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Bothell teen from Issaquah club is national fencing champion
Bothell High School sophomore Matthew Comes took home the gold medal in the Men’s Division III Epee competition at the USA Fencing National Championships in Ohio.
Comes represented Issaquah’s Washington Fencing Academy and competing in his third national championship, Comes started the day seeded third seed overall out of 125 fencers from around the country. The standard format for the event is a pool round followed by a direct elimination bracket. Comes swept his pool bouts going 6-0, placing as the fourth seed going into the direct elimination round. Fencing at the top of his game, Comes earned a bye in the table of 128 round automatically advancing to the round of 64. From there, he went on to handily beat his first three opponents to advance to the top eight. Facing-off against some of the strongest fencers of the day, he won his next two rounds to reach the National’s finals strip for the first time in his four year fencing career.
In the final round, Comes fought a tough opponent in Andrew Pidhorodeckyj, a fencer from northern Ohio with seven years’ experience. After some initial back-and-forth touches, Comes began opened a bigger point margin, winning the final 15-9.
Comes first began fencing at a summer camp held in conjunction with the Northshore YMCA and Issaquah’s Washington Fencing Academy (WFA). One of the leaders of that camp was his coach, Kevin Mar. Comes has worked hard with coaches Mar and Newell Rice over the past two years to refine and improve his fencing skills and tactics. His hard work, dedication, and hours spent training at the WFA have paid-off this season in higher ranking and more consistent results in local and national competition. He earned national points at the Junior Olympics earlier this year in Portland, Oregon, and now will be competing in four more events this week at the National Championships.
The USA Fencing Summer National Championships is the largest fencing tournament in the world, with nearly 90 events and 8000 fencers taking place over nearly two weeks of competition.
Comes, the son of Bothell’s John and Susan Comes, also maintains a 4.0 grade point average, is an outstanding trumpet player, and strives to one day represent the USA at the Olympic Games.