MACFA Championships 2020 Recap

Last weekend, the William & Mary men’s fencing team traveled to Drew University for MACFA Championships.  As a 3-weapon team, W&M finished 10th.  At the end of the event, the coaches from the other schools presented William & Mary with the team sportsmanship award.  Ironically, last year’s recipients failed to bring it to the tournament.  Nonetheless, our team was honored to receive the award.  Here are the results for each individual squad.


After their outing at MACFA BvC, Michael Zessin ’23, Matthew Dreher ’20, and Nickolas Boylan ’22 returned to New Jersey to take on opponents at MACFA Championships.  Michael fenced C strip and caught many opponents off-guard with his decisive bladework.  He improved throughout the day and had great success with his aggressive searches.  As B strip, Matthew used his long reach and quick footwork to catch his opponents.  After falling behind 0-4 against Army, Matthew launched 5 aggressive attacks, each slightly longer than the last, to complete his comeback victory.  Matthew fenced at every MACFA event this year and managed to make connections with fencers from many other schools.  A strip Nicko took 9th place among A strip fencers and managed to go toe to toe with numerous varsity opponents.  Steven Pressendo ’20 was unable to fence but provided vital strip coaching to our fencers pointing out weakness in opponents and helping our fencers to correct theirs.  Saber squad would also like to thank our alumni for their support and advice, which mean a lot to all members of the squad.  Men’s saber took 10th overall and is excited for the Virginia Cup!


Ben Witman ’20, Winston Palmer ’23, and Greg Quigg ’21 competed as épée squad for this tournament.  Ben started out the day off right, earning his first varsity win as an epeeist in priority against Yeshiva.  Ben used his parries to clear his opponents’ blades and score impressive touches against many varsity fencers.  Winston used his well-timed counterattacks and aggressive fencing style to his advantage at his first ever MACFA Championship, racking up another varsity win against Hunter College.  Greg used his explosive advance lunge to his advantage to get back-to-back wins against both Navy and Army’s A strips.  Overall, men’s épée had a solid performance at MACFA Championships, and are looking forward to fencing in the Virginia Cup!


Men’s foil put on a great performance at MACFA Championships, finishing 8th out of 15 total schools, placing them above several varsity schools.  Matthew Cusick ’20, Stuart Thomas ’21, and Faisal Al-Alami ’20 all fenced well and even going undefeated against schools like Army and Yeshiva.  They earned solid individual wins against varsity opponents, a sign of their continued improvement.  Overall, Men’s foil is looking strong heading into their next competition.


Victories over Varsity Fencers:

MS: Matthew Dreher, Nicko Boylan

MF: Matt Cusick, Faisal Al-Alami, Stuart Thomas

ME: Ben Witman, Winston Palmer


This was our final event of the year where our team will compete against varsity opponents.  Throughout the season, 23 different W&M fencers earned victories over varsity fencers, including 7 fencers who earned their first.  For the full list of W&M victories over varsity fencers since 2012, click here.


Our team will next compete on March 21 and 22, when we host the Virginia Cup and look to defend our state title.  We will hold the tournament in Adair gym, with men fencing on Saturday and women fencing on Sunday.  For more details, see our Facebook event or email


MACFA BvC 2020 Recap

Our men’s team traveled to NJIT for MACFA BvC.  Our final event of the MACFA regular season pitted our team against four varsity schools and the U.S. Military Academy.


Men’s saber left MACFA BvC with numerous varsity wins and a lot of valuable experience.  Matthew Dreher ’20, Michael Zessin ’23, and Nickolas Boylan ’22 took on NJIT, Stevens, Army, Yeshiva, and Hunter.  Matthew branched out from his usual weapon of foil and unleashed his unconventional but effective techniques to win bouts against Hunter, Yeshiva, Stevens, and Army.  In addition to scoring four varsity wins, Matthew kept the team’s spirits high with his positive attitude.  Michael immensely improved his fencing over the course of the year, and earned his first varsity win against Yeshiva through the use of his skillful pulls and quick blade work.  Nickolas won seven bouts, five of which came over varsity opponents.  Men’s saber is happy to have once again shown that in fencing, funding isn’t everything, and are excited for their next competition.


