The competitive season has begun and we were tremendously excited to show off all of our new freshmen at UVA last weekend. They certainly made us proud, showing a tremendous level of sportsmanship, and even bringing home a number of prizes.
On Saturday, Faisal Alami, Stuart Thomas, and Ben Witman took to the strip. Faisal started strong and kept his energy up throughout a tiring day of contentious matches. Stuart and Ben shone with potential at their first tournament (or maybe that was just their shiny new lames.) Despite only a few weeks of training, they intimidated even the most seasoned of the other team’s foilists. The trio faced some challenging opponents, but only grew stronger as the day went on, learning from every new bout. At the end of DEs, men’s foil took 4th place. There was no individual men’s foil event.
On Sunday, Elizabeth Sutterlin, Jennifer Chen, and Polala Wang came prepared to put up a fight. After a rocky start to the day, each of the girls found her element and showed the other schools just what she could do. Polala overwhelmed her opponents with speedy attacks, and Jennifer’s adroit footwork made her a force to be reckoned with. Elizabeth went undefeated in the DE round. The squad lost in the ninth bout to UVA in the semifinals, but rallied just in time to steamroll JMU and win third place. There was no individual women’s foil event.
After a long year of preparing to return to this tournament, Xiaopeng Sun, ‘19, Francis Winn, ‘20, and Robert Catlett took SIFA North by storm. Winning 3rd place overall, men’s epee proved that William and Mary can send a saberist and two sophomores and still make a wave. Francis, using his height for his advantage, tricked opponents into falling victim to his crafty upper-the-wrist touches. Xiaopeng honed his fleche, surprising opponents with fast touches, wrecking opponents who were slower than him. Despite his previous sabre experience, Robert proved that a long lunge and tip on target can win bouts just as well as fancy bladework. Congrats to the William and Mary Men’s Epee!
Women’s epee this weekend was made up of Kirsten Clamann ’19, Nikki Petzer ’19, and Chrysanthi Stevens ’19. Women’s epee had a fantastic tournament despite the lack of other schools fielding women’s epee squads. Chrysanthi shamelessly pushed her opponents down the strip with the agility of a saberist, scoring some very nice touches with some pretty parries, and surprisingly to all who watched, a flèche. Nikki reminded everyone how important the balance between passive and aggressive fencing is as she beat every one of the other team’s fencers, despite GW bringing their A squad. Kirsten had a good day as well, remembering that lunging is a good way to get touches. She won 3rd place in individuals. Women’s epee won second place at SIFA.
The saber tournament squad was filled to the brim with new fencers, eager for their debut tournament. The men hit the ground running with our brand new fencers Daniel Bachman and Ephraim Kozodoy being led by tournament first-timer Liam Hyde. The faults of inexperience quickly gave way to an impressive display of adaptability as Liam learned to counter attack in the middle of a bout to keep his opponents on their toes. Daniel’s impressive bursts of speeds defeated many opponents while Ephraim developed an effective strategy of alternating between short attacks and pulling opponents short. Of the five schools present, the squad finished second place overall. In the men’s individual event Liam took fourth place after three grueling DE bouts in which he and Ephraim established a rivalry that is sure to push both of them to greater heights.
On Sunday, Hannah Cooper led our starry-eyed freshmen Julianne Cook and Riley Aiken into the fray. Cecilia Hoover had come as an alternate in case of injury and joined a composite team with JMU in order to give the girls an extra school to fence. Hannah showed her experience and relentlessly dominated her opponents at the mid-range. Riley took to the strip every time with a plan and was able to improve so much that opponents who beat her at the beginning of the day could not stop her by its end. She also broke her first saber which was a sad moment but one to remember. Julianne fought through exhaustion and opponents much larger than her to score numerous points on clean parries and beat attacks on over-confident opponents. Cecilia did her level best on the composite team and thanks to a combination of adaptability and experience held her own against every opponent. In the end, she powered through a series of exhausting bouts in the individual DE’s and ended up winning first in women’s saber individuals.