Whether you’re a Junior fencer or an adult, you might want to think twice about crossing swords with 17-year-old Graham Maas from Plymouth.
Maas was recently named a USA Fencing First-Team Academic All-American. Not only that, he also earned an ‘A’ rating for his performance this year.
Competing for the Minnesota Sword Club, Maas recently won the state’s most prestigious tournament, the Minnesota Open, which included adult and Junior competitors from eight states.
He discussed the challenge of competing against adult fencers.
“A lot of the adults have been fencing for a long time,” said Maas. “And they are very skilled. Fencing is like any other sport. The more you train, the more skills you develop.”
Maas added that fencing is “very much a mental sport.”
In competition, he said he tries to stay two or three steps ahead of his opponent.
“There isn’t as much scouting in fencing as there is in some other sports,” he said. “But if I know I’m going to be fencing against someone, I will watch him to see if I can spot any weaknesses.”
Maas trains with Michael Lee, his classmate at Wayzata High School. Both boys will be seniors this fall.
“Michael won the state high school championship in 2016,” Maas noted. “I was second and he was third this year.”
While he continues to enter fencing tournaments, Maas’ ultimate goal is to become a world-class competitor in the Modern Pentathlon. There are five phases in that competition, and Maas has put in the most time on fencing, running and swimming. He is less experienced in the other two phases, riding and shooting.
Maas is looking forward to swimming for Wayzata High again this winter. In the past, he ran on the WHS cross country team, as well.
Cross training has played an important role in Maas’ success thus far. In addition to fencing, swimming and running, he works out an hour to an hour and a half in the weight room three times a week.
Maas encourages other youth to try fencing.
“It has been a great sport for me,” he said.
In addition to winning the Minnesota Open, Maas has placed high in several national fencing meets.
These are a few of his highlights from 2017.
- Third place at the Daugherty Cup in St. Louis, Missouri.
- Eighth place at the Fairfax Challenge in the Washington, D.C. area.
- Ninth place at the Remenyik Cup in Chicago, Illinois.
“Graham went undefeated in his pool at the Remenyik Cup,” said his father, Brian Maas. “He earned the second overall seed going into the direct elimination round and was upset in the round of 16. These things happen. He will become stronger and wiser as a result.”
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