Zach Roberts ’22 and Zahl Azizi ’22 represented men’s foil for this tournament.  Despite an injury Zahl sustained early on, he took on a coaching role, helping to analyze the patterns of opponents and giving valuable bouting advice to Zach.  Through Orpheus’s swift feint-disengages, a strong defense, and the calculated coaching of Kraken, he pulled off multiple victories against varsity fencers.  Zach led men’s foil to a 3-2 victory over Hunter College, sealing the school-wide victory for W&M.  Despite the lack of a full squad going into this tournament, men’s foil is ready to take on MACFA Champs at full strength.


Roger White ’23, Winston Palmer ’23, Ben Witman ’20, and Pulak Raj ’20 had a great day representing Men’s épée at NJIT.  Winston fenced using his aggressive and overwhelming style to march his opponents down the strip.  Roger, fencing his first varsity opponents ever, won multiple varsity bouts by catching his opponents out with his explosive fleche.  Ben stepped in after Pulak fenced a few bouts against NJIT.  His strong parry 2s and stophits scored him many points and he improved constantly throughout the day.  After fencing all of their preliminary MACFA bouts, men’s épée is looking forward to making a statement at MACFA Champs.


After a weekend at home for the Conomikes-Gutenberg Memorial Open, our men’s team will head to Drew University on March 1 for the MACFA Championship!


Victories over Varsity Fencers (a full list of victories since 2012 can be found here)

MS: Matthew Dreher, Nicko Boylan, Michael Zessin (first)

MF: Zach Roberts (first)

ME: Roger White (first)


MACFA AvC 2020 Recap

Last weekend, our team kicked off the spring semester with a trip to Johns Hopkins for MACFA AvC.  We faced a full day of competition, with our fencers competing against nine different schools.  Here is how each squad did.


William & Mary Men’s Épée took MACFA by storm with a never-before-assembled roster of Pulak Raj ’20, Greg Quigg ’21, and Simon Yue ’22.  Greg displayed his increased arsenal of attacks and scored points on both the offensive and defensive ends of the strip.  However, in tight bouts, Greg’s stop hits and distance shined as he picked up many touches through manipulating his distance and his opponent’s perceived distance with him.  Simon fenced his first tournament in more than a year and surprised all his opponents with his controlled footwork and timing.  If an opponent dared to aggressively march him down, Simon would punish them immediately by attacking into their advance.  Pulak came into MACFA with low expectations due to his injured ankle, but he was able to take down his opponents with his crushing bladework and disengages.  He was unfortunately forced to medically withdraw towards the end of the day, but his teammates stepped up and nabbed some key wins. Men’s Épée scored multiple victories against every school, including the varsity schools, and is ready to keep up the momentum going into MACFA BvC

This tournament our Women’s Épée squad consisted of two fencers, Riley Aiken ’20 and Gwyneth Smith ’23.  Despite this being her first épée tournament, Riley performed very well, winning a bout against a varsity opponent and gaining points in all of her others through a mix of épée and saber technique.  This was only Gwyneth’s second épée tournament, but she managed to win three bouts, including her final one against a member of Drew’s varsity team.  Even though it was an unconventional squad, the two formed a good team and found it to be a successful tournament for Women’s Épée!


Men’s Foil, consisting of Matt Cusick ’20, Stuart Thomas ’21, and Faisal Al-Alami ’20, had an incredible performance at MACFA AvC.  Overall, Men’s Foil finished 6-1, triumphing over Cornell, Rowan, TCNJ, Rutgers, Lafayette, and Maryland.  Impressively, all three fencers won against members of varsity teams.  This result marks a significant improvement since the MACFA C round robin of last semester.  Men’s Foil will head into MACFA Champs with renewed confidence.

Women’s Foil had a great weekend at Johns Hopkins!  Senior Elizabeth Sutterlin ’20 was joined at her final MACFA meet by juniors Jennifer Chen ’21 and Julianne Cook ’21. The squad faced some of its most difficult schools in the morning but rallied their spirits and went undefeated in the afternoon.

Elizabeth started the day with a morning bagel over one of Lafayette’s fencers, and learned from mistakes in her early bouts to improve her game in the afternoon.  She was happiest with her victory over Rutgers’ A-strip.  She relied on her strong defense and effective bladework to win against a difficult opponent.  Julianne picked up some crucial wins against varsity opponents. Her parry-ripostes caught her opponents off guard and she had a great bout against a Rutgers fencer.  Jennifer was the star of the day, expertly controlling the pace of each of her bouts while her opponents struggled to keep up.  She made it clear she was a threat to the competition as she racked up wins over both Navy and Drew’s A-strips. (Having spectator support certainly may have helped!)

