En garde! Fencing latest interest for Valencia teen

July 25, 2020 Cranberry Local Sports

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Sam Everson Valencia resident has many interests, including fencing.

VALENCIA — Sam Everson’s life is right on point.

He maintains a 4.24 grade point average. He is an accomplished guitarist. He holds a black belt in Kung Fu and competed in the International Kung Fu Championships last year.

Also a Life Scout and Patrol Leader, he is looking to complete his Eagle Scout project — constructing a veteran’s memorial in the Middlesex Glade Run Cemetery — this summer.

The Valencia resident plays the saxophone in his high school band and is president of the Aquinas Music Club, which he founded.

So when the incoming Aquinas Academy junior was approached about trying fencing a couple of years ago?

Why not?

“A friend of mine had an older brother on the team,” Everson said. “They were looking for more kids to try it.

“It think it’s working out pretty well.”

And how.

Everson became captain of the Aquinas Academy boys fencing team as a sophomore this past year. His record was 19-5 and he competes for the Pittsburgh Fencers Club in local and regional United States Fencing Association Tournaments.

He was Aquinas Academy’s 2019-20 team MVP — and recruited about 40 percent of the boys in his grade on the team.

“This is an amazing young man,” Crusaders fencing coach John Carroll said. “Sam is a true leader. He works tirelessly for himself and others.”

As team captain, Everson works with underclassmen and middle school students at Aquinas Academy on technique, attitude and their approach toward the sport.

He has been involved in Kung Fu for 12 years.

“I had a bit of an advantage coming from martial arts,” Everson said of fencing. “The mental aspect plays such a role in both sports.

“Concentration, breaths, thought replacement ... They’re all part of the discipline of fencing. It’s all very challenging.”

Carroll said Everson does not stick to the same basic plan of attack in a match.

“He’s easily coachable,” Carroll said. “He knows how to adapt his technique and tactics. He observes his opponent, tests them, then forms a plan. That makes him very hard to beat.”

During the school year, Everson practices with his high school team Mondays and Wednesdays. He practices with his club on Tuesdays, competes in high school events Friday and regional club events once a month on Saturdays.

The hours of practice don’t bother him at all.

“The drills are very important,” he said. “Most fencers find them to be a drudgery, but they’re very helpful. The repetition is part of the discipline.”

On top of his scheduled practices, Everson finds more time to dedicate to fencing.

“He trains on his own,” Carroll said. “He takes private lessons once a week from myself and Harry Hardman.”

Hardman, a Cranberry Township resident, is a former Aquinas Academy standout fencer now competing for Cleveland State University.

Everson hopes to compete in fencing for either the Navy or Air Force once he graduates high school. He has already visited the Navy foil team.

He wants to major in nuclear or mechanical engineering.

And he’s already paying homage to vterans.

“There’s a small graveyard by my house and there’s 120 veterans buried there,” Everson said. “Other than small American flags by some of the graves, people would never know about the history there.

“There are Revolutionary War veterans buried there, War of 1812, 20 to 30 Civil War veterans ... Those people deserve a veterans memorial display and that’s what I’m doing for my Eagle Scout project.”

None of this surprises Carroll, who nominated Everson for a Positive Athlete of Western Pennsylvania award, a program spearheaded by former Pittsburgh Steeler great Hines Ward to recognize high-character athletes promoting positivity to others.

Everson was among 32 selected out of more than 1,000 nominations. He is also a USA Fencing All-Academic First Team selection for 2019-20.

“He’s a dedicated fencer and a dedicated person,” Carroll said.

Everson is the son of Sean and Tara Everson of Valencia.

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