At age 11 Daryl Homer had a choice to make: baseball or fencing? Wisely he chose the latter, a decision that has propelled him to international heights.
Hailing from the Bronx, baseball was the popular choice, but the freshman star of the St. John’s fencing team hasn’t looked back on the decision that he made seven years ago, one that launched his fencing career.
“I actually played baseball when I was nine,” Homer said. “And then, when I turned 11 my mom told me I had to choose between the two because Yury [Gelman, St. John’s head fencing coach], my coach wanted me to train five days a week. So I started fencing and I knew I had to keep fencing.”
Homer has been fencing ever since, and he is starting to get noticed for his outstanding work.
During the week of Jan. 19 to Jan. 25 he was named one of CollegeFencing360.com’s fencer’s of the week as its inaugural recipient.
“I was pretty shocked [about receiving the award],” said Homer. “First of all I didn’t know there was like a national fencer of the week award, but a lot of the guys are older than me too and more experienced so it was pretty nice to hear.”
Homer has developed a great relationship with his coach Gelman because unlike most college athletes, Homer has been coached by Gelman since before his college career began.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Homer. “Sometimes we talk about experiences when I was younger; I compare myself to some of the young kids and ask him about it, it’s pretty cool.”
That “cool” relationship was one of the main reasons Homer decided to stay in New York and come fence for the Red Storm. “I spoke with Yury [Gelman] and I really wanted to stay in New York, that was definitely my decision,” Homer said.
One of four sabres on the team, Homer’s efforts this season have helped St. John’s earn the No. 9 ranking in the nation in the latest USFCA College Fencing Coaches Poll.
Although Homer is willing to always put the team first, his lofty goals range much larger than just collegiate fencing.
“I really wanted to stay with Yury [Gelman] and train for the next Olympics,” said Homer.
Homer was optomistic about his chances of making the 2012 games.
“I have a pretty good chance,” he said. “The guys are maybe five or six years older than me and they have more experience but I go back in fourth with them in practice, so those are guys that are top in the world.”
Homer’s regimen includes training twice a week on campus with the St. John’s fencing team, and traveling to Manhattan five days a week to train for international and national competition.
With all the hours of training Homer has put in to become one of the best, he is still able to focus on school and his other main goal: be an NCAA Champion.
“We have NCAA’s, and I hope I can win that,” he said.
Although fencing isn’t the most well-known sport, Daryl Homer is trying to stick the competition and lift himself to the level of an NCAA Champion, and beyond.