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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Jun. 5, 2019 8 months ago

Sports Spotlight: Jackson Simmes

At the age of 9, the young fencer is already winning tournaments left and right.
by: Troy Herring Sports Editor

Jackson Simmes has only been fencing at the Winter Garden Fencing Academy for a few years, but he is already beating kids three years older than him in tournaments up and down the eastern seaboard. When he’s not fencing, Simmes loves checking out new places to try out his favorite food: burgers.


When did you first get into fencing?

I was 6, just about to turn 7, and we were walking by — after we finished dinner — and then we saw this place (Winter Garden Fencing Academy) and I said, “Can I try that?”


You’ve been doing fencing for a little while now, so what’s been your favorite thing about your sport?

Going to tournament. And some times when we got to tournaments — like if we’re out in North Carolina or Georgia — we sometimes explore colleges.


Is there a highlight moment for you when it comes to fencing?

My second time going to North Carolina — there were a bunch of kids and I did a U12 event, and I thought I did really well because I’m only 9 and I got sixth place in the 12-year-old division. 


What’s it like fencing older kids?

Mia and Sam are the bigger people here, and I definitely see a difference between them and the younger kids that are in the classes — they’re (tougher). 


What is the hardest thing about fencing?

Learning new stuff and having to practice. New types of parries, new types of footwork and everything.


What would you say have been the best words of advice you’ve gotten regarding fencing?

Get down low if you’re fencing your-sized people. And try new things — if you’re down in points, people say, “Try new things; do something different.” That’s why it’s difficult with the young kids, because they don’t know all the things, so they’ll do something ridiculous that you don’t know how to defend.


What are your goals when it comes to fencing?

If I go to nationals, my goal would be to get gold and any other tournament I go to I strive for gold. 


What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Going to Georgia for vacation with my family and hanging out there. And lots of boating, and we will try to fix our Jet Ski — it’s been sitting in our garage for I don’t know even know how many years. (Also) playing basketball and baseball, and going to watch my dad play softball and baseball.


When you grow up, what do you want to be?

I’ll probably try to go to the Olympics for fencing, and then play basketball in the NBA.


Troy Herring is the sports editor at the West Orange Times and Windermere Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Mount Olive (BS '12) and the University of Alabama (MA '16)....

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