By Jim Lambert
Union Catholic’s Jadeyn Williams, combining her vast array of skills and a tremendous heart, put together a sensational performance when she placed second in the Sabre competition at the NJSIAA Individual Fencing Championships on Sunday at Livingston High School.
The 15 year-old Williams, who placed sixth as a freshman last year, showed why she’s one of the top ranked fencers in the country in her age group, by winning 16 of her 19 bouts and outscoring her opponents 89-46 for a +43 margin.
Williams went 5-1 in the first round, was the only undefeated fencer in the second round (6-0), and finished 5-2 in the championship round.
Senior Caroline Sullivan of Bernards won the state title by finishing with the best record (6-1) in the championship round. Williams went 2-0 vs. Sullivan in the tournament with scores of 5-2 and 5-3.
“I’m very happy with how I fenced today, especially in the second round,’’ said Williams, who will next compete at the North American Cup April 12-15 in Salt Lake City, Utah. “It’s better than how I did last year. “I feel like I was really on today. I was making people miss and making good adjustments.’’
Williams, who qualified for the state tournament by winning the Independent Schools Qualifying Round for the second straight year in January at North Hunterdon High School, had several impressive victories on the day. But her most dramatic came in her first bout in the championship round vs. Abigale Parker of Newark Academy.
Trailing, 4-0, Williams reeled off five straight points to rally for a 5-4 victory over Parker.
“When I was down 4-0 I just think to myself that it’s not over, it’s not over and I asked myself what I was doing wrong and changed some things up,’’ said Williams. “That was a really big win for me.
Williams, who lives in Metuchen and fences out of the Advance Fencing & Fitness Academy (AFFA) in Garwood, said her runner-up finish has given her the confidence and motivation to win a state title.
“To win a state championship is really big, and I feel like I helped my dream of becoming a state champion in the future by getting second against all the best fencers in New Jersey,’’ said Williams. I’m really motivated to come back next year and try to win this.’’