AFA Fencer will travel to Italy for 2008 Junior World Championships
April 1, 2008
USAF Academy, Colo. - Air Force Academy fencer Peter French will travel to Acireale, Italy, to compete in the 2008 Junior World Championships, April 6-14. French earned his spot on the team after winning the men's individual epee silver medal (third) at the Junior World Cup in Basel, Switzerland in January and winning the championship at the 2008 Junior Olympics in February in Charlotte, N.C. The national title earned him the No. 2 spot on the junior world team.
"Making the World Team is a great honor," said French. "I'm glad I was able to meet my hopes and the expectations of my coach and teammates. I worked hard and fenced well this season, so it feels very good to earn this selection to the World Team."
The Junior World Team is the top three under-20 year old fencers in the United States and is chosen by the US Fencing Association to represent the US at the World Championships.
In March, French earned All-America honors at the NCAA Men's and Women's Fencing Championship held in Columbus, Ohio. He finished sixth at the NCAAs. In Italy, French will compete with two other Americans, Jonathan Yergler and James Hawrot.
The Short List: 2008 NCAA All-American in men's epee (sixth) 2008 Western Regional men's epee champion; 2007 all-region (fourth) 2008 Junior Olympics men's epee champion 2007 NCAA participant (14th) Ranked No. 2 in the junior men's epee point standings Finished 3rd in Junior Men's Epee World Cup in Basel, Switzerland Finished 3rd in 2007 Junior Men's Epee North American Cup (NAC) Finished 9th in Junior Men's Epee World Cup in Bratislava, Slovakia Finished fourth in junior men's epee point standings for 2005-06 (first alternate) Finished 6th in 2007 Division I Men's Epee NAC Traveled to Tauberbischofsheim, Germany for the 2006 Junior Men's Epee World Cup (15th) Finished ninth at the 2006 Junior Men's Epee NAC Finished 15th-place finisher in Division I NAC in December 2005 Finished 31st at 2005 Junior Men's Epee World Cup in Laupheim, Germany The fifth-place finisher at the 2005 Junior Men's Epee NAC Third-place finisher at 2005 Summer NationalsQuestion and Answer with French:
Q. Describe the path to worlds.
A. The Junior World Team is the top three under-20 year old fencers in the United States chosen by the US Fencing Association to represent the US at the World Championships. The team selection is based on points earned throughout the season at national and international tournaments.
Q. You had a difficult time at one NAC, why?
A. I have hoped to make a world team since I began fencing at six years old. This is my last year in the junior age group, so I put pressure on myself to make the team this year. At this particular North American Cup, I let this pressure distract my fencing and performed miserably as a result. The selection process is very competitive, and even though I was first before the tournament, I now had a very small chance to make the team.
Q. How did you make it?
A. The next weekend, Jan. 26, I fenced in a World Cup in Basel, Switzerland. I needed an outstanding result to make the team, and I placed third. However, because of my bad result the previous tournament, this great result only moved me to fourth place. The final tournament of the season, the Junior Olympics on Feb. 15, would decide the team for World Championships. I knew it was an important tournament, but I somehow managed to handle the pressure and win the event. This victory moved me into second place in the rankings and secured my World Team spot.
Q. How does it feel?
A. Making the World Team is a great honor. I'm glad I was able to meet my hopes and the expectations of my coach and teammates. I worked hard and fenced well this season, so it feels very good to earn this selection to the World Team.
Q. What is your expectation?
A. Coach has worked with me since I came to the Academy to expect and work towards winning. Even though it is the World Championships, I expect to win. I know I am capable, and if I work hard I can win this tournament.
Q. What is the roll of your Coach and the Air Force team?
A. I owe a tremendous amount of credit to Coach Salem and my teammates. Coach has dedicated a lot of his valuable time training me and traveling with me to tournaments. He spends extra time with me outside of normal practice to give me instruction. I would not have made the team without the skills he has taught me for the past two years. My teammates deserve praise for their hard work ethic at practice. They always challenged me to work harder, and helped me improve this season.
Q. Your brother, Tim, was a four-time World Team member. Are you relieved to have made the team?
A. My brother was a great fencer in high school and while he was at the Academy. His great record of four World Teams was definitely something I hoped to achieve as I grew up. I'm glad I was able to earn the honor and share some of the same experiences he had.
Q. Your brother wants to come back to fencing. Do you think your results have anything to do with this?
A. Fencing is a great sport, and something that cannot be quit easily. When Tim retired after college, I'm sure he missed fencing. Maybe after seeing me have success this season he remembered how much he enjoyed fencing. Whatever his reason, I'm sure he will be as successful as he once was.