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NEW YORK - Columbia fencing head coach Michael Aufrichtig has announced the addition of Akhnaten Spencer-El to join his staff for the 2013-14 season.

Spencer-El is a three-time U.S. Junior Sabre National Champion, a two-time Senior National Sabre Champion (1999, 2000) and was formerly ranked the No. 1 Junior Sabre fencer in the world (1998).

"Akhi will provide great leadership for our extremely strong sabre program," stated Aufrichtig. "He will bring even more experience to our highly accomplished coaching staff."

A New York City native, Spencer-El is well connected both locally and internationally. Most recently, he spent the last five years as a master coach at the Fencers Club and the last eight years assistant coaching at the Peter Westbrook Foundation.

In fact, the Peter Westbrook Foundation was where it all began for Spencer-El when he realized his passion for fencing at the age of 13.

From early on, Spencer-El knew he wanted to one day become a coach. He began his coaching career in 2003 when he initiated the Young Elites of Houston fencing program, a non-profit organization designed for inner city children.

In 2009, Spencer-El came one step closer to his goal when he earned his Maestro's degree from Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary.

Throughout his coaching years, Spencer-El has coached numerous elite fencers, including Ibtihaj Muhammed, the 2009 Women?s National Sabre Champion, Dan Bak, the 2009 NCAA Team Champion, and Adrian Bak, the 2009 Junior National Team Champion.

Spencer-El currently resides in New Jersey with his wife and two children.

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