Zander Rhodes, Columbia High School Class of 2021, has captured the Junior Women’s Foil gold medal and world championship, competing this week in Bulgaria with her USA Fencing teammates.
Rhodes’ gold came after an all-American final bout. She defeated teammate Lauren Scruggs (Peter Westbrook Foundation, Harvard University) in a tense final that pitted the two women against each other without the aid of any strip coaches (as is custom when two Team USA athletes meet in international competition).
“This is my last Junior tournament ever,” Rhodes says. “So my mentality going into it was just to have fun and enjoy the moment.”
This is Rhodes’ third medal at Junior & Cadet Worlds but first individual win. Her other two came with the Junior Foil Team in 2021 (silver) and 2022 (gold).
Now a student at Columbia University where she studies Biomedical Engineering, Rhodes has long been a fencing phenomenon.
Her list of high school accomplishments, per the Columbia University Fencing website include:
A 2021 graduate of Columbia High School in Maplewood, N.J., where she fenced three years … Two-time All-America First Team selection in both 2018 and 2019 … Fenced with the United States Junior World Team in 2020 and 2021 … Competed for the United States Under-16 Cadet World Team in 2019 … Took Silver with her team at the 2021 Junior Team World Championships in 2021 … Won the 2020 Junior World Championships in San Jose, Calif … Took second place at the 2020 January North American Cup in 2020 … Placed seventh at the 2019 Cadet World Championships in 2019 … Ranked the No. 7 foil fencer in the United States and No. 88 in the world as a senior … Ranked the No. 4 foil fencer in the United States and No. 6 in the world as a junior … Named to the Academic All-American First Team in 2018 and 2019 … Competed for the V Fencing Club in Livingston, N.J. … Four-year High Honor Roll student … Earned National Merit Commended Scholar status as a student.
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