CHICO, Calif. --
At just 14-years-old, Mikaela Yhip has won many gold medals from national fencing tournaments, even received her B-rating.
"I was really, really happy," said Yhip. "At first, I didn't think of that. I was focused on the bout because it was a really close bout. I think I won 15-13."
Yhip says the five years of hard work and success surprisingly started because of her tough past.
When she was seven, Mikaela's adopted parents were accused of killing her brother in 2012. Child protective services placed her in three different foster homes.
"I was really unsure on who was going to take me home," said Yhip. Just unsure of my surroundings. I was really nervous and I got mad very quickly and I wasn't sure about a lot of people and who I could trust and who I couldn't."
More than six years later, the D.A. dismissed the charges against her parents due to insufficient evidence. Mikaela reunited with them, but says the scars never went away. So, her mom recommended fencing.
"It helped me emotionally," said Yhip. "Because when I'm just about to blow up, I'd go fencing, then all my energy would be poured into that and all the anger inside me I could let it out."
Every day for thirty minutes, Mikaela would take her home made mannequin outside and lunge. Her focus on improving her craft helped with her state of mind.
Mikaela also went an average 2.5 to a 3.9 GPA and is now two years ahead of her class. She also trains with US Olympic foil coach Greg Massialas in San Francisco every week.
"I know that in order to reach my goal, I have to practice," said Yhip. "I know that it's not going to happen just like that. I have to put in all my time and try not to get distracted."
"I didn't think I would be where I am now," said Yhip. "Im working toward my dream."
This past weekend, Mikaela won silver at a Northwestern University tournament. She says she hopes to attend and fence at that school or Notre Dame.