In January of 2012 Kirsten VanMarion, a young epeeist out of the Asquith Fencing Club, took a giant leap in her fencing development when she went to her first National tournament outside of Saskatchewan. The competition was held in Montreal, QC and Kirsten was competing in the U-15 event.
As the day progressed Kirsten found herself doing very well in pooles, ranking high enough to get a bye into the first round of D.E. ‘s (Direct Eliminations), propelling her straight into Round 2. A match, which at the end of time, saw Kirsten and her opponent evenly tied at 7-7 and needing to head into overtime. Receiving priority, Kirsten was hoping to be able to stall long enough for time to simply run out, but a series of three to four doubles, had her battling just to stay even. With less than 20 seconds on the clock, and with one foot off of the end of the piste, her opponent attacked. Defending herself they scored another double, that did not register with her opponent. Believing she had scored a single, she let out a scream of victory, and turned her back on Kirsten, a critical mistake that would cost her the match, leaving Kirsten the victor.
“I was very relieved for it to be over,” says Kirsten. “Since I was almost pushed off the end. After the bout her coach came and congratulated me on a job well done and complimented me on a few of the things that I did.”
“I lost my next D.E. but luckily it wasn’t a total blow-out, I only lost by a couple points.”
At the end of the day, when all was said and done, Kirsten placed third, and received a Bronze medal, not only the first time she medalled beyond Saskatchewan’s borders, but also the first time she had ever medalled at a National level tournament. An experience she won’t soon forget, especially as it all happened on the day of her 14th birthday.
Sadly, none of her teammates were able to witness her victory, as they had all headed to the airport to catch their flights back to Saskatchewan. But just as she has been for nearly all of her bouts, her Mom Allison was there by her side and in her corner cheering her on to victory. A victory made all that much sweeter, because it was her first.