SIFA North Recap

Our team kicked off the competition season by sending new and returning fencers to SIFA North at UVA.  We are so proud of the excitement and positivity that all our fencers brought!

After last year’s SIFA North and VA Cup, Ben Witman ’20, Stuart Thomas ’21 and Faisal Alami ’20 reunited once more to represent William & Mary Men’s Foil. With each member showing considerable improvement, the trio was a force to be reckoned with. Ben’s patient marches and well-executed attacks scored him many points against his opponents. Meanwhile, Stuart capitalized on tempo changes to surprise the other schools’ fencers.  Faisal used his aggressive attacks and fast bladework to rack up the victories for William & Mary. In the end, Men’s Foil went undefeated in pools and won 1st place in DE’s.


Additionally, four other fencers represented William & Mary in the beginners’ tournament. Harrison Keen ’21, Colin McLearn ’22, Jaime Xiang ’22 and Matthew Dreher ’20 fenced against five other beginners in an individual pool.  Harrison used his strong parries to score two victories over the other fencers.  With his fast footwork, Colin scored many attacks on unsuspecting fencers and managed to also secure two victories.  Jaime was aggressive on the strip, using strong attacks to score four victories. Finally, Matthew utilized his fast parry-ripostes to score seven victories over the other fencers, the top result of any beginner fencer. Overall, men’s foil had a successful tournament, learning as well as winning.


This weekend, Elizabeth Sutterlin ’20 and Julie Vu ’20 were joined by Julianne Cook ’21 at SIFA North. No opponents would have guessed that Julianne is normally a saber fencer, as she looked at home on the strip with a foil in her hand, surprising other schools with her attacks and counters. Julie evaded bladework with ease to score some beautiful one light touches, and Elizabeth pushed school after school to the end of the strip with her devastating long attacks, bageling multiple opponents and going undefeated in the pool round. In the final direct team elimination, W&M lost to George Washington after a series of close bouts, and came home with the silver medal.  After the team round was over, Julie kept up the heat on her opponents, and took 3rd in the individual portion.



Over fall break, epeeists Ben Coleman ’19, Jonathan Griggs ’21, Greg Quigg ‘21, and Simon Yue ’22 traveled to UVA for the first tournament of the year: SIFA North.  Simon adjusted quickly to his first collegiate tournament, using his perfectly timed fleches to take opponents by surprise.  Jonathan and Greg switched off throughout the day, both using their height and the extra reach of their French grips to counterattack any opponent that got too close.  Ben struggled in close early bouts but finished strong with clutch victories over GWU in the final match of the day, ending with the squad narrowly missing out on bronze. The men are eager to practice, improve, and compete again at their next opportunity.


Priscilla Alves ’22, Mary Bea Halloran ’20, and Kirsten Clamann ’19 had a great weekend at SIFA North.  Priscilla and Mary Bea implemented everything they have been learning in their first-ever tournament.  Priscilla confounded the competition with her lefty fencing and agility, while Mary Bea stood her ground against experienced fencers.  Our women’s epee took third place this weekend, earning a medal.  Kirsten rocked individuals, taking second place. Women’s epee was grateful to be joined by alumnus Cecilia Hoover ’18 who was a great strip coach. She brought bagels and women’s épée gave her bagels to watch on the strip.



The men’s saber duo of Daniel Bachman ’20 and Ephraim Kozodoy ’21 returned to SIFA North, this time joined by freshman Nicko Boylan ’22.  Men’s saber opened the day with an easy win over Virginia Tech and a narrow loss to George Washington.  Against JMU our fencers fell behind early, but mounted an impressive comeback, sealed by Daniel’s tactical prowess and adaptability in the tie-breaking bout.  Ephraim used his speed and determination to catch his opponents off guard.  Nicko’s aggressive bladework in the box overpowered his opponents, carrying him to his first of many collegiate triumphs.  To wrap up the day, the men’s saber fencers rolled over Virginia Tech to claim the bronze medal.


Despite an unexpectedly early start time, our women’s saberists came prepared to win.  Chrysanthi Stevens ’19 drove her opponents to rush, before masterfully interrupting their attacks with smooth attacks in preparation or her swift parries.  Madeline Myers ’20 began the morning with a barrage of patient attacks, which became even harder to predict and avoid in her later bouts.  Riley Aiken ’20 surprised her opponents (and perhaps herself) with her brutally effective counterattacks, controlling her opponents’ distance throughout the day.  Their combined efforts lead them to an early victory over George Washington and the top seed out of pools.  Our women’s saber fencers claimed second place in the team DEs.  Despite fencing an entire foil tournament that morning, Julianne Cook ’21 rejoined the saber squad for the individual tournament, quickly reminding her opponents that her speed inside the box could best foil and saber fencers alike.



Thanks again to all our current fencers, alumni, and families who came to cheer on our team!