William & Mary kept up their dominance at the annual Virginia Cup, hosted here at the College this year. Due to a year of hard work, the Cup remains on our trophy case until next year. We did exceptionally in the women’s events, winning first place in women’s foil and saber and second place in épée. Our ladies dominated the podium in the individual events as well. The men won second place in every weapon. This consistency landed them in first place overall. In all six weapons, we finished off strong in first place. Read on for a detailed recap of the tournament:
This March, our men’s squads drove to Drew University for MACFA Champs, the final tournament of the MACFA season!
Men’s epee sent an experienced roster of Pulak Raj , Ben Coleman, and Greg Quigg into MACFA Champs, ready to take on every opponent the trio faced in MACFA this year. Greg used his well-timed remises to take his opponents by surprise and racked up many upset victories. Ben had a rough start to the day but was able to come back later in the day and pick his opponents wrists to pick up key victories. Pulak used his bladework to hold back his opponents and also continued to the individual round. Men’s epee beat many varsity fencers and is ready to dominate at SIFA.
Men’s Foil fenced well at MACFA Champs. Matthew won multiple bouts, beating notable schools such as Army, Maryland and Yeshiva. Faisal and Ben also won bouts against multiple schools, including some intense 4 to 4 scoreline matches. Although none of men’s foil placed into the direct elimination round, they all placed well within their respective positions.
Daniel Bachman ’20, Robert Catlett ’18, and StevenPressendo ’20 approached their hardest competition of the year with focus and determination. Daniel opened the day on an incredible note, winning early bouts against Stevens Institute of Technology, Rutgers, Hunter College, Yeshiva, Maryland, and TCNJ, all before the lunch break. His sneaky reprises and aggressive beats established early leads that his opponents couldn’t overcome. Robert’s constant energy kept his teammates positive throughout the day. Additionally, his patient marches upset several varsity opponents from Lafayette, Hunter, and Yeshiva. Despite having a rough day, Steven’s active bladework still bested the Drew A strip in front of a large home crowd- Steven’s 6th victory over Drew fencers this season.
Thanks again to those who came to cheer us on last weekend!
Our next event will be the Conomikes-Gutenberg Open (March 16-17) at William & Mary. Our next collegiate tournament will be the VA Cup right here at W&M (Sunday March 23-24). Our full schedule is posted on our website: https://fencing.pages.wm.edu/schedule/
Past recaps can also be found on our website: https://fencing.pages.wm.edu/news/
Feel free to join our Alumni Facebook Group! https://www.facebook.com/groups/266119290117623/
This February, our men’s squads drove to the New Jersery Institute of Technology for MACFA BvC, the second tournament of the spring semester!
Men’s epee went into MACFA BvC sporting the same roster as last week and had another impressive showing. Pulak Raj ’20, Ben Coleman ’19, and Greg Quigg ’21 picked up many big wins, fighting for a high seed at MACFA Champs, including a very closely contested 5-4 victory over Army. Ben didn’t make any of his bouts easy for his opponents, punishing fencers that walk too close into his distance. Pulak and Greg both scored key victories against varsity schools and learned a lot about their opponents through their bouts. Men’s epee looks forward to using what they’ve learned at MACFA Champs and will be practicing in preparation for their strongest competition yet.
Men’s foil fought formidable competition during the MACFA BvC tournament. Representing the squad were Matthew Dreher ’19, Ben Witman ’20, and Stuart Thomas ’21. The trio faced varsity and club fencers from five different schools, scoring a win against one. It was in this round against Yeshiva University that all three foilists won their first bouts against varisty fencers, with Ben coming back from a 0-4 deficit and Stuart winning 5-0. Men’s foil also won two bouts against both Army and Hunter College. The squad looks forward to competing in their next tournament, the MACFA Championsip.
Daniel Bachman ’20, Robert Catlett ’18, Steven Pressendo ’20 finished the MACFA regular season with their strongest results to date. Daniel improved throughout the day, culminating in a dominant performance against Army. His aggressive bladework overwhelmed his opponents, and his surprise flunge helped Daniel complete his clean sweep over West Point. Robert showcased his adaptability by winning bouts in a variety of styles. His speedy box footwork carried him to comfortable wins over varsity programs like Hunter College and Yeshiva. Against strong competition from Steven’s IT, Robert’s signature patient offense helped him post one of his best records of the season. Steven had an incredibly successful day, posting winning records against all schools except the regular season champions- NJIT. Even though he couldn’t replicate his undefeated record against NJIT, he did still score a win over the reigning individual saber champion. The saber squad hopes to build on this weekend’s success as they get ready for the upcoming MACFA Championship!
