The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Photo credit: Nick Shockey /
A letter from the editor
February 6, 2024

By the sword

City College student and state fencing champion Steven Zhang shows his fencing stance. Photo by || Vincent Fernandez || [email protected]

Finding an activity that fits us naturally is a feat many can’t claim. However, this isn’t so, for Steven Zhang.

Zhang, a third-year sociology major at City College, has found his niche in fencing. His combination of skill sets, paired with his work ethic and positive attitude, has made him into a statewide champion.

Zhang is the only community college fencing competitor to win the top state title when he placed first in the Mixed Novice Foil division at the second Northern California Intercollegiate Fencing League tournament held on Nov. 21, 2009 in Fresno, Calif.

Zhang won his first tournament last November at Fresno State and another in Berkeley, the first weekend of March 2010.

“I never came into fencing with the mentality to win a lot of competitions,” Zhang says. “It was fun for me, so I did it.”

Zhang started the sport at the beginning of September 2009 after his older brother suggested he try fencing. Zhang began to attend City College’s weekly fencing club meetings. At City College, fencing is not an official sport. Students practice and compete as a club.

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In the last tournament at UC Berkeley, only one fencer from City College didn’t make the top 10 of their division, so it’s not just Zhang that has been showing what the Panthers are made of.

“We have more people that are new,” says third-year student and fencing club president Stephen Crane. “The other schools are the same way. But we’re doing better than them, and we’re a very small school.”

But it’s not just the coaching that has Zhang outperforming his competition, it’s his incredible work ethic.

According to Gillespie, Zhang spends a lot of time outside practice studying and watching the sport.

“Steven’s greatest talent is that he can see fencing,” Gillespie says. “That is he can watch, not only what he is doing and what his opponents are doing, but he will watch any other bout and he can see what people are doing right, and what they’re doing wrong, and apply it very quickly.”

Zhang maintains a positive attitude, pushing himself, but still remembering that the point of sports is to have fun.
“The day I stop having fun, that’s the day I’m going to stop [fencing],” Zhang says.

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