Junior Olympian won’t be fenced in

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes Anyone thinking of challenging Keizerite Cole Mallette to a sword duel might want to think twice. Chances are Mallette is better. Earlier this month, Mallette qualified for the Junior Olympics in fencing with high-placed finishes in the Junior Olympic Qualifying tournament hosted by Northwest Fencing Center. “I didn’t expect to do as well as I did in the Junior program because I was up against older, more experienced fencers, but when I did, it qualified me as a cadet, too,” Mallette, 14, said. Cadet fencers are age 17 and younger, while junior fencers are 20 and younger. Mallette took sixth place in the junior epee bracket and third in the cadet epee bracket. The accomplishment earned him a berth to compete in the Junior Olympics February 17-20 in Salt Lake City. It will be his first time at the event, but it bodes well for the future, said Michael Heggen, Mallette’s instructor at Salem Classical Fencing. “The Junior Olympics are the national championships and a stepping stone toward the world championships,” Heggen said. “It’s unusual for someone as young as he is to have made it that far already.” Given that it’s Mallette’s first appearance on the grand stage, Heggen will be happy for him to perform well in pool matches and the first direct elimination bouts. “Locally, Cole is one of...

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