The last weekend of January saw most of the UNC fencing team enjoying a rare weekend and preparing for the pending Northwestern Duals. But not in second year Jack Kambeselewho was 5,000 miles from the campus in Athens, Greece, was crowned Junior Greek National Champion in men’s epee.
Kambeseles has been fencing for as long as he can remember. As a child, Jack would duel at home with his twin brother, Peter, with fake swords. Their parents decided to turn their playful antics into something productive and enroll them in fencing lessons. The Kambeseles twins have become great fencers. Peter, who is also a right-handed sword fighter, closes for Penn State’s third-place finish and won the Greek Junior Nationals in 2019. He was a semifinalist this year, missing a match to face his brother in the finals. .
“We’re twins, so we’re basically like mirror images as right-handed swordsmen,” Kambeseles said.
Traveling to Athens this year, Kambeseles had to battle jet lag and prepare for a long weekend of fighting. Kambeseles has played 11 fights, the first six in pool and the last five in a home win or knockout tournament. Kambeseles was able to capitalize on his physique and stamina, winning the title fight, 15-6. Kambeseles attributes his physical strength to the level of training at UNC.
“I was able to take the UNC approach to fencing, with all the lifting and physical training, and incorporate that into my fencing in Greece,” Kambeseles said.
Kambeseles has had a busy last three weeks. The weekend before heading to Greece, Kambeleses competed for UNC at the Philadelphia Invitational, and the weekend after his European excursion, he was back with the Tar Heels at the Northwestern Winter Duals.
While fatigue would catch up with most sophomores competing at a high level around the world, Kambeseles is no stranger to travel dating back to his pre-college days.
“Fencing in high school prepared me for all of these trips. I used to travel out of state and country almost every weekend, so eventually I started traveling to a science “said Kambeseles.
The Greek Junior National Championship in Kambeseles qualifies him to represent Greece at the European Junior Championships in Serbia and the Junior World Championship in Dubai this summer. Kambeseles will miss the European Championships for the ACC Championships at the end of February but is eager to travel to Dubai.
Kambeseles and the Tar Heels will return to Durham this weekend for the Duke Duals. Kambeseles will face rivals ACC Duke, as well as twin brother Peter and Penn State.
The two-day event in Durham is available to watch live on ESPN plus or follow on Twitter for live game updates.