Zachary Zeller, 13

Fencer, musician

His story: As one of the nation’s best young fencers, Zach has traveled the country more than most adults. He is ranked fifth in the Y14 fencing category and last month won a gold medal in the North American Cup (Division 3, 13 and up) in Richmond, Va. His introduction to the sport was purely by chance. When he was 8, his parents attended an auction and they “had to bid on something,” and it ended up being fencing lessons with a four-time Olympic coach. Zach immediately embraced the sport. He loves “the fact that not only is it a physical game but a mental game as well.” He recently traveled to Princeton University for a weeklong camp that included 20 fencers from ages 13 to 17, and he works out regularly at the Fencing Academy of Nevada with his coach, Yves Auriol, a three-weapon master (the highest rank possible).

School: Advantages Online private School, eighth grade

Extras: When he lays down his fencing foil, Zach is most likely to pick up his headphones and transform into DJ ZZ TOP. A self-taught computer wiz, Zach attended a DJ class at the Fashion Show mall this past summer, and 40 minutes later the teacher asked him if he wanted to teach the next class. He’s since DJ’d at some of his friends’ birthday parties. Zach also is mindful of the less fortunate, contributing time and money (which he earns by helping friends and family with computer issues) to the KLUC 98.5-FM toy drive. Because of his frequent traveling, he left The Meadows School for Advantages Online Private School.

What he’ll be doing in 10 years: “I would like to be on the U.S. Olympic fencing team. I also enjoy crunching numbers and have recently gotten into financial marketing, and would like to become CFO of Apple.”

What they’re saying about him: “With Zach’s size and speed, he has an advantage on almost any opponent that he faces,” Auriol says. “If Zach keeps working like this, he will make it to a university team.”