The ladies finished the day with a spectacular win over Drew.  Each of the fencers pulled off some key victories, bringing up the bout score until the match came down to the ninth bout.  The pressure didn’t bother Jennifer, who handily ended the day with a 5-0 bout victory.  W&M Women’s Foil was thrilled to earn a match victory over a varsity program and show them what we were capable of.

Special thanks to Seth Daily ’19 for strip coaching and providing advice throughout the day!


Michael Zessin ’23 and Matthew Dreher comprised the men’s saber team.  Michael had a respectable showing in his first MACFA tournament.  Over the course of the day with coaching from alumnus Robert Catlett ’18, MBA ’19, Michael’s fencing improved drastically with him scoring many touches with well-timed counterattacks and decisive actions in the box.  Matthew had finished the day with 7 wins, one being against a varsity fencer from Lafayette.  Though the competition was tough, men’s saber is eager for their next chance to compete.

Women’s Saber was excited to fence so many schools in our first tournament of the semester!  Madeline Myers ’20 used her distance and mental game to go from 1-4 to 5-4 in a bout against Navy.  She also won all three of her bouts against Haverford, a varsity school. Mary McCants ’21 used her off-the-line speed and tricky disengages to fool many opponents, including all three women from Navy.  Clara Magner ’23 continued to show improvement, building on her strong parry ripostes and even getting quick attacks as the day went on.  While Women’s Saber may be done with MACFA for the year, we’re still looking forward to the other tournaments the semester will bring!


Thanks to W&M Fencing alumni Robert Catlett, Seth Daily, and Will Bushman for coming to support our team!  Our team will be back in action on Sunday February 16, when our men’s squads head to NJIT for MACFA BvC.


Victories over Varsity Fencers (a full list of victories since 2012 can be found here)

  • MS: Matthew Dreher ’20
  • MF: Matt Cusick ’20, Faisal Al-Alami ’20, Stuart Thomas ’21
  • ME: Pulak Raj ’20, Greg Quigg ’21, Simon Yue ’22
  • WS: Madeline Myers ’20, Mary McCants ’21
  • WF: Elizabeth Sutterlin ’20, Jennifer Chen ’21, Julianne Cook ’21
  • WE: Riley Aiken ’20, Gwyneth Smith ’23

MACFA C Round-Robin Recap

Our team traveled to Haverford College for the first MACFA tournament of the season!  At MACFA C Round Robin, our team faced varsity opponents from Johns Hopkins and Haverford in addition to Navy’s team.


Elizabeth Sutterlin ’20 and Julianne Cook ’21 formed a composite team with one girl from Johns Hopkins University to round out the Women’s Foil squad. No one would have guessed that Julianne was returning to competition after a hand injury earlier this semester—she earned a varsity victory against a Haverford fencer, and won another tough bout over one of Navy’s fencers. Elizabeth came into the tournament hungry to see the results of her fencing’s growth since last year, and her performance did not disappoint! Elizabeth swept the Haverford squad and only dropped one bout all day. She is already looking forward to facing Hopkins’ full squad and a rematch with Navy’s A-strip at the next MACFA event in the spring.

Men’s Foil, consisting of Matt Cusick ’20, Stuart Thomas ’21, and Faisal Al-Alami ’20 fenced well at MACFA C Round Robin, coming close to beating both Navy and Haverford.  With overall scores of 4-5 against both Navy and Haverford, the tournament was full of fierce bouts where even a single victory could determine the match.  From an individual perspective, every fencer won bouts and Matt came close to winning two bouts against Johns Hopkins, only losing both 4-5. Stuart won a close bout 5-4 against one of Navy’s fencers.  Faisal’s best result came in a 5-1 victory over one of Haverford’s fencers.  The squad’s strong showings give Men’s Foil great confidence moving into next semester’s qualifiers.


Women’s Epee brought a two-person squad comprised of Morgan Blackwelder ’21 and saber fencer Madeline Meyers ’20.  Our fencers formed a composite squad with a fencer from Johns Hopkins and set out against a tough roster of opponents.  Morgan used her patient style of fencing to bait and pick off opponents with her counterattacks.  Madeline called upon her saber experience to come out aggressively.  Her speed threw off her opponents and scored many a touch.  Overall, they fenced well and look forward to their next chance to compete.

