LIVINGSTON, NJ -- Jadeyn Williams refused to go down without a fight.
The junior at Union Catholic had just lost her second straight bout in the final round of the girls sabre competition at Sunday's NJSIAA Individual Fencing Championships at Livingston High School, leaving her chances to earn a medal in serious jeopardy.
But she regrouped and showed the heart of a champion by reeling off four straight victories, including a dramatic come from behind 5-4 win over Shaine Trea Hammarberg of Columbia in her final bout to clinch a third-place finish.
Williams, second in the girls sabre at the state fencing championships last year and sixth as a freshman in 2018, finished the tournament with a very impressive 15-4 record, including 5-2 in the final round.
Williams, who qualified by placing first at the NJSIAA Independent Schools Qualifying Round last month when she won all six of her bouts to win for the third straight year, was proud of the way she bounced back to earn the bronze medal after dropping two of the first three bouts in the final round.
"I knew I could fence better than I was, and I just went back to doing what I do best,'' said Williams, who will be back in action next month at the North American Cup in St. Louis. "I really wanted to finish strong. Next year the goal is to come back and win this.''
The bronze medal by Williams on Sunday adds to her incredible season and her remarkable resume.
Last month, Williams, who lives in Metuchen and fences out of the Advance Fencing & Fitness Academy (AFFA) in Garwood, capped off a remarkable weekend when she came within one point of winning the gold medal in the sabre in the Cadet Division at the USA Fencing Junior Olympics at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
The 16-year-old Williams, who also finished seventh in the sabre in the Junior Division (under-20 age group), earned the silver medal in the Cadet Division (under 17 age ). Williams stormed her way into the final with a 15-10 victory in the quarterfinal and 15-6 win in the semifinals. In the final, she lost a hard-fought battle to New Jersey's Kim Zoe, 15-14.
In the Junior Division competition at the USA Fencing Junior Olympics, Williams showed once again how she can more than hold her own against older fencers, and almost defeated two-time World Champion Natalia Botello of Mexico, who is ranked No. 2 in the World. Although Williams didn't win, she gave Botello all she could handle, losing by just three points to the eventual champ,15-12. Only one other fencer in the Junior Division came closer to upsetting Botello in the entire tournament.
A week prior to the Junior Olympics, Williams finished in a tie for 18th in the Junior Division at the Coupe du Monde Junior World Cup in Bulgaria.
Williams has gained a lot of experience competing for Team USA internationally over the last year.
In December, she was one of only two girls in her age group selected to compete at the Junior World Championships in Sosnowiec, Poland. In the field of 138 fencers in the sabre, she placed a strong 54th against the more experienced and older fencers. Williams was part of a U.S. squad that placed ninth in the final team standings.
She also captured a bronze medal at the prestigious European Fencing Confederation Cadet Cup in Eislingen, Germany at the Junior World Championships. It was the first European Cup medal for Williams. In November, Williams won the gold medal at the North American Cup in the Cadet Division as she captured the third national title in her remarkable career. In October, she helped lead Team USA to the gold medal in the Women's Sabre Cadet Division at the World Cup Championships in Godollo, Hungary. Williams scored 16 points as the anchor in the championship match to spark Team USA to a 45-36 victory over Hungary to clinch the gold medal.
In addition to all her international success, Williams has built a remarkable resume at U.S. meets. Last summer, she captured the gold medal in the Cadet Women's sabre at the USA Fencing National Championships in Center in Ohio. That was the second national title for Williams, who won her first national title in the sabre in the 14-and-under division in 2014.
Williams also placed 14th in the sabre competition at the USA National Championships to help her team win the silver medal in the Division 1 team competition, which is for fencers of all ages. The gold medal in the Division 1 sabre competition was won by Sada Jacobson Baby, who won the bronze medal in the sabre at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and captured the silver medal in the sabre at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.