Emilia Ivanova, Head Coach

Emilia Ivanova (Coach Emi) is an internationally trained fencing master with a proven ability to develop and produce world class athletes. After majoring in Sport and Physical Education she went on to study at the Paris Fencing Academy. Ivanova is a 7-time National Foil Champion of Bulgaria, and silver medalist (foil) in the European Championships.

As head coach of the Bulgarian National Women’s Foil Team, her students reached the World Championships in Holland, the European Championships in Austria, and competed at the 1996 Olympic Games.

Her work coaching fencers in Kansas City has resulted in medalists at regional tournaments, North American Cup, US Summer National Championship, and World Cup competitions. Her students consistently place in the top tier of the fencers in the US youth circuit. Students who have trained under Coach Emi have received scholarships to prestigious university fencing programs including Princeton, Stanford, and Yale, among others.

Competitive Career Highlights:
7-time National Foil Champion of Bulgaria
Silver Medal European Championships (Foil)

Zdravka Panagieva, Foil and Epee Coach

Zdravka Panagieva (Coach Z) is a certified Master of Sport in Fencing, has a bachelors degree from the Bulgarian National Sport Academy, and a vibrant and successful career of coaching fencers. She brings a wealth of experience to HFA fencers having coached students of all ages and skill levels around the world. Her competitive students have won National Championships in her home country of Bulgaria and have won medals at competitions in Croatia, Romania, and Turkey.

Competitive Career Highlights:
Bulgarian National Championships in Epee
European Fencing Championship
World Fencing Championships
World University Games

Stefan-Damian Panagiev, Assistant Foil Coach

Stefan-Damian Panagiev has joined our coaching staff as an Assistant Foil Coach at Heartland Fencing Academy. Stefan brings with him a wealth of experience and passion for the
sport of fencing.

Here's a bit about Stefan-Damian:
-  Stefan has been fencing for 16 years, starting his journey at the young age of 7 in Bulgaria.
- Stefan's fencing career is truly remarkable, showcasing his exceptional talent and dedication to the sport. From earning numerous national medals and championship titles in countries like Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, and Turkey to continuing his success in the USA with many regional and  national medals, Stefan's achievements are impressive. His participation in prestigious events like the World Junior and Cadet Work Cups and World Championships further solidifies his status as a top-tier fencer. We are proud to have Stefan as part of our fencing community at HFA, and we look forward to seeing his continued success in the sport.
- He has also completed the USFA coaches training courses and is Safe Sport certified, ensuring the safety and well-being of our fencers.
- Stefan is also a USFA Certified referee, adding to his extensive knowledge of the sport.
- Graduating from KU University with a major in biology, Stefan brings a strong academic background to complement his fencing expertise.
- As a former HFA fencer himself, Stefan has volunteered extensively, assisting with fencing camps, classes, tournaments, demonstrations, and events.