Athletics Highlights (You Might Have Missed)

Danny Stock

Highlights from fencing, golf, and JV athletics teams

Grand Prix & GDS 360

Based on her national ranking, GDS junior Tatiana Nazlymov was invited to represent Team USA at the Fencing Grand Prix World Cup in Orléans, France last weekend. She traveled with two members of the USA Tokyo Olympic team, including two-time Olympic Champion Mariel Zagunis, along with nine other highest ranked U.S. fencers. Grand Prix events—like tennis’ Grand Slams—are heavily weighted events on the international fencing world cup schedule, and every top national fencer in the world attends. This Grand Prix was the first event of the next Olympic cycle.

On the grand stage at the largest sports venue in Orléans (Joan of Arc’s hometown), Tatiana competed in her first senior World Cup event with 5,000 fans in attendance. She finished in the top half of the field (76th place out of 163), defeating athletes from Poland, Belgium, Germany, and France. She lost to a Japanese fencer, a Russian, who ended up winning the bronze medal, and the reigning junior world champion from Korea. Only five fencers in the field were 17 or younger, and she was the fourth best among 12 Team USA fencers. She will go into the next Senior World Cup in Tbilisi, Georgia as a ranked competitor.

As a high school student, Tatiana’s skillful fencing has wreaked havoc on the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rankings. In February 2021, at the first post-pandemic tournament at the Olympic Training Center in Atlanta, Tatiana finished second, defeated only by two-time Olympic medalist, Sada Jacobson. At the 2021 Division I National Championships in July 2021, Tatiana took bronze—the first time in at least five years that a 16-year-old has made the podium. Just prior to the Grand Prix event, she repeated her Division I third place finish in the first selection event of the 2021-22 season, defeating fencers from Columbia University, Notre Dame (also a former member of the Russian National Team), and Princeton. She also defeated the former UNC captain but ultimately lost to a Harvard junior, the eventual champion.

Tatiana’s recent results have a lot to do with the ongoing strength of the Nazlymov Fencing program, which leases their just-across-the-street training facilities from GDS. Nazlymov Fencing was able to continue daily Zoom sessions throughout the pandemic and, once allowed by DC in June 2020, in-person training resumed. They held more than 1,000 individual and group sessions with not a single case of community spread. While still seniors, now-alumni Amir Chambers ’21 (Boston College) and Cole Leonard ’21 (Cornell) demonstrated leadership in training, contributing to everyone’s progress. Other factors, previously covered, contribute to the club’s success, including having team coaches like Tatiana’s grandfather, Vladimir Nazlymov, who is a three-time Olympic Champion and ten-time World Champion. 

Tatiana with Middle School fencers Farrah Maragh '28 and Isaiah McDaniel '28 and LS 360 fencing participants

Dozens of GDS students also benefit from the strength of Nazlymov Fencing both through the proximity of its studio to the School and through GDS 360 afterschool programs they run in the Flexible Performing Arts space. Prior to the pandemic, Nazlymov Fencing also supported a P.E. unit, and Middle School athletics has added fencing to this winter’s lineup. 

 Seventh grader William Yan was one of the original Nazlymov fencers when the club began and is now nationally ranked, with excellent results in the North American Cup. As a ranked fencer prior to GDS, William’s interest in applying to GDS was partly due to the opportunity it afforded him to continue his high-level training. Sixth grader Farrah Maragh qualified for 2021 Summer Nationals in her age group, though she was not able to compete. Instead, she will be competing in regional events and is anticipated to represent the club on the national stage this season.

Tatiana, William, Farrah, and many others have their work cut out for them as they step up to fill a clear vacuum in USA Fencing. This past Olympics was the first in 20 years that American athletes did not win medals. With retirements and injuries among the top fencers, opportunities for top-level experiences have opened up. They’ll just have to keep up with their homework.

Good Golfing

GDS Golf MAC Championship Team

Congratulations to Jordan Quint ’24 who finished sixth out of the top 42 golfers from seven DC-area schools at the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAC) Championships. After the first six holes of competition, Jordan was already three-under par. His performance earned him an All-Conference designation. He certainly put in the hours this past year, logging nearly 300 rounds of golf. 

“One particular play comes to mind about Jordan this season,“ said head coach Taylor Brown. ”In a match against Potomac School, Jordan took a very forgettable tee shot and ended up on the opposite tee box way to the left of the hole. He had little reaction, remained calm, and proceeded to hit the best shot of the season a few feet from the pin. This was after clearing a massive oak tree that would have been obstructing any normal golfer. His ability to quickly recover from shots that were not his best made him stand out among the rest of the field. I am really looking forward to working with him again next season.”

Jordan’s pick for season highlights? Hitting a 35 in a match at Penderbrook against Flint Hill, notably sinking an eagle during that match. 

JV Sports Season Highlights

JV Men’s Soccer

FINAL RECORD: 10-4-1

RECORD AGAINST CONFERENCE OPPONENTS: 8-3

HIGHLIGHT #1: 11 different players scored at least one goal!

HIGHLIGHT #2: Beat Sidwell Friends twice.

HIGHLIGHT #3: Comeback from a 2-0 deficit to beat The Potomac School 3-2 on the last play of the game, after they had beaten us 4-0 in our previous meeting.

AWARD WINNERS:

  • MVP – Rand Poellnitz ’24 
  • Most Improved – Noah Martz ’25
  • Coaches' Award – Max Boughner ’24

JV Women’s Tennis

SEASON HIGHLIGHTS:

  • At the final home match...the girls won every match. Elsa, who won the most improved player award, won the last game.
     
  • Head coach Ana Schneider Jerez said, "Every player improved both on and off the court. From the first day to the last day, they looked like different student athletes in the way they played, the way the worked with each other, in their support for each other, and their attitudes while others were competing."

AWARD WINNERS:

  • MVP: Catherine Dooley
  • Most improved player: Elsa Chatham
  • Coaches' Award: Sofia Sevak

JV Women’s Soccer

HIGHLIGHT #1: The highlight game of our season was a 6-1 win over Madeira.

HIGHLIGHT #2: Through the season we had really balanced scoring, with half our team scoring at least one goal - Ellie Schaffer, Jhet Bond, Julia Davis, Naomi Borek and Sowmya Natarajan - from all positions, forward, midfield and back.

MORE HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Ellie Schaffer scoring against Stone Ridge on Sports Saturday
  • Julia Davis scoring against Sidwell on a free kick outside of the penalty box
  • Also in the Sidwell game, Sora Waker had such a strong shot that the goalie couldn't hold onto it and Jhet was there for the rebound to tap it in.
  • Amazing teamwork and dedication, including field players playing goalie during a game.

AWARD WINNERS

  • MVP: Julia Davis
  • Most Improved: Jhet Bond
  • Coaches' Award: Lina Stensland.

JV Volleyball

FINAL RECORD: 14-1

HOME MATCH RECORD: Undefeated!

SEASON HIGHLIGHT: All but one win were two set matches (no dropped sets)!

AWARD WINNERS:

  • MVP – Leia Levine ’25 
  • Most Improved – Shaila Joshi ’25 
  • Coaches' Award – Maya Cruz-Hubbard ’24