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Dahlstrom eighth-grader Travis Sullivent (on right) faces off with an opponent during fencing competition. He was 4th in the five-state Southwest Region this past year and finished strong at the sport’s national meet. (Courtesy photos)

Brothers Trevor (left) and Travis Sullivent are among a growing number of students participating in fencing as a competitive sport. Older brother Travis recently placed 32nd in the nation for his age level at the National Fencing Tournament in Atlanta, Georgia.

by JIM CULLEN

Travis and Trevor Sullivent are, respectively, incoming eighth and sixth grade brothers at Dahlstrom Middle School. Like all students this time of year, they’re sharing the same excitement and, possibly, concerns about their new year. Unlike most other students, though, the Sullivent brothers both have a very special interest away from school. That interest is fencing and older brother Travis has already made a national name for himself in the sport.

This past year, Travis qualified for the National Fencing Tournament in Atlanta, Georgia, by finishing fourth in his age group from the Southwest Region that includes participants from Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arkansas and Oklahoma. The ten-day nationals this summer saw Travis in an age group that included 139 fencers, finishing 32nd in the meet.

Buda Elementary teacher Karen Sullivent and her husband Dane, parents of Travis and Trevor, view the sport as nothing but positive. Dane appreciates the fact that kids’ self confidence is raised. Karen terms fencing “a great sport” and said, “the kids and parents are supportive of all fencers. I like that it’s a year-round sport and you can choose how much or how often you want to participate.”

For themselves, Travis and Trevor have their own reasons for liking the sport. Older, more experienced brother Travis says “it’s fun and good exercise…I like seeing friends and meeting people from different places and countries – and getting to travel!” Trevor calls it “fun” and says he likes “fencing with friends.”

Travis began fencing five years ago at a “Learn to Fence” summer camp at Texas State and has been fencing competitively for four years. He’s coached by John Moreau and Sean Moreau at the All Texas Athletic Center (ATAC) Fencing Club on the Texas State campus. Trevor has now been competitively fencing for a year.

Fencing competitors qualify for higher levels of competition by earning points at regionals, where they’re separated into pools of usually six to eight fencers. They may be boys or girls only or mixed boys and girls. Each fencer faces all of the others in his or her pool and they score by the touches against their opponent. Scores are used to determine an ‘indicator,’ used for rankings. Those rankings lead to seeds and brackets which ultimately lead to gold medal bouts.

It’s all about positives, as evidenced by the ATAC Fencing Club’s website (www.atacfencing.org) which outlines the varied objectives of youth fencing. One thing is clear – the Sullivent brothers are meeting those objectives and more.

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