University of California San Diego fencing senior David Hadler will compete this weekend at the 2018 National Collegiate Fencing Championships beginning on Saturday. Hadler has qualified for the national championships for four consecutive years, placing a career-best 10th in foil as a junior en route to earning All-America accolades. He also finished 14th as a freshman and 20th as a sophomore. The senior from San Francisco earned a spot in this year’s championship by finishing first at the NCAA West Regional on March 10 for his second career Western Fencing Conference (WFC) foil title. We caught up with David for our latest Triton Q&A to discuss his love for fencing, growing up in San Francisco, and his dream vacation destination.
Q: How does it feel to qualify for the NCAA Championships in four consecutive years?
David: I’m just really happy I’ve got to experience this my entire four years. Every year it’s extremely exciting and different. It never gets boring. I do feel a pretty good sense of accomplishment. All the hard work paid off.
Q: What do you enjoy most about fencing?
David: What I really like is how creative you can be. The end goal is to stab the person, but so many different things go into it. Just being able to play a sport that’s so interesting and unique. I also like the intensity, the strategy and the creativity aspect. You have to be physically fit and it’s very challenging. No two matches are the same.
Q: How did you get into fencing?
David: My father used to fence, but I got really interested when my mom used to give me Three Musketeer candy bars for lunch at school. Then I found out there’s actually a sport where you sword fight and I thought that was cool. I also had few friends when I was young who fenced and I asked them about it and it all just started from there. I just stuck with it. It was just a sport that was really unique.
Q: What was it like growing up in San Francisco?
David: San Francisco is unlike any other city in United States. The difference between Southern California and Northern California is huge, especially between San Francisco and San Diego. San Francisco is a very fast-paced city. It’s a very artistic city too, with a lot of culture. When I used to take the bus to (fencing) practice, everyone would want to have conversations about the equipment I was holding. Fencing is big in San Francisco because it’s very artistic and not a mainstream city.
Q: Is it true you can speak four languages (English, Mandarin, Hebrew, Zulu)?
David: I had a profound interest in languages when younger. My mom’s side of the family is from Taiwan, so I spoke a lot of Mandarin around the house. I also went to Jewish high school, where I learned Hebrew.
Q: Why did you decide to major in International Studies/International Business?
David: I really like the broad take it has. It’s allowed me to study different aspects of business as well as culture. You can’t really separate the two. I’m interested in different cultures and different languages and it gives you a really well-rounded education. What’s really challenging is it’s so broad and there’s so many topics, so it’s hard to narrow it down to get a specialized understanding of anything.
Q: What do you like most about attending UC San Diego?
David: It’s an amazing institution. I’ve met some amazing people such as my teammates and coaches who have guided me through sports and life with valuable lessons. It has provided a very good foundation for my life so I can grow into an adult. The beach is nearby, the weather is consistently great and the people are kind. In the athletics environment, with the resources on hand, it’s very competitive athletics wise. The school is very well rounded.
Q: If you could go anywhere for vacation, where would you go?
David: Prague, Czech Republic is one of the most fascinating cities I’ve been to thus far. The social scene there is great, it has amazing architecture and an old-city feel. It’s very clean and culturally rich. It’s a really great city.
Q: Do you have a celebrity crush?
David: Olivia Wilde, from the TV show House. She’s really good looking and the characters she plays are really cool. She’s a really good actress and very talented.
Q: Do you prefer watersports or outdoors activities?
David: Watersports. I like jet skiing, water skiing and banana boating.
Q: Prefer pizza, burgers or taco shop?
David: Taco shop.
Q: Who’s your favorite athlete?
David: LeBron James. He’s extremely athletic, talented and hard working.
Q: Who’s your favorite music artists?
David: I like Bobby Shurmda, his music is great. I also like ASAP Mob, Juicy J and Drake. I like hip hop, I’m from the Bay Area. It’s good music to get you hyped up.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to watch?
David: I like TV show dramas and thrillers. I watch House of Cards, Hannibal, Sherlock and Game of Thrones. I also watch hockey, basketball and football.
Q: What’s your favorite fruit?
Q: What’s your favorite drink?
David: Cranberry juice.
Q: What are your thoughts going into this weekend’s tournament and what will be the key to your success?
David: It’s hard to engage your thoughts going into such a big competition. It’s my last year, so I’ll give it everything I’ve got. I’m not going to worry about results, I’m just going to focus what I’ve been practicing. As long as I stay focused and don’t psych myself out, I should do pretty well. I know a lot of the fencers on the circuit and have competed against them before. I’m just going to give it my all and hope all the practice and effort I’ve put in this year shows.
Previous Triton Q&A Features
12/20/17: Taylor Tanita (Women's Basketball)
11/16/17: Arman Momdzhyan (Men's Water Polo)
11/11/17: Ella Verhees (Women's Cross Country)
11/1/17: Katie O'Laughlin (Women's Soccer)
10/23/17: Adam Navigato (Golf)