Westmont fencer enjoying successful summer
Ganzy, left, takes on an opponent during the USA Pentathlon Youth National Championships at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Col. (Submitted photo)
- Ethan Ganzy accepts the Pennsylvania American Legion's Eagle Scout of the Year Award July 16.
- Ethan Ganzy, 16, won the silver medal in his age group at the USA Pentathlon Youth National Championships earlier this month at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Col.
- Modern Pentathlon
- Pentathlon Fencing
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Ganzy started this week by heading Colorado, where he is one of 20 Civil Air Patrol members nationwide taking part in a week of training and tours sponsored by the Air Force Space Command. The program, based at Peterson Air Force Base, includes sessions on various space- and missile-reltaed operations.
From there, he'll head to Hershey to compete in the Keystone Games, where he took gold in fencing last year.
For the 16-year-old Westmont resident, however, the momentous week is hardly the only highlight of an already eventful summer.
He started his successful month in Hartford, Conn., where he took part in the World Scholar-Athlete Games as a fencer. The competition, though, was largely preparation for his July 5 participation in the USA Pentathlon Youth National Championships at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Col.
The modern pentathlon is a five-part Olympic event that includes epee fencing, pistol shooting, swimming, cross-country running and horseback riding.
He qualified for the national competition after winning the Eastern Regionals — one of four qualifying events across the country — held in Ligonier in June.
Norm Flam, Ganzy's instructor with the Ligonier Fencing Club, said Ethan accepted his challenge to participate in the Ligonier event and did not disappoint.
"Of all my students, he's the one who stepped up to the line and did it. He's reaping the benefits of that now."
At the national competition, Ganzy placed first in the fencing component, besting each of the 32 opponents he faced in one-touch bouts.
In the other four events, he performed well enough to earn a silver medal in the pentathlon's division for 15- and 16-year-olds.
"I was happy just to finish," said Ganzy, who participated in the exhausting event while hampered by a cold.
"I couldn't breathe through my nose," he said. "Plus, with the elevation in Colorado, that didn't help."
Flam said he was proud of Ganzy's success, but said the young fencer has room to improve.
"It's just a rung on the ladder," he said of the silver medal. "It's a good rung, but it's a big ladder."
Ganzy credited Flam, who volunteers his time and own resources to coach, with helping him succeed.
"I owe him more thanks than I could ever repay, regardless of how far I go athletically," he said.
On July 16, Ganzy was in Valley Forge, where he was honored as the Pennsylvania American Legion's Eagle Scout of the Year.
"There are some boys you know are going to go places in this world, and I know he's going to go places," said Donald Shovestull, Ganzy's Scoutmaster with Troop 11, chartered by Westmont Presbyterian Church. "He has always been very focused and goal oriented, and some of that he got through the Boy Scouts."