Thanks again to our alumni, current fencers, and families who came to cheer us on!
Individual Varsity Victories:
- MS: Steven Pressendo, Robert Catlett, Daniel Bachman
- MF: Ben Witman (first), Stuart Thomas (first), Matt Dreher (first)
- ME: Pulak Raj, Greg Quigg
Last weekend, our team drove to Drew University for MACFA AvC, the first tournament of the spring semester!
MACFA AvC was an exciting tournament that pushed the limits of every men’s epee fencer. It was a day of unpredictable bouts for Greg Quigg ’21, coming back from two 4-2 deficits to win, picking up his first varsity victory. Ben Coleman ’19 scored many points with his patented wrist picks and picked his opponents apart with patient feints and disengages. Pulak Raj ’20 crushed his opponents with his strong parry-ripostes with many key victories over varsity fencers. Overall, men’s epee learned a lot from MACFA AvC and is ready to practice and improve for their next competition.
William & Mary boasted two veteran women’s epeeists, Charlotte Engel ’19 and Nikki Petzer ’19 at MACFA AvC this past weekend. Resident saberist, Madeline Myers ’20 joined the squad, adapting her saber skills to excel in épée for the event. Women’s épée made an impressive appearance, earning victories against four out of the five schools they fenced. Notably, our squad soundly beat Drew’s and CCNY’s varsity teams with a score of 6-3 and 7-2, respectively. Using her crafty blade work and keen ability to gauge distance, Charlotte decisively won bouts against three varsity fencers. Likewise, Madeline made a dominating epee debut, utilizing her aggression and remarkable agility to beat three varsity fencers as well. Nikki came away with six victories against varsity fencers, using her height and newfound aggression to fend off opponents and win bouts.
Men’s foil had a good showing at the most recent MACFA qualifier. Representing men’s foil were Matt Cusick ’20, Ben Witman ’20, and Faisal Al-Alami ’20. All three fencers faced fierce competition, but won many bouts nonetheless. A particularly notable moment came when Ben beat one of Cornell’s fencers. This was exciting because Cornell’s fencers are highly trained and have a great deal of experience. Men’s foil also had good showings against the other schools, especially Drew and TCNJ. Foil’s performance at this most recent MACFA is an indicator that we will be ready to stand up to the challenge of the MACFA Championship.
Last weekend, W&M women’s foil was represented by Elizabeth Sutterlin ’20, Julie Vu ’20, and Julianne Cook ’21. The girls had a tough first round against Navy, but Julie earned two clutch victories, setting a great note for the rest of the day. W&M beat TCNJ, and Elizabeth and Julie went on to each earn victories against Drew’s fencers later that morning. Julianne usually fences saber, but she proved just how much her foil game had improved when she earned her first varsity victory in foil against CCNY! She then handily took down another Drew girl later in the day, when W&M had the chance to fence their non-starting squads. Elizabeth’s favorite bout of the day was her 5-2 victory against a Hopkins fencer. While they won’t be competing at MACFA BvC or the championships, women’s foil is hungry for more competition, and will be eagerly training hard in preparation for Virginia Cup next month.
Last weekend, Daniel Bachman ’19 and Steven Pressendo ’20 joined with foilist Matt Dreher ’19 to put on a strong performance at Drew. Daniel’s trademark aggression carried him to victories up and down the strip. He combined his aggressive starts with patient marches that overwhelmed opponents. When his opponents futilely tried to counterattack, Daniel showcased his adaptability by sealing bouts with beautiful counter-ripostes. Matt opened the tournament on a high note, with unconventional counterattacks that foiled the attacks of Lafayette’s top fencer. His fencing improved drastically throughout the day, leading to respectable showings and even a victory in his first saber tournament. Coming into the event, Steven had beaten fencers from every MACFA school except for Drew. On Sunday, that changed. He emerged with a 5-1 record against the host school, highlighted by a decisive win over Drew’s top fencer and a 5-0 score in the final bout of the day.
