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Area fencing duo performs well at North American Cup National Tournament

FARGO - When Enrique Alvarez co-founded the Fargo-Moorhead Fencing Club in 2010 his goal was to make a strong fencing committee in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

Enrique Alvarez and Dominic Baer
Enrique Alvarez, left, won a gold medal while Dominic Baer won eighth place in the North American Cup National Tournament in men's epee. Both are members of the Fargo-Moorhead Fencing Club. Dave Wallis / The Forum

FARGO - When Enrique Alvarez co-founded the Fargo-Moorhead Fencing Club in 2010 his goal was to make a strong fencing committee in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

His club took a big step forward at its first senior national tournament Sunday and Monday. Alvarez earned a gold medal and took first place and 16-year-old Dominic Baer took eighth in Division II men's epee at the North American Cup National Tournament at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Not bad considering it was Alvarez's first senior national event in the United States and Baer's first senior national event ever.

"It's very good results for it being the first time ever," Alvarez said. "We were the only club with two people on the podium that day in this division."

It's something Alvarez could not have imagined when he started the club four years ago. It's something he didn't even imagine days before going to the tournament.

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"No, not at all," Alvarez said. "What I was expecting from my students was to just have an experience out of their comfort zone. I just told them to have fun and show your best. It's good to know that we're doing stuff correctly and that even in Fargo, the middle of nowhere, you can get good fencers."

Baer is home-schooled right outside Glyndon, Minn. He was taking violin lessons when his violin teacher passed away in the middle of the school year. Baer's mother looked for something else for him to do. She stumbled upon the fencing club.

That was two-and-a-half years ago.

"It took off as soon as we took our first lesson," Baer said. "I've always really liked swords. Just being able to swordfight and the whole physical and mental aspect of it I enjoy. It isn't as easy as it looks to stab people."

Alvarez and Baer will now be able to compete in Division I events after their performances.

"There'll be some tough fencers in there," Baer said. "After the first practice, I knew fencing was something I wanted to do."

Alvarez couldn't help but notice when fencers were announced at the podium, all of them had five or more years of fencing experience.

Not Baer.

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Baer represents how far Alvarez's club has come. From five members in 2010 to competing nationally in 2014.

"It's coming to a realization that all the efforts we have put in the last years to supporting our fencers and our club is getting results," Alvarez said. "Our next event is going to be at a national event in Ohio, so we'll see if we can get some medals there, too."

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548

Murphy has covered sports in Chicago, Minnesota and North Dakota since 2009, working for The Forum since 2012. Contact: cmurphy@forumcomm.com or 701-241-5548
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