After a year and a half of COVID-19, the William & Mary fencing team finally returned to collegiate fencing in late November, participating in the MACFA C Round Robin at Haverford. After socially-distanced practices and many tournaments being postponed or cancelled, the team was incredibly excited and grateful to have the opportunity to fence again. Facing off against Haverford, Navy, and Johns Hopkins University, W&M brought six squads in both genders. Each individual squad’s recap is as follows:
It was the first collegiate tournament ever for Jake “Merlin” Schapiro ’24, Nolan “Titan” Coughlin ’25, and Henry “Falcon” Hermes ’25 of Men’s Épée, but you wouldn’t know it from the way they fenced at MACFA Crr. With his explosive lunges and relentless pushing, Titan crushed it against four varsity fencers, two from Johns Hopkins and two from Haverford. Falcon, who only began fencing seriously at William and Mary, continued his streak of having won a bout at every tournament he’s ever fenced in, making use of his long reach and long legs. Merlin snagged two varsity wins, both against Haverford, including one that went into priority; employing quick parries and lots of energy, Merlin was able to bring it home for the last WM bout of the tournament. Having acquired lots of experience, Men’s Épée is ready and excited to fence next semester.
For the first tournament of the semester, the women’s épée squad consisted of two fencers, Gwyneth “Penne” Smith ‘23 and Katie “Sparrow” Richardson ‘24. This was Sparrow’s first ever collegiate tournament and Penne’s first since early 2020. The two were happy to get back on the strip and grateful for the opportunity to fence after a year of COVID. While Johns Hopkins University proved to be a tough opponent that they struggled against in the first round, both fencers found victories against Navy in the second. In the third, using precise footwork and a well-placed foot touch, Sparrow achieved two varsity wins against Haverford fencers – an amazing accomplishment for her first-ever tournament! Penne didn’t get a varsity win this time around but came close to it, bringing a Haverford fencer to 4-4. They worked well together as a team and are looking forward to competing in more MACFAs in the spring!
Men’s Sabre, comprised of Nickolas “Gero” Boylan, Michael “Slate McCoy: Noir Detective” Zessin, and Connor “Lancelot” Cassidy stormed MACFA Crr. At his first collegiate tournament Lancelot earned his first two varsity wins Vs. Haverford and Hopkins making use of his swift box actions and sharp decision making. Slate slid onto the strip and scored many touches, slicing through opponents parries with sensational blade actions, and saucy footwork. Despite an injured ankle, Gero was able to surprise opponents with his sly counter attacks and steadfast parries earning a varsity win against Hopkins. William and Mary men’s sabre learned a lot of great experience at this tournament and are excited for our tournaments next semester.
Women’s Saber, comprised of Cassandra “Calypso” Brackett and Clara “Jooniper” Magner, stormed MACFA Crr. At her first tournament, Calypso displayed a lot aggression and solid blade work, but sadly was injured as she was getting into her groove. Jooniper bravely avenged her fallen teammate and finished put the tournament alone, continuing to score against varsity fencers. This was a great learning experience for all and they’re hungry for more tournaments in the next semester.
Men’s foil squad, Zahl ‘Kraken’ Azizi, Jeffery ‘Ragnarök’ Gu, and Nick ‘Osiris’ Reeder, stormed Haverford for the first collegiate tournament of the tournament. Ragnarök settled in quickly, stomping across tournament, securing his first Collegiate win and then some. Kraken, smiling through sickness, slew opponents with consistent distance and powerful attacks. Osiris seized his first collegiate win with dramatic feints and precise parries.
The women’s foil squad may be made up of only two members but what they lacked in numbers they made up for in heart. Rachel “Tex” Vasan ‘24 and Lucy “Gecko” Kasper ‘24. While alternating between strip coaching/cheering on each other and fencing, both women were active and focused throughout the whole tournament. Tex displayed incredible adaptability throughout the tournament and Gecko used speedy attacks against her opponents. Together the two fenced valiantly against JH, beat the Navy team with just enough wins, and gave Haverford a run for their money with 2 varsity wins from Gecko and excellent fencing from Tex. Both look forward for future events to come!
The team looks forward to the spring, where the tournament season will kick off in full swing! Stay tuned for more recaps and check us out on Facebook and Instagram!