116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MOUNT VERNON - Two young men battle, their weapons clashing and stabbing through the air.
Adrian Dale sits on the edge of his seat, watching intently. One of these competitors will be his opponent in the final round of the tournament. He watches them closely to spot their weaknesses.
Dale, a freshman at Mount Vernon High School, has been a student and competitor at the Iowa City Fencing Center for about a year and a half. He specializes in the discipline of foil fencing. He is a member of the Junior Fencing Team and attends practice sessions at the ICFC for at least three hours a week.
'I like the challenge; no matter how good you get there is always going to be someone better than you,” Dale said. 'Fencing is challenging both physically and mentally. It's a great workout and there's also a lot of strategy and planning that goes with it.”
Dale became interested in fencing when a couple of his friends started taking lessons. He took an introductory class with his stepdad.
'I really enjoyed it,” Dale said. 'I didn't have time to really get into it for a while, but then my grandma bought me six weeks of classes for Christmas. After taking a few more classes, I was hooked.”
According to Dale, the goal of fencing is to score points by touching the opponent's torso or neck with the tip of the sword. Fencers wear a suit of protective clothing, including a plastic chest protector and heavy two-layer cloth jacket, a heavy cloth sleeve on their weapon arm and a wire mask.
In electric fencing, which Dale competes in, they wear a special metallic jacket called a lamé, which is connected to a scoring machine. This machine will register a point for your opponent if he or she touches you in the correct area with the tip of their blade. If both contestants score a touch at the same time, the referee decides who had the 'right of way” or who was attacking.
Dale's first tournament was after he had been fencing for only about five months, and it was against adults. He was the youngest competitor there, but he got seventh out of the 14 competing. Since, he has been in four or five more 14U tournaments, usually placing in the top three.
In his most recent tournament on Oct. 9, Dale stepped up to face his opponent and battle for first place. Dale made the first touch, then the second, then his opponent scored a touch as they moved back and forth along the metal track. The first one to score 15 touches will be the champion.
It was a close match, but Dale managed to stay just ahead and won his first gold medal.
'I was really proud that I met my goal of winning a gold medal at a tournament; it felt really good,” Dale said.
He said the fencing year begins in September and this was his first tournament of his last year competing in the 14-and-under.
'It was very exciting to start the year off this way.”
Dale plans to continue fencing in the future.
'One of my goals is to make it to nationals, which is one of the biggest fencing competitions in the U.S.,” he said.
He hopes to fence in college and possibly get a scholarship in fencing. He already si researching schools that have fencing teams.