FIRST UP on GMW is an occasional column that highlights shorter announcements or updates, and helps you get a quick start to the Wilton news of the day. Have a news tip, item or something you know people are chatting about? Email us at

Today’s FIRST UP is all about standout Wilton young people.

Wilton Girl Wins Medal at National Sabre Fencing Event

Trisha Nath, a Wilton resident in ninth grade recently came in sixth at the National Youth 14 Sabre Fencing event. This national event is for children 14 years or younger. For this tournament, 134 fencers from all across the United States came to Richmond, VA.

Nath started fencing about four years ago at the Olympian Fencing Studio located at 388 Danbury Rd. in Wilton. Her coach, Galya Pundyk, a 2008 Summer Olympics Gold Medalist, inspired Nath’s interest in fencing.

Although Pundyk relocated to another state, Nath has continued pursuing her passion and is currently coached by Oleg Stetsiv, an award-winning fencer and fencing coach at Olympian Fencing Studio.

Sabre fencing is a sport that not only focuses on strength and stamina but every move requires an immense amount of thinking and strategy.

Middlebrook Cello Student Wins Prestigious Scholarship to Manhattan School of Music 

Twelve-year-old Wilton resident Janya Chelluboina was recently awarded the Marion Feldman Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music. This scholarship is awarded annually to deserving cellists enrolled in the MSM Precollege music program. Chelluboina is in her second year of study there under Marion Feldman’s guidance.

The seventh-grader from Middlebrook School was first drawn to cello when she was just four years old. Her cello studies began at a local Suzuki School where she studied with Dr. Sara Bennett Wolfe and Dr. Andrea Kleesattle. In the last two years, Chelluboina has won several honors including the first prize Joey Corpus award, first place in The New York Young Performers Prize Competition (April 2020), first place in the New York Young Virtuoso Competition, and first place in the Vivo International Music Competition.

In addition to her participation at MSM, she has been a member of the Norwalk Youth Symphony (NYS) for the past six years, and she is currently the principal cellist of the Concert Orchestra. Chellaboina is one of almost 30 students from Wilton who participate in the NYS’s various orchestras, ensembles and music theory classes.

One of her fondest Wilton music moments was her 2019 performance in the Cider Mill’s Got Talent Show, during which she said she became very emotional while performing “Bach Prelude” and realizing that she had the encouragement, love and support from her teachers, friends and community.

Wilton Community Outreach Leads Winter Clothing Drive to Send to Ukrainian Refugees

From Mar. 6-12, Wilton Community Outreach (WCO) collected gently-used winter clothing to help Ukrainian citizens impacted by the Russian attack. The group is a Wilton High School student-led nonprofit based at Trackside Teen Center that seeks to help the community through any means possible.

In light of recent events, WCO sought ways to help the people of Ukraine. After learning that over three million refugees have crossed the borders to neighboring countries, many of whom don’t even have winter clothes to protect them from the cold, the students decided to plan a winter clothing drive. Donation boxes were left at Wilton High School and Trackside, and the Wilton Community responded generously. Bags of coats, gloves, hats, scarves, boots, blankets, and more were delivered to the collection sites by Wilton residents who wanted to help.

By Sunday, Mar. 13, WCO members Colin Tsai, Samira Ayoub, Jake Enman, Justine Biersack and Michael Jankowski delivered what amounted to a trailerful of donations to a shipment area for the next step on a relief mission to Ukraine.

Wilton High School Alum Ian Sanders Headed to NCAA Fencing Finals

Ian Sanders, a Wilton High School alumnus (2017) and current senior at New York University, qualified for the NCAA National Championships, to be held Mar. 24-27 at the University of Notre Dame. To qualify, he finished in the top 8 in men’s epee at the Mar. 13 NCAA Northeast Regional Championships at Vassar College. Qualification for Nationals also takes into consideration the athlete’s performance during the entire season as well as the fencers’ results at Regionals. Other schools in the Northeast Conference include Columbia, Harvard, Yale, Boston College, Sacred Heart and Brandeis. The NYU team captain, Sanders earned one of only 24 spots in the Men’s Epee finals.

photo: contributed

Sanders has compiled an impressive record during his fencing career at NYU, setting records and earning wins and medals every year. He earned a berth at the NCAA finals as a freshman, finishing 18th out of 24 and named team captain at the end of his sophomore year. He fenced in regional and national events while studying International Relations in the NYU College of Arts and Science, making the honor roll each semester. Sanders competed internationally as well, including during a junior-year semester in Paris. He has fenced in competitions in France, Serbia (where he placed in the top 8), Latvia, and Greece as a member of the USA Fencing Team and individually in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Ireland and France. Sanders won gold at the Temple University Open in October 2021.

Sanders began fencing during eighth grade and began studying intensively two years later with Coach Andrey Chushko of Stamford Fencing Club. He is a member of the Fencer’s Club in Manhattan, where he is coached by Alexey Cheremsky.