Junior ranks in top 8 in nation under 17

By Julius Pak

Emma Peterson ’11 is at the top of the fencing world.

Having achieved the highest rank of A09, Peterson has competed in Épée, one of the three fencing styles, for four years at national and international levels.

One of the top eight fencers in women’s cadet, Peterson’s category, which encompasses all female fencers age 16 and under, Peterson must constantly practice to stay on top.

She practices around eighteen hours a week at the Los Angeles International Fencing Center in West Los Angeles, the largest fencing club in California, with her coach, Gago Demirchian, the National Épée Champion of Armenia, and an assistant coach on the US Fencing Team.

Peterson came in third at the LAIFC Invitational in early September. She also won the bronze medal at the last summer nationals, and took the gold medal the summer before.

“I love fencing because it is just as much intellectual as it is physical. You really have to plan your actions based on how your opponent is fencing,” Peterson said.

Peterson had the option to study abroad in Italy for her junior year, but had to turn it down at the last minute because of her obligations in fencing.

“The decision to stay home rather than studying a year in Italy was without a doubt the hardest decision that I have had to make in my life so far,” Peterson said.

“Essentially, if I went to Italy, I would have to take a year off fencing,” she said. “But both my parents and I have invested so much time and effort into fencing that skipping a year just wasn’t an option.”

“Initially, it seemed like I would be able to compete in Italy…but it became clear that I would not be able to fence at all in Italy, and I had to cancel. I don’t know if it was worth it, but I sure hope so,” Peterson said.

Peterson will be competing in Germany for the last week in November, and then competing in France the following week.