In the sport of fencing, things can get emotional. Just ask Bothell’s Matthew Comes.
He’s had his share of victory celebrations, but his biggest came this past June at the USA national championships.
“I’d never gone that far in a competition, this big,” Comes said.
Nearly 8000 fencers and Comes didn’t back down, seizing the moment and earning a gold medal in the Men’s Division 3 Epee Competition.
“It was fantastic,” Comes said. “There is a picture of me yelling. It is something people do in fencing; it is a release of emotion.”
Comes added, “It didn’t come to me right away, that I just won a national championship, that out of all these people right here, I just won. It was amazing.”
Quite the ride for a young man, who just started fencing four years ago.
“When he started off, he didn’t know a sword from a baseball bat, and now he’s a national champion,” said Serge Timacheff, founder of the Washington Fencing Academy.
“There are 3 different weapons in fencing, foil, epee and sabre,” Comes said. “Most people just specialize in one. Epee is the one I prefer. This is what I fence with, the one I was taught on.”
Comes trains at the Washington Fencing Academy in Issaquah, his second home. It’s where he picked up an appreciation for a sport that originated in the 18th century.
“It’s an interesting sport, because it really combines the best of mind, body and spirit,” Timacheff said.
“Some people call it physical chess,” Comes said.
At Bothell High the football team may be the kings in Cougar country, but it’s a 15-year-old sophomore who may have the best chance to one day represent his school, city and country in the Olympics.
“At school, pretty much everyone knows me,” Comes said. “Oh, you’re the fencing guy.”
“He’s smart, he’s athletic, and he’s got the full package,” Timacheff said. “He understands that, and he is using it. Anything he endeavors to do, he doesn’t take lightly.”
He just takes it one “touché” at a time.