We kicked off our tournament season with a trip to George Washington University for SIFA North. We brought squads filled with new faces excited to get their first taste of collegiate competition!
Last week, our returning women’s foilists Jennifer “Muse” Chen ’21 and Elizabeth “Bolt” Sutterlin ’20 arrived at SIFA North, eager to begin a new year of competition. They were joined for the day by another foilist from Georgetown to round out the squad. Although they met the day of the competition, the three girls gelled immediately and started the day with victories over UVA and GWU, coming in first place out of pools. In the DE round, Bolt and Muse each made adjustments from the morning, and widened their victory over UVA from 5-4 to 5-2. After some close bouts in a tense final match against GWU, women’s foil narrowly lost to take 2nd place in the competition. Both W&M fencers were determined to end the day on a high note and dominated the individual event. Bolt took home first place and Muse earned second.
Men’s foil had a strong showing at SIFA North, earning 2nd place overall. Matt “Riker” Dreher ’20, Zahl “Kraken” Azizi ’22, and Zach “Orpheus” Roberts ’22 all fenced well with coaching from Matt “Mamba” Cusick ’20. After going back and forth in pools against schools such as Georgetown and Virginia Tech, men’s foil moved into the direct elimination bracket as the third seed. They took down composite teams from JMU/GWU and VT/Georgetown before ultimately losing to Georgetown’s A squad in the finals. They plan to build on this promising result to surpass the 2nd place they achieved at SIFA Championships last year.
Brandon “Chappa” Mullins ’20, Michael “Slate McCoy: Noir Detective” Zessin ’23, and Nicko “Gero” Boylan ’22, comprised the men’s saber team. At his first ever tournament, Slate fought through illness to score many touches with well-timed counterattacks and decisive actions in the box. Chappa’s speedy parry ripostes and quick footwork carried him to success throughout the day. Gero finished the day with 14 wins and third place in the individual tournament. Though the competition was tough, men’s saber is eager for their next chance to compete.
Women’s saber had a lot of fun and earned a second-place finish to open the competitive season! Clara “Jooniper” Magner ’23 had a great time at her first tournament. She constantly improved, growing more confident and aggressive throughout the day. Jooniper also found great success by relying on her parry ripostes. Mary “Prim” McCants ’21 had a great day, highlighted by coming in second in individuals! She also had excellent parry ripostes and continued to use her sneaky disengages to great effect. Rounding out the squad, Madeline “Mercury” Myers ’20 kept her actions clean, scoring touches with her trademark counterattacks. She also showed personal improvement with wins over opponents she struggled against at previous events. Women’s saber fenced well and are excited for future competitions.
This weekend, the all-freshman women’s epee squad made their collegiate tournament debut. The group, comprised of Anna “Pepper” Hoskins ’23, Aoife “Tetra” Hufford ’23, and Gwyneth “Penne” Smith ’23, went up against a mix of both experienced and novice fencers and finished the tournament in third place. The women beat UVA, George Washington, and UNCG in the round of pools, and dominated UNCG again in DEs. Penne surprised her opponents with her speed and strength, quickly winning bout after bout. Tetra, utilizing parries and feints, drew out wrist shots to finish bouts, and Pepper, despite this being her first fencing tournament ever, quickly adapted to the tournament atmosphere and surpassed the ability of rival teams. The women established their ability and look forward to their next chance to showcase their potential.
Men’s epee sent a strong roster of Ben “Boxer” Witman ’20, Winston “Archer” Palmer ’23, and Roger “Schwartz” White ’23 into SIFA North, ready to fence their first ever epee tournaments. Boxer, a former foilist was able to establish control over his opponents’ blade using his strong parry 2’s and well-timed fleches. Archer used his seemingly endless energy to constantly out-tempo and out-speed his opponents to pick up many key victories. Schwartz, with a strong grasp of the fundamentals, parried anyone that tried to straight attack him and also scored big wins for William & Mary. All three men’s epeeists had many close 4-4 bouts that could have gone either way and SIFA North was overall a great learning experience for the three new epeeists.