Madison Zeiss, a 14-year-old 9th grader at Pacific Hills School in West Hollywood, and Brennan Louie, a 16-year-old LACES student in the 10th grade, defeated foil fencers from three states to win the tournaments at the Pacific Coast Championships on Saturday, May
10, 2008. Madison’s gold medal, in Women’s Foil – Senior Division (ages 13 and up), made her one of the youngest Pacific Coast Champions in history. Brennan’s golds were in Men’s Foil – Senior and Junior (ages 13-21). LAIFC also won the Men’s Team event, which included Brennan and two other LAIFC members.
The Pacific Coast Championships, this year held in Pasadena Center, welcomed nearly 700 competitors from California, Nevada and Hawaii. Competitions for both men and women were held in a variety of age categories and in all three fencing weapons: foil, epee and saber.
Both Madison and Brennan are highly-ranked nationally in their age groups. Madison earned her top-level “A” national ranking at the age of 13, and is currently 2nd in the United States of fencers her age. Brennan achieved his “A” rating in 2007 and is 15th nationally in his age group. Both fencers train at Los Angeles International Fencing
Center in West LA and are coached by Misha Itkin.
Madison has been fencing for 7 years and her other victories include 1st place in the Super Regional Youth Circuit, 15-and-under category, San Jose, March 2008.
Brennan has been fencing for six years and entered this year’s PCC’s as defending champion in the Cadet division (age 13-17). He has earned many national and local fencing medals including an 8th place finish at the North American Cup this year.
Fencing is one of the original sports in the modern Olympics, and also one of the fastest. In fact, the tip of a fencing foil is the second-fastest moving object in Olympic sport, the first being the bullet shot in the shooting sports.
Fencing is made up of three weapons, the foil, the sabre and the epee. Although men and women often compete against one another, genders are separated during championship events. Rules and target areas differentiate the three styles. Fencing is the safest martial sport and one of the safest of all sports, with an injury rate roughly equivalent to tennis and golf – and about 1/20th that of soccer.
The Los Angeles International Fencing Center, located in West LA, is the largest fencing club in California and one of the largest in the United States. LAIFC is home to two fencers qualifying for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, three fencers qualified for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, and a selection of other U.S. and international champions.