Women’s saber brought it to MACFA AvC! Chrysanthi Stevens ’19 fenced smart. Against aggressive women squads, her favorite move was to make her opponent fall short. She maintained high spirits throughout the entire tournament and ended the day winning the last bout against a Drew fencer 5-4. Riley Aiken ’20 was incredibly dynamic and aggressive. Her fast attacks and parries caught her opponents off guard. The highlight of her day was winning a bout 5-4 against a varsity fencer from Johns Hopkins. Mary McCants ’21 confidently read her opponents in every one of her bouts. She scored some amazing counter attacks, feints, and pulls. Moreover, she masterfully implemented her teammates advice. Women’s saber preformed incredibly well, and more importantly, had a great time.
Thanks again to our alumni, current fencers, and families who came to cheer us on last weekend!
Victories against Varisty Fencers:
- MS: Steven Pressendo, Daniel Bachman
- MF: Matt Cusick, Faisal Alami
- ME: Ben Coleman, Pulak Raj, Greg Quigg (first)
- WS: Mary McCants, Riley Aiken (first), Chrysanthi Stevens
- WF: Elizabeth Sutterlin, Julie Vu, Julianne Cook (first)
- WE: Charlotte Engel (first), Madeline Myers, Nikki Petzer
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!
With classes back in session, the fencing team can hardly wait to start practicing again. But they didn’t leave their blades in their bags all summer. Our returning members attended other fencing clubs to keep their skills sharp in cities throughout the country and abroad. This summer, our fencers went as far as Russia and Jordan to keep up with practicing.
[Image: A fencing club in St. Petersburg, Russia, where Elizabeth Sutterlin (Foil ’20) practiced during her summer study abroad program.]
Many of our most recent alumni are also still involved in fencing, too. Many have chosen to continue at their nearby clubs, throughout Virginia and the greater east coast. Gabriella Carney (Saber ’18) qualified for the Puerto Rican national team at the end of the spring semester. She then competed in the Pan-American Championships in Cuba over the summer, where she faced off against opponents like U.S. Olympian Dagmara Wozniak! After competing, she returned to the U.S. and began a coaching position at the Virginia Academy of Fencing.
[Images: Gabriella Carney (Saber ’18) in Puerto Rico and Cuba.]
Practice starts on Monday, and our fencers couldn’t be more thrilled to come back with fresh fighting spirit and teach each other the lessons they’ve learned this summer. See you all on the strip soon!
As the year comes to a close, we would like to thank everyone who has supported us throughout the 2017-2018 season: the alumni who came to tournaments to coach and cheer us on, the families who hosted us when we traveled this year, and everyone who has offered their time and guidance to the team. William & Mary Fencing team would not have enjoyed such a successful year without each and every one of you.
William and Mary closed out a great season last weekend at the Virginia Cup, hosted this year at James Madison University. All our hard work this year paid off, and the Cup remains (newly polished) in our trophy case until next year. We swept the women’s events, winning first place in women’s epee, foil, and saber, and our ladies dominated the podium in the individual events as well. Our men’s saber squad also took home gold, while men’s foil and epee each placed third against stiff competition. Read on for a detailed recap of the tournament:
This past weekend, William and Mary’s Women’s Epee continued on a tradition of winning 1st place for the past 4 years in Virginia Cup. Both Ruoying Hao ’18 and Cecilia Hoover ’18 fenced their final collegiate tournament, along with Nicole Petzer ’19, and swept the podium, with Cecilia earning 1st, Ruoying 2nd, and Nicole 3rd. Nicole took advantage of her height in her final DE, flustering her opponent with fast counterattacks to the wrist, and handily defeating her. Ruoying stumped her opponents with her sheer aggression, ending the day undefeated in pools. Cecilia also ended the day undefeated, with her first DE finishing in three flicks to the foot, and her final DE ending with her knocking out Ruoying for 1st. Our women’s epee is proud to have won all three podium places for the past four years, and looks forward to the underclassmen to continue the tradition!
