Photo by: UC San Diego Athletics
Runyan is a three-time medal winner at the World Veterans Fencing Championships.

World Champion! Josh Runyan Wins Gold in Egypt!

UC San Diego

CAIRO, Egypt - He now owns a medal in all three colors.

University of California San Diego Associate Head Fencing Coach Josh Runyan added world champion to his impressive list of career achievements, winning a gold medal at the 2019 World Veterans Fencing Championships, held Oct. 5-14 in Cairo, Egypt.

"After the initial joy of winning the final touch, the honor of the medal ceremony, and standing at attention for our national anthem, what I felt was gratitude," said Runyan, who is entering his 17th season with the UC San Diego fencing team. "I'm thankful to be blessed with relatively good health for 60 years, thankful to be sharing the victory with my amazing competition coach who is also my wife, thankful for my other great coaches, and thankful to UC San Diego team members, whom by working with them, made me better."

Competing in the 35-competitor Men's Saber 60-69 age group division, fifth-seeded Runyan began his title run with a 5-1 record in pool bouts. He defeated competitors from Canada, France, Great Britain, Italy, and Japan.

Runyan then entered the 10-touch direct elimination rounds as the No. 4 seed. Following a first round bye, he took down No. 29 Robert Rennick of Canada, No. 13 Jerzy Kosinski of Poland, and fifth-seeded Jeffrey Gueble of the United States to advance to the semifinals.

Runyan's opponent in the semis was Italian Alberto Feira Chios, who came into the direct elimination rounds as the eighth seed and upset top-seeded Giulio Paroli, also from Italy, in a quarterfinal match-up. Runyan fell behind 4-0 to Chios, but the Triton coach exploded to win the next 10 touches, sending him on to the gold medal bout.

Frenchman Geza Kas came to Cairo as the reigning world champion. Like Runyan, he posted a 5-1 record in pools. As the sixth seed in the elimination rounds, Kas' journey to the title bout included wins against third-seeded Paul Preis of Germany and second-seeded Paolo Busi of Italy.

Runyan and Kas stayed close early on. At 6-6, Runyan scored two consecutive touches to take an 8-6 advantage. However, Kas want on a three-point run to go up 9-8. Showing big time resilience, Runyan battled to score the next two points and earn the world champion title.

Runyan, who was coached at Worlds by former UC San Diego Head Fencing Coach and wife Heidi (pictured at left), is now a three-time medalist at the World Veterans Fencing Championships as he took silver in 2011 and bronze 2018. In addition, he is a seven-time member of the U.S. Veterans World Team.

Runyan began fencing in college at Cal State LA under USFA Hall of Fame Fencing Master Delmar Calvert and later trained in saber under interim U.S. national coach Dmitriy Guy. In the 1990's, he spent many years in the U.S. senior national rankings. He has been on five U.S. Armed Forces Fencing Teams at the Military World Championships and is a six-time Pacific Coast individual saber champion. He has also won numerous North American Cups/Summer Nationals as a veteran fencer.

Runyan spent four years on active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps and nine years flying F-14's for the U.S. Navy.

Entering his 17th season with the Tritons in 2019-20, Runyan holds coaching titles of Master in saber and Prevot in foil from the United States Fencing Coaches Association. He was named the 2015 Western Fencing Conference Coach of the Year.

UC San Diego began its season Oct. 13 at the San Diego Cup. Next up, the Tritons travel to the North American Cup in Kansas City, Mo., Oct. 18-21, before hosting their annual BladeRunner tournament Nov. 23-24 at RIMAC Arena.

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With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles, and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in the summer of 2020, begin a four-year transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego scholar-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's pre-eminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 82 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 37 have earned prestigious NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarships. In competition, almost 1,400 UC San Diego scholar-athletes have earned All-America honors.

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