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The team left Friday afternoon to compete in our biggest tournament of the year. Two days of intensive fencing left us sore on the van ride home, but the fierceness of the competition made our team fight for every touch we scored and learn from each one we received. Full numerical results for this weekend’s tournament can be found here. Recaps of each squad’s performance follow.

Women’s Saber – Gabriella Carney ’18

W&M women’s saber made history by taking fourth place out of twenty three schools. Gabriella Carney ‘18, Chrysanthi Stevens ‘19, and Madeline Myers ‘20 fought their way one bout at a time from the very start of CFCs. They fenced harder and smarter than they had ever done before and never gave up. Madeline surprised several unsuspecting opponents with beautifully timed counterattacks and parry ripostes. Her distance on defense frustrated many fencers, even the UMass captain. Despite the slippery floors, Chrysanthi dominated the strip on many an occasion, such as carrying out a colorful “taste the rainbow” parry 5-riposte on a Dartmouth fencer. She used her quick attacks when they counted the most, allowing her to defeat her opponents. Gabriella remained determined to challenge herself and opponents throughout the day and was proud to make it to individuals.

Men’s Saber – Eric Alpert ’18

This weekend Steven Pressendo, Eric Alpert, and Robert Catlett advanced to the biggest tournament of the year. The women set a high bar in the morning which only inspired the men to push themselves just as hard in their own bouts. The first day was difficult, the waxed concrete floors were not great for anyone’s long lunges and many of the top schools and individuals were all in our pool. We finished 16th after the pools and during the long second day of fencing climbed out way up to 13th overall. Steven’s tactical prowess shone throughout the day, having extensively scouted opponents and providing the entire squad with advice and strategies that lead to a number of wins. Eric fought hard and when he found his rhythm he dismantled his opponents before they could figure out his own. Robert put on impressive displays both days, showing tremendous grace as the slippery floor tried to bring him down. Despite its best efforts, not even the very ground he fenced on could slow his relentless long attacks. CFCs has always stood as a trial not only to skill but also endurance, teamwork, and how far one can push themselves during the grueling days. To every end, the men’s saber squad stuck together and dug deep through two of the toughest days of fencing I’ve experienced in my four years. I could not have asked for better teammates, and the support we received from the women and members of the other squads proved that together we continue to grow as a better and stronger team.

Women’s Epee – Cecilia Hoover ’18

Last weekend, William and Mary’s Women’s Epee went to UT to take names. Ruoying Hao ’18 and Nicole Petzer ’19 led by Cecilia Hoover ’18 finished 11th overall after two days of fierce fencing. Ruoying showed off her quick hand and great point control, wrecking the UPitt A strip in her final bout with well timed wrist picks and counterattacks. Nicole, while continuing her tradition of giving all those watching a heart attack, proved that just because you have one foot off the strip doesn’t mean you’re out of your element, successfully winning bouts in the warning box. Cecilia had her personal best showing this year, finally making it into individuals, winning 15th overall, and bageling the UMich A strip on her climb to the top. Women’s epee is looking forward to continuing their success in the coming weekends at VA Cup!

Men’s Epee – Pulak Raj ’20

A strong men’s epee team consisting of Pulak Raj ’20, William Bushman ’18, and Ben Coleman ’19 entered CFCs with high hopes and expectations. Ben Coleman relentlessly punished his opponents for exposing their arm by precisely picking their wrists. He won a key bout against The University of Chicago in the round of 32, pushing the squad past UChicago without even having to fence all 9 bouts. He even won his bout against Cornell, the 2nd place epee squad. Will Bushman was unstoppable with his long fleches and ranged counter attacks. Will was on fire during the pool round, boasting a very strong 8-4 record and almost qualified for the individual round. Although he broke almost all his blades in the process, Will won important bouts during the elimination round, vital to securing our final position. Pulak Raj, using a combination of quick foot touches and strong parries took down many tough fencers. Although he had a rough start in the pool round, he helped the team make the final push in the elimination round to secure their place in the top 16. In the end, the men’s epeeists put in everything to live up to their expectations, and are determined to showcase their true potential in two weeks at the Virginia Cup.

Women’s Foil – Alex Marto ’18

Women’s foil hung tough this weekend against some of the hardest schools we have faced all year, finishing in 15th out of the 27 schools who dared to face these triumphant women. Veteran Alex Marto ‘18, anchor Elizabeth Sutterlin ‘20, and freshman Jennifer Chen ‘21 had grace, poise, and aggression throughout the 2-day event. The girls were cheered on by alumna Rose Mayo (Epee ’16) during the pool round on Saturday. Alex made every touch count either winning or losing 5-4 in what was the hardest pool of the 3 they were placed. Elizabeth finished strong, defeating Clemson’s A strip and bageling Indiana’s A strip. Jennifer never lost her energy. She landed her attacks surprising her opponent every bout. During Sunday’s direct eliminations, women’s foil started the day with an impressive upset, defeating Boston University 5-4. Jennifer ran into overtime against BU’s A strip winning by a single light touch, 3-2, with her opponent having priority and 15 seconds on the clock. One of the biggest nail biters of the day for sure. In the top 8 bracket, we were close to victory against UVA and each girl left with their heads high. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all the women I have had the honor to fence with all four years at this college. You have made me a better person as well as a better fencer and I couldn’t be more proud to call foil my home.

Men’s Foil – Faisal Alami ’20

In this year’s CFCs, Faisal Alami ’20 led Brandon Mullins ’20 and Francis Winn ’20 to fence men’s foil. While it was an uphill battle for the three sophomores and former hall mates, each of them learned a lot from over the weekend and improved their fencing as the day went on. Brandon used the aggression of a sabreuer to score very quick advance lunges and Francis used the patience of an épéeist to lure his opponents in before getting quick parry 4 ripostes. Faisal’s quick eskeeves and ballestra lunges were critical for his bouts. All of men’s foil got some great fencing in over the weekend in the face of difficult circumstances, and they’ll only reach greater heights in the future.