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Miami’s Masters Fencing Club scores big wins at SSG Palm Beach County Festival
WEST PALM BEACH – It was a big day for Miami’s Masters Fencing Club at the SSG Palm Beach County Festival as the club won its fifth consecutive Sunshine State Games Fencing Team Trophy.
18-year old Gabriel Mejia contributed to the team effort winning the gold medal in the Men’s Epee event, advancing out of a field of 32 fencers. He had eight bouts Sunday and concluded the day with a 15-12 win over Winston Akins, of Melbourne, in the final.
The Championship round did not go more than two points in either of the competitor’s favor. But with the score tied 12-12, Mejia scored the next three points for the gold medal.
“He was too quick for me,” said Akins, a five-year member of the University of Florida Fencing Club, while at school in Gainesville. “I couldn’t defend against him there at the end. He had very good endurance and blade control.”
Akins admitted he ran out of steam after a 15-14 semifinal win over bronze medalist Luboslav Jelev, minutes before going into the final match.
Mejias was eager to bounce back in the Epee event after a disappointing finish in the Foil competition Saturday.
“I was fencing for fun today after being too stressed yesterday,” said Mejias, a recent graduate of the College Academy in Weston. “I have a lot of speed from my foil fencing. The epee fencers are very technical. That was my strategy today, to use my speed.”
Mejias was recruited by NYU for his fencing abilities and will begin in the fall to study finance.
Wellington’s Andrew LeMay set a American Collegiate Total Record with his combined total of 682.5 kg. He also tied for the highest combined total of the Heavyweight lifters (93 kg and above) at the Palm Beach County Convention Center. While he tied with Jon Kennedy for the high combined total of 682.5 kg, he weighs 100 less pounds than Kennedy.
The 20-year old University of Florida student had a squat of 518 pounds, a bench press of 358 pounds and a deadlift of 628 pounds.
Lemay is the great-grandson of the late U.S. Air Force Four Star General Curtis Lemay.
The top Taekwondo athletes in the State of Florida were on display today as the Black Belts took to the mats in sparring competition. Among the black belt athletes winning gold medals was Paul McFarquhar, of Ruskin, who won in the 18-29 year old, 145-171 pound division. It marks the fifth consecutive year, McFarquhar has brought home a SSG medal.
Sierra Colton, of Hawthorne, Colton Clifton, of Tampa and Oscar Pablos also repeated as gold medalist in youth divisions.
South Florida team dual matches were held at the wrestling competition with seven teams competing. Among those on the mat Sunday were two-time State 1A Champion Rekwon Regglar, as a member of the South Florida Lightning team.
The 2015 Sunshine State Games calendar of events continues next weekend with the SSG Track and Field Championships at Punta Gorda High School and the SSG Table Tennis Championships at the Simpson Park Community Center in Lakeland. Over 7,500 of Florida’s Finest Amateur Athletes have competed in events of the Sunshine State Games on the 2015 Calendar through this weekend.
The youth track and field events will be held Saturday, June 20 with the open and masters events to be contested on Sunday, June 21. Nearly 100 table tennis players are registered to compete in 15 different skill level divisions on Saturday and Sunday.
The Sunshine State Games are a program of the Florida Sports Foundation, the state’s lead sports promotion and development organization. Now in its 36th year, Florida’s only Olympic-style Sports Festival is the longest consecutive-years running State Games in the United States.
The Palm Beach County Festival was held in conjunction with the Palm Beach County Sports Commission.
For more information about the Sunshine State Games, please visit www.flasports.com