Morristown Teen Shines with the Sword

By: Jason Cohen

Fencing has taken Chase Emmer all over the globe. In April, the teen from Morristown will be representing his country in Poland.

In fact, Emmer, 14, a freshman at Morristown High School, will be one of just three male foil fencers from the USA at the World Championship at the Cadet level in Torun, Poland.

“Fencing has become a part of my life,” Emmer said.  

On Feb. 18, Emmer defeated James Liao in the semi-finals at the Junior Olympics in Denver, to clinch one of the three spots on the national team.

Then in March, he participated in his first international senior event at the Absolute Fencing Gear FIE Grand Prix in Anaheim, Calif. After winning a bronze medal at a Division 1 men’s foil event at the North America Cup in Milwaukee, Wis., in October 2018, Emmer spent 125 days competing in eight national and international tournaments.

“I didn’t think that fencing would take me this route,” he remarked. “It’s very cool how it’s taken me to all these places.”

While Emmer began fencing at age 5, it was something he never imagined himself doing.

He recalled that he was playing sticks in the backyard with his cousin, Zander Rhodes, who is now 15, and she wanted to try fencing. So looking up to her, he decided to follow in her footsteps.

“I just wanted to fool around and have something to do after school,” he said.

At that point in his life, he was focused on biking, skiing and taekwondo. Fencing never crossed his mind. However, after doing it a few times, he was hooked.

“I just saw them playing with a sword and I thought it was pretty cool,” he said.

He is a member of V Fencing Club in Livingston and has had the same coach, Segre Vashkevich for many years.

Through Vashkevich’s guidance, he has become a better fencer and learned how important good techniques are.

“Serge is a funny guy and he’s also very relatable to me,” Emmer commented. “He’s fenced for the Ukraine on the same level I’m fencing for the U.S. now.”

He started to recognize his talent a few years ago. At ages 10 and 12 he won the national championship and national pints.

“When I was beating people who were older than I was, I was like oh I’m not just beating people my age,” he recalled. “I started to become more confident.”

He explained how fencing has literally encompassed his life. At ages 12 and 13 he went to France and in the past few months, many of his weekends have been traveling in and out of the country.

Fencing has not only taken over his life, but his parents’ as well. His mom, Natalin Po and his dad, TJ Emmer, travel with him everywhere and are quite proud of their son. While they admitted it can be tiring, the juice is worth the squeeze.

“It’s taken us close to nine years to get to this level,” his mom said. “We would not be at this level if wasn’t for the support of the school district.”

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