Urban School senior Christopher Khoshnevissan awarded Stanford fencing scholarship

Samantha Lucas, staff writer

At Urban, fencing is not a sport we hear about often. In the last few years, however, Urban has pulled together a fencing team and class, including 13 players. Next year, Christopher Khoshnevissan (’10) will join the highly competitive Pac-10 team at Stanford. We spoke to him about juggling fencing and academics, and making plans for the future.

Q. Where did you first fence?

A. “At (the) French-American school. I went there when I was younger and there was (a) fencing class they were teaching there. And me and my brother were really into sword fighting with plastic swords, and my brother got into the school class …. At (that) age, I just wanted to do whatever my brother did, so the next year I signed up for it, too.”

Q. What are your rankings?

A. “I am still ranked nationally. After I got into Stanford in September for fencing … I knew I was going to Stanford so I have not competed since last April. I got burned out junior year, so I am just hanging back. Sophomore year, I was ranked 4th in the country for 16 and under. Junior year, I finished 7th in the 16 and under.”

Q. Do you love the sport or are you tired of playing all the time?

A. “I don’t know. I have not done it in a while …. It’s not something I really, really love right now. I spend so much time training and competing. For the fall and winter term junior year, I competed every weekend. It’s really a job for me, and not something I enjoyed. I traveled around the world to Madrid and I didn’t even get to see the Eiffel Tower, for example. I didn’t get to see any sites because I would fly out Friday and get there Saturday midday and then I would fence on Sunday and I would come back the next day. It was not something I thought was fun at all.”

Q. What is a typical practice?

A. “It’s a lot of technical stuff ….We practice our leg stuff. We do foot work; we do a lot of drills …. I also took a lot of private lessons with my coach, which was probably the biggest help.”

Q. Were you nervous or anxious about applying to college?

A. “I was nervous for sure junior year; I was pretty stressed out …. Since freshman year, (fencing) was going to be a huge, huge part. It was the only way. I guess I had okay grades, but I was not going to apply to small liberal arts schools. I always knew I wanted to be recruited by the big schools.”

Q. Have you met the team?

A. “I have met one person because he came over to my practice and we fenced a little. No I have not really met the team.

Q. Why Stanford?

A. “I think that I got the best vibe from Stanford. I felt the most comfortable (there). A lot of the schools seemed really uptight; just by talking to the coaches, the kids seemed really stressed out and were not having a good time. A lot has to do with my brother who goes there and my parents (who) are comfortable with the school …. And the coach … I was her number-one, she wanted to push for me. For other schools, I didn’t know if I was their number-one priority.”

Q. How do you feel about accomplishing a goal that most athletes have?

A. “I don’t really think it’s hit me. Fencing was always something I had to do. I mean, I had the decision to do it or not, but it was always like a job to me. I don’t think it (has) hit me yet. I think when I go there, it’s going to really hit me.”