Hockaday's Fencing Sisters

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by TED MADDEN / WFAA-TV

wfaa.com

Posted on July 21, 2010 at 2:03 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 21 at 4:50 PM

Fencing is a lot of things -- it's unique, especially here in Texas. It's mentally and physically draining, often called "physical chess."

And it's expensive.

The lame (pronounced "lah-MAY"), or the suit, goes for about $200. Add another $75 for the saber, $400 for the helmet, $125 for shoes, and $50 for a glove. Double it if you have two kids involved. Add in coaching and travel costs, and this is one expensive sport.

"We support our kids in anything they want to do," said Sharon Youngblood, who has two daughters involved in fencing. "And if they enjoy it, and we think it's character building and (teaches) discipline, and it's fun, then we're on board."

"I love them, they love me," 16-year-old Avery Youngblood said about her parents. "It's hard for me to get on the strip and have them watching me because I feel it's so much pressure, because they've done so much for me and they want me to do my best."

Arden and Avery Youngblood both fenced at the Hockaday School and for the Dallas Fencers Club. Arden graduated and is going to Princeton in the fall. She's the first woman from the southwest region to ever get an A-rating in fencing, which is the highest level.

"I realize there are not a lot of fencers in the south, so it makes sense that there are not a lot of A-rated fencers," said Arden Youngblood, "but I didn't expect to be the only one, or the first one."

Her younger sister Avery will be a junior at Hockaday, and she hopes to fence in the Olympics one day.

Hockaday and its brother school St. Mark's combine to form one of the only high school fencing programs in the state. As a result, there's not a lot of competition around here. As a result of that, the Youngblood sisters practice against each other ... a lot.

"I like practicing with her," said Avery. "She probably doesn't like practicing with me. I was younger so i could learn from the experience. Her, not so much."

Both sisters would agree that their fencing experience has been worth the expense. Their parents might even agree too.

 

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