On a breezy November weekend, Gregory Quigg ’21, Benjamin Witman ’20, and Winston Palmer ventured North to Haverford, PA for the MACFA C Round-Robin Event, ready for action. Greg used his long reach and even longer experience to stay calm, cool, and collected against strong varsity squads, netting several victories again varsity and club teams alike. Ben, fueled by love for the sport, used his patience and mental fortitude to outlast opponents and make them beg for every point. Winston laughed at opposing fencer’s preps and attacked without hesitation, netting himself a clean, first varsity victory over Haverford. Armed with knowledge and more experience, men’s epee returned to William & Mary ready to prepare for the Spring.


Women’s Saber enjoyed their first MACFA tournament of the year, fencing both Haverford and Navy.  Clara Magner ’23 showed great improvement through her effective parry ripostes.  She earned her first ever tournament win and her first win over a varsity opponent this weekend!  Mary McCants ’21 used quick extensions to catch her opponents off guard.  Riley Aiken ’20 also fenced well, relying on strong parry ripostes and marching her opponents down with powerful long attacks.  The squad looks forward to attending more MACFAs in the spring, and continuing to improve while having fun.

After a series of illnesses and injuries sidelined most of the men’s saber squad, foilists Zahl Azizi ‘22 and Matt Dreher ‘20 joined Nicko Boylan ‘22 for the first MACFA of the year.  Despite having little saber experience prior to the event, both foil fencers secured wins over varsity opponents and carried great attitudes throughout the day.  Matt opened the day against a strong opponent who had previously earned bronze in MACFA Championships. Despite losing the bout 4-5, Matt’s crafty parry ripostes showed the other schools that he would be no easy opponent.  In his next bout, Matt found himself down 1-3.  Undeterred, he came storming back with a sequence of long marching attacks that earned him his first win over a varsity saber fencer.  Zahl’s bouts against Haverford showcased his aggression.  His attacks into preparation intimidated his opponents, which set Zahl up to patiently push his opponents and earn his first varsity win!  Against Johns Hopkins, Zahl surprised his opponents with speedy parry ripostes.  After triumphing over varsity opponents from both Haverford and Johns Hopkins, Zahl cemented his status as a W&M saber fencer when he too had to withdraw from the tournament due to injury.  Nicko’s best fencing came when he took on Navy.  Inside the box, Nicko’s varied setups allowed him to sneak attacks into preparations from unsuspecting opponents.  On defense, Nicko showed great control over the touches.  After repeatedly scoring with his trademark counterattacks, Nicko switched to fake counterattacks, sealing the bouts with his strong parries.


Victories over varsity fencers

  • MS: Zahl Azizi (first), Matt Dreher
  • MF: Matt Cusick, Stuart Thomas, Faisal Alami
  • ME: Winston Palmer (first), Greg Quigg
  • WS: Clara Magner (first), Riley Aiken, Mary McCants
  • WE: Morgan Blackwelder
  • WF: Elizabeth Sutterlin, Julianne Cook

SIFA North Recap

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.



This year, the team traveled to Sportsplex in Bucks County, Pennsylvania for the USACFC event. The team was able to bring solid squads and competed to the best of their abilities.
Men’s epee entered CFCs ready to take on many tough club opponents. Pulak Raj, Benjamin Coleman, and Greg Quigg traveled to Bucks County, Pennsylvania for their biggest tournament of the year. Benjamin Coleman, fencing at his last USACFC tournament had his best showing yet, finishing with an even record. He took down many of his toughest opponents with his wrist picks on his way to victory. Greg Quigg had a difficult start but was able to reign it in by the end and pull off big victories, including a close 5-4 bout with GTU. Pulak Raj fenced and beat many opponents he lost to earlier in the season. Overall, men’s epee showed how much they had improved over the entire season.Nikki “Forrest” Petzer ‘19, Sarah “Shaw” Sues ‘20, and Chrystanthi “Ursa” Stevens ‘19, had many successes at CFCs this past weekend. Women’s epee squad focused strongly on teamwork on comradery throughout the tournament, supporting one another through wins and losses. Forrest had a rough start during individuals, but really came into her own as the day progressed, winning 4 of her 5 final bouts, and going undefeated the following day. Shaw had an impressive performance on Saturday, beating several fencers with her counterattacks and powerful bladework. Making a much appreciated epee appearance, resident saberist, Ursa, earned many key victories throughout the tournament, surprising many opponents with her saber speed and flare.Foil
Men’s Foil placed 17th at USACFCs, defeating Stonybrook, Denison and Virginia Tech on the way. The three men’s foilists that fenced were Matt Cusick, Faisal Al-Alami and Stuart Thomas. All three fencers performed well and won plenty of bouts. Some notable victories included Matt Cusick beating Willem Joseph of Stonybrook 5-4, as Joseph had placed 3rd in individuals the previous day. Another highlight of the event was Stuart beating all three members of Virginia Tech, securing the victory over that school. Faisal had some highlights of his own, one of which was securing a win over Denison University in the 9th and final bout. Overall, all three men’s foilists fenced well, and because none of them are graduating this year, you can expect an even stronger performance next year.

