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Athlete Spotlight: Nick Saccoccio

Saccoccio(right)

Courtesy of Nick Saccoccio

Saccoccio(right)

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Nick Saccoccio, a freshman, is ranked number five in his age group in the U.S. for fencing. Saccoccio has been fencing for four and a half years. He spends about six nights a week, five hours a night practicing for tournaments. During practice, he usually works on footwork, touches, fixing equipment, and overall technique.

Fencing is a combat sport. There are three weapons, each with its own rules, regulations, and target areas. Epeé does not have any regulations as to where a person can be hit. Sabré has a target area of the whole upper body. And foil has the target area of the torso. Saccoccio’s weapon of choice is the foil. Most competitions are run like tournaments. They start in a pool round (usually pools of six), and after each round, half of the competitors are taken out until the final two fencers remain. The top eight fencers get medals.

Saccoccio fences at a fencing club in Mineola called Five T Fencer’s Club. He is in an advanced training group, which one must be nationally qualified in order to be in it. Saccoccio has competed in about 100 tournaments in the time that he has been fencing. In those tournaments, Saccoccio has medaled in about 30 competitions. He has 22 regional medals, six national medals, and two international medals in his collection. Saccoccio is on the United States fencing team, which is made up of the top-20 fencing competitors in the country.

Saccoccio originally started fencing in the fourth grade, when his mother was trying to get him to play football. Since he did not want to play, he took up fencing. As child, Saccoccio played tennis, and he decided he did not want to play anymore. Three years before playing tennis, he had taken a free fencing lesson. So when he quit tennis, he decided to take up fencing. From there, Saccoccio continued to work up to where he is today. Saccoccio said, “From the moment I started fencing as a serious athlete, it just clicked for me.”

Saccoccio is constantly traveling for tournaments, often times having to miss school. So far, he has visited seven countries, two of his favorites being England and Italy, and roughly 32 states. This past summer, Saccoccio visited Utah, and in March, he will be in Budapest. Saccoccio will also be competing in the Junior Olympics with around 300 to 400 other fencers in his event. When asked if he was sponsored, Saccoccio said, “Yeah, in a way I am sponsored. I get free equipment from fencing companies like Leon Paul, and Nike supplies the warmup gear for the United States team.”

Saccoccio is continuing to work towards earning more titles, and he is also currently trying to make the World Championship Team. He continues to train for 30 hours a week to meet his goals and is planning on continuing to fence for as long as it takes him to achieve those goals.

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