SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Union Catholic fencing phenom Jadeyn Williams recently signed her National Letter of Intent to attend Notre Dame University on a fencing scholarship.
Williams, who lives in Metuchen and fences out of the Advance Fencing & Fitness Academy (AFFA) in Garwood, has been fencing since she was seven years old.
Williams showed promise right away in the sport when she placed eighth in a 10-and-under tournament against boys and girls when she was nine years old.
Since then, Williams has racked up numerous titles and accolades as she has ascended to the top of her sport in the sabre competition.
Here is a look at some of the biggest highlights for Williams during her star-studded career, followed by a Q and A with her.
Williams was named First Team All American by USA Fencing for the 2019-20 season in the sabre.
Williams concluded her sensational season last March when she earned the bronze medal at the NJSIAA Individual Fencing Championships at Livingston High School. She showed the heart of a champion by reeling off four straight victories, including a dramatic come from behind 5-4 win over Shaine Trea Hammarbegg of Columbia in her final bout to clinch a third-place finish. Williams was second in the sabre at the state fencing championships in 2019, and was sixth as a freshman in 2018.
In February of 2020, Williams capped off a great weekend of fencing 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. 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).
A week prior to the Junior Olympics last winter, Williams finished in a tie for 18th in the Junior Division at the Coupe du Monde Junior World Cup in Bulgaria. 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, ranked No. 2 in the World at the time.
Last December, Williams 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.
Williams 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.
Last 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 of 2019, Williams 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 the summer of 2019, Williams captured the gold medal in the Cadet Women's sabre at the USA Fencing National Championships in Center in Ohio.
Williams placed 14th in the sabre competition at the 2019 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 1competition was won by Sada Jacobson Baby, who captured the silver medal in the sabre at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing
Here is a Q and A with Jadeyn -
Congrats on signing with Notre Dame? How excited are you to become a student and fencer at Notre Dame? “I am super excited to start a new journey and be on to bigger things.
What was it about Notre Dame that made you decide to continue your fencing and academic career there? “The coaches are very supportive and caring, and the team bonds great together. And the academics is also very strong.’’
What other colleges did you strongly consider?“Harvard, Ohio State, Temple University, and St. John’s.’’
What club or clubs are you involved in? African American Club
Can you list any honors you have received at UC, and what it means to you to have achieved so much success? “Honor Roll student since my freshman year. It means a lot to me because it feels like a reward for all hard work I have been putting in.’’
How have you been able to balance everything you do outside the classroom along with all your schoolwork. “I don’t have a set way to balance everything, I just always remember how important success is to me and get everything that needs to be done, done.’’
What do you love the most about being a fencer? “I love being different. Not many people of color are in this sport.’’
I know you’ve had a lot of success fencing and have earned numerous awards and honors in your career. But what do you consider your greatest accomplishment and why? “Third in the World Cup in Germany (last December). It was my first international medal. Placing internationally felt like a step up in my fencing career.
I know you traveled to lots of countries to compete? Which is your favorite foreign country and why? And how much do enjoy traveling and seeing the world? “Germany because the Christmas market was so beautiful. I love traveling the world because it lets me see different cultures.’’
How did you get involved in fencing? “I have always played volleyball and basketball, I wanted to try something different. My mom (Lori) suggested that I should sign up for fencing at the local YMCA.’’
What is a normal week during the school year like for you in terms of fencing practice? How many hours a week and how many days a week do you practice after school/before school? “I have fencing practice 3- 4 times a week, and I meet with my personal trainer once a week. I usually practice 5 hours for 3 days.’’
What do you love the most about being a student at Union Catholic? “I love the most about being a student at UC is that we are all different’’.
Why and how did you decide that UC was the place for you to be? What was it about UC that made you want to be a student here? “Because of how supportive the staff is.’’
What kind of advice would you give to younger students who are considering attending UC? Why should they come to UC and what will UC give them that they won’t be able to find at other schools? “My best advice is to be different and try new things. UC will give them the love and support they need to let them be successful.’’
What specifically can you point to as the things that you’ve benefited from the most from your experience as a student at UC? “The flexible teachers. With traveling so much, the teachers always found ways to help me with my work and support my dreams.’’
Favorite UC memories: Pep Rally
Favorite UC Core Value and why: Responsibility because it is the key part to success and maturing.
Favorite UC events: Mr. UC, Six Flags trip
Favorite teacher: Mrs. Doherty
Favorite UC moment: “Going to the volleyball games.’’
Life motto: You didn’t come this far, to only come this far.
One word to describe your UC experience: Exciting
Share one tip for members of Class of 24: “Go out of your comfort zone, try new things.’’
What do you like to do in your spare time? “ In my spare time I like to cook, shop and hang out with my friends.’’
How about the future, Jadeyn? What are your biggest goals to achieve as a fencer? “My biggest goal is to make it to the Olympics.’’
What do you plan to study in college and what would you like to pursue as a career? “I plan to study pre- health. I would like to become an athletic trainer for the NFL.’’