Elizabeth Sutterlin ’20, Julie Vu ’20, and Julianne Cook ’21 showed up at CFCs ready to fence their hardest at the last tournament of the year. The squad had a tough start on Saturday, but the three women were able to improve their seeding in team DEs on Sunday to earn 18th place. In the second and third DE rounds, W&M women’s foil swept both UT Knoxville and Denison 5-0.
Elizabeth refused to be discouraged by the stiff competition from other schools’ A-strips, and she used Saturday’s results as even more motivation to fence her best on Sunday—and did she ever! She scored W&M’s only victory against UC Berkeley and went 4-4 against an internationally ranked fencer from Boston University. In that bout she fought until the end, losing the close match in priority but happy with her performance. Julie gave the tournament her all as it was her first and final CFCs, and she had a great record coming out of pools on Saturday. She earned W&M some clutch victories, and she was the 4th seeded B-strip from her pool and the 11th seeded B-strip across all pools. Julianne came in hot to CFCs, having just fenced at SIFA Champs the previous weekend, and scored a decisive 5-2 victory over Liberty on Saturday. She continued fighting hard on Sunday, getting some great wins over fencers from UT Knoxville and Denison.
CFCs ended on a high note and was a great testament to all the work the squad put in this year. Women’s foil has no graduating seniors this spring, and so they are all looking forward to next semester, where they will continue to fence and grow together.

Men’s saber had a remarkably average start to CFCs. Daniel “Maverick” Bachman ’20, Robert “Triton” Catlett ’18, and Steven “Zaqqum” Pressendo ’20 each went 6-6, each had a total indicator between 0 and 5, and placed 19th of 38 teams going into day two. The second day went much better, with each fencer getting a chance to put the squad on their back. After a narrow loss to Tennessee, the team went on a tear. Our squad rolled over Rochester and our friends from TCNJ, winning both matches 5-1. Next, our squad ran into a strong Boston University team. Zaqqum’s quick ripostes brought the team an early lead. After several tight bouts, our team found ourselves tied with BU 4-4 and Maverick heading up for the final bout. His surprising remises won the first few points, before the BU fencer brought the bout score to 4 all. In front of the gathering crowd, Maverick pulled his opponent short, clinching the school for our squad. In the final bout of his collegiate career, Triton faced the strong UMass A-strip who individually finished in 8th place the day before. Triton fell behind early but adjusted his box footwork to bring the bout score to 4 all. Triton took a risk by committing to his attack very early in the touch, winning the bout, and securing a team victory over UMass. After months of hard work, the men’s saber squad finished the season on a four-match winning streak.

Women’s sabre put on a strong show at CFCs. Madeline “Mercury” Myers ’20 confused opponents on defense, baiting them into attacking on her terms. Riley “Serenitea” Aiken ’20 used her quick, skillful circle parries to punish her opponents for falling short. Mary “Prim” McCants ’21 perfected her disengages, neatly avoiding her opponents’ parries. The squad really bonded over the long weekend, finishing out the season in good spirits.


