CLEVELAND, Ohio – It was a banner weekend for freshman Justin Yoo of the third-ranked University of Pennsylvania men’s fencing team, as the rookie epeeist placed third at the Junior Olympics in Cleveland, Ohio. Not only did this finish move him to first in the United States Junior standings, but also qualifies the California native for this year’s Junior World Championships in Bourges, France (April 2).
Yoo took the road less traveled to a bronze finish, earning a No. 59 seed after pool play. Following a 4-2 effort in the first rounds, Yoo rattled off six consecutive wins en route to the final four. He defeated Gevauhn Henry (15-7), Morris Boratin (15-9), Anton Chmut (15-8), James Bogert (15-10), Oliver Shindler (15-14), and Penn State's Anton Piskovatskov (15-10). Yoo fell in the semifinals to Columbia’s Porter Hesslegrave.
Freshman Julian Merchant, along with Simone Unwalla of the women’s team also competed in Cleveland last weekend.
Merchant placed sixth on sabre, while Unwalla finished 42nd on foil.
Merchant went a perfect 6-0 in pool play, entering direct elimination with a No. 9 seed. After earning a bye into the Round of 128, he defeated George Bivins (15-11), William Nikolai (15-6), Kamar Skeete (15-9), and Samuel Kwong (15-10). Merchant finally fell in the quarterfinals to Penn State's Karol Metryka by a score of 15-8.