By: Alicia Sands Lurry
Watch out, Venus and Serena.
Praze Harris and his older brother, GS3 – yes, that’s his real name – are ready to grab the spotlight and take the world of fencing by storm.
The brothers, who are students at B.E.S.T. Academy, will showcase their fencing skills in the USA Fencing Junior Olympics, Feb. 17-20, in Kansas City, Missouri. The four-day competition will include 12 individual competitions and six team competitions in all three weapons: epee, foil and saber. The Harris brothers will compete in the saber division.
If Praze and GS3 are able to defeat their challengers in the Junior Olympics trials, they will qualify for a spot on the U.S. national team, which competes at the 2017 Cadet and Junior World Championships in April in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Eight team members from B.E.S.T. are competing in the Junior Olympics trials this weekend.
“Hopefully, we’ll make it to nationals, because we practice really hard,” said 15-year-old Praze, a sophomore, who began fencing two years ago, and was named the team’s Most Improved and Rookie of the Year.”We put teamwork in practice, and we try to help our team members.”
GS3, who is known as “G,” said teamwork is what makes the B.E.S.T. Academy fencing team so special. B.E.S.T. Academy is currently the only APS school to be a member of the Georgia High School Fencing League. B.E.S.T. is also the only African-American, all-male school in the league.
“Focus is what helps us push each other and helps boost our morale,” said G, 17, a junior at B.E.S.T.
The Harris brothers are pretty special themselves. Despite being new to the sport of fencing, GS3 and Praze clearly have a bright future ahead of them. Strong and athletic, the brothers have excelled in a strategic and competitive sport that has also drawn them closer as brothers.
“Fencing is fun, but it takes discipline and focus,” Praze said. “It’s also hard, and you have to train.”
Fencing coach Rod Walker said the Harris brothers’ character has actually made them better student-athletes. Walker described them both as intelligent, strong, and committed athletes.
“I’m very proud of these young men,” he said. “As a team, they have shown so much growth in their character and maturity. I feel they have a very good chance of moving forward.”
Despite their competitive nature, Walker said both brothers have an unbreakable bond.
“They have a genuine love for one another,” he said. “The bond of brotherhood is definitely there.”