Folsom, who belongs to Hangtown Saber Club, was third in Men’s Division III Saber.
The Hangtown Men’s Senior Team, which won the title in the Pacific Coast Championships, finished fifth in Reno. Members of the team include Thomson, Curtis Andrus and Kyle Smith.