SIFA Champs Recap

This March, the team had another opportunity to travel to UNCG again for the SIFA Champs and had a great time!
Men’s epee sent their veteran squad of Pulak Raj, Benjamin Coleman, and Greg Quigg to SIFA Champs to face off against all of SIFA men’s epee once again. Benjamin Coleman was able to dominate his opponent’s bladework and defeat many key opponents. Greg Quigg was able to collect many close victories including a few 5-4 matches. Pulak Raj returned to SIFA Champs to only drop a single bout in the group round. Men’s epee came up short against Georgia but were able to improve upon their performance from last year.
At SIFA Champs, women’s all senior epee squad leveraged their years of fencing experience to upset opponents and to achieve victory after victory. Charlotte Engel, Annette Kang, and Nikki Petzer worked together seamlessly to come out of pools as the number one seed with no losses. Entering DE’s, women’s epee faced challenging competition, and although they did not place, their confidence and ability continued to improve throughout the day. All of the women started off strong with a 9-0 victory over Eastern Carolina. Charlotte surprised opponents with her speed and footwork, winning many bouts throughout the day. Following up her impressive VA Cup performance, Annette won the majority of her bouts, building upon her already strong parries and intimidating opponents along the way. Nikki performed strongly throughout the day, dropping very few bouts with her attention to distance and strong extensions.
Men’s Foil performed exceptionally well at SIFA Champs, finishing in 2nd place overall. Matt Cusick, Faisal Al-Alami and Ben Witman all fenced well and won most of their bouts. Some particular highlights included Matt Cusick going almost undefeated in pools, losing only one bout. Faisal Al-Alami had some impressive bouts where he fleched his way to victory. Most impressive of all, however, was when Ben Witman beat a composite team’s skilled A strip 5-2. Matt struggled to beat him and Faisal even fell short, losing to him, so Ben’s dominating victory was extra impressive.
Women’s Foil did not place as well as Men’s, but all three fencers (Julianne Cook, Sarah Sues and Katherine English) fenced well and won bouts, never being defeated by another school without a fight. Sarah in particular was impressive when she beat multiple competent opponents with her counter-attacks, as she was coming from an Epee background. Julianne and Katie both fenced very well, which is also good to see because Julianne has a Saber background and this was Katie’s first fencing tournament.
Nicko Boylan ’22, Robert Catlett ’18, and Steven Pressendo ’20 had a dominant showing in the morning. In pools, the squad finished 4-1 with multiple 9-0 wins and a narrow 5-4 loss to Appalachian State. We earned a bye in the first round and won our second DE by a combined score of 25-6. Our squad later dropped matches to Appalachian State and Clemson, finishing 4th in the conference.
Nicko’s first bout of the day featured a counterattack so smooth that at first even the referee didn’t realize the action succeeded. Gero combined his signature counterattacks with powerful parries to win comfortable victories over Virginia Tech and JMU. In his most impressive bout of the day, Nicko faced off against a semi-finalist from last week’s VA Cup, where Nicko’s speedy footwork won the bout in less than a minute. Robert’s clean box actions and endless marching attacks brought early victories over JMU and George Washington University. In a rematch of last week’s 3rd place bout, Robert bested VT’s A strip, this time with a parry riposte while hanging off the end of the strip. Robert shined under pressure, beating a C-rated fencer from Appalachian State and scoring another win over Appalachian State to keep our team alive in the DE round. Steven had one of his top performances of the season. After dropping his first pool bout, he went on a winning streak and finished pools 14-1. He had a great time reuniting with (and beating) his former teammates from other schools.
Woman’s sabre had a bizarre experience at SIFA championships this year. Coincidently, they fenced the same three schools that were in our initial pool to decide the direct elimination seats. Even though they had to fence the same schools twice, our women kept a positive attitude and fenced with their A-game. Women’s sabre placed in 5th. Chrysanthi Stevens led her team that day in her last collegiate sabre tournament. She was focused not only on her own fencing but the fencing and morale of her teammates. She only dropped one bout in direct eliminations. Moreover, in a clutch bout against a JMU saberist that she had been fencing on an even-level with for four years, Chrysanthi pulled out a well-timed parry riposte. The school score was 4-4, the bout score was 4-4, and that last parry-riposte won the direction elimination for William & Mary. Madeline Myers pushed herself that day. She learned to fence smart against her opponents, and she changed her box-actions according to the referee’s calls. She proved to be one of the best left-hand saberists that day. Against the same senior, left-handed JMU saberist that Chrysanthi fenced, Madeline beat her twice. Mary McCants was a compact ball of positivity. She maintained her high spirits throughout the entire day. In the last bout of the day, she won the bout that led us to beat Georgia Tech 5-3 with her quick defensive actions. Woman’s sabre performed with grace and vigor in one of the last tournaments of the year.