Women’s foil was poised and focused the whole day, and it took them all the way to the top, as Alex Marto ‘18, Elizabeth Sutterlin ‘20, and Julie Vu ‘20 wrecked every school that faced them. Julie used her quick reactions to change tempo and score impressive remises on her opponents throughout the day, dropping only two bouts in the team round. Julie’s fencing especially shone in the round against Liberty, as she swept the school and defeated their tall left-handed fencer with her own lefty tricks. After fencing their hardest in the team round, the sophomore girls faced off in individuals. It was like our weekly practice had been transplanted to JMU, as each girl praised the other after a great touch and laughed with each other through the bout. They ended with a warm hug, sending Elizabeth into the semifinals, where Elizabeth’s intense focus, timing, and effective disengages brought her to victory. Exhausted but happy, she pushed through the final bout to take second place on the pedestal. She was a fountain of wisdom and encouragement through both the women’s and men’s day. Her dedication to her teammates, impeccable skills, and her love of fencing gives graduating senior Alex great joy to leave foil squad with her taking the reins.
Alex went into her last tournament ready to tear it up, and tear it up she did. She kept her feet moving, throwing off many of her opponents with her energy and fantastic distance. After facing the first seed in semifinals, she faced off for third place. In the final bout of her college career, she was fencing against a tall, left-handed, Liberty fencer who had beat her earlier in the day. Throughout the bout she was down by 3 touches at the end of the first and second periods, finally tying it up with 9 seconds left. With the support of her president, co-captains, and teammates, Alex won her final DE 8-7, with a single light touch in overtime with 15 seconds left on the clock. It was a victorious way to give a last salute to everything this team has given her. She wants to thank everyone on this team, past and present. She can’t be more proud to have seen her squad grow so much. Ét La!
Women’s saber came out in full force for this year’s Virginia Cup. Madeline Myers ’20 valiantly led Riley Aiken ’20 and Mary McCants ’21 to victory, while Emory Magner ’19 defected to JMU to fill out a composite squad. Madeline showed her new counter-attacks and quick pulls off the line in individuals, earning her a well-deserved silver medal. Riley, making her first tournament appearance since SIFA North proved that she had earned her spot, deftly beating opponents throughout the day. Mary has become a veteran of the strip and reminded the JMU team that though small she may be, she is fierce. Emory, despite fencing for the other team, never pulled a punch and fenced hard, showing grace in both victory and defeat as is expected of a W&M fencer. W&M took first overall, and Madeline, Riley, and Mary medaled for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place, respectively. Following the competition, Emory was welcomed back to WM with open arms, and a spirited volley of scrimmage bouts earned us the friendship of JMU women’s saber.
The men’s saber team took to the strips for the last time this year against our Virginia rivals. Steven Pressendo ’19, Eric Alpert ’18, and Robert Catlett ’18 aimed for nothing short of glory throughout the day. Despite other teams having a few strong individuals, the depth of talent on the William and Mary team won bout after bout. Pushing through injuries, Steven’s tactical knowledge guided him and his teammates through every school. Eric bested even the strongest of opponents in the team rounds and helped secure early leads. Robert took full advantage of new techniques and a floor that wasn’t made out of concrete to punish opponents with patient long attacks. In the individual rounds, Steven faced a former teammate of his but took the edge with a combination of smart and dynamic fencing, earning gold at the end of the day. Eric took his last stand for WM in the bronze medal bout and pushed through exhaustion to score vital touches that earned him the medal. Robert drew an unlucky bracket placement but fenced amazingly coming in 5th place. The men ended the year on a high note, taking team and individual glory back to Williamsburg.
Our men’s epee squad of Pulak Raj ’20, William Bushman ’18 and Benjamin Coleman ’19 once again stormed into VA Cup with their eye(s) on the title. This year’s competition was very different from last year’s men’s epee competition with many skilled freshmen joining the other universities. Ben used his strong en garde and parries to stand as the brick wall most fencers could not get past. He picked up key victories against some nationally rated fencers. Will was on fire, and won too many bouts to count. Nothing could stop his excellent distance and long fleches. Pulak used his classic fencing style consisting of quick beats to the foot and attacking into preparation to help propel the men’s epee squad into 3rd place at the VA Cup. Pulak also placed 3rd in the individual round. Overall, the competition at VA Cup was exponentially stronger but William and Mary’s men’s epeeists pulled through with a strong finish and is optimistic for the squad’s future.
Faisal Alami ’20 led Stuart Thomas ’21 and Ben Witman ’20 to JMU to defend the Virginia Cup. Men’s foil won third place overall. Stuart’s aggression and well timed attacks in prep were instrumental in his victories. Ben’s patience on the defense gave him some dangerous parry 4-ripostes. Faisal’s disengages and counter attacks helped him place 5th in the individual round. Men’s foil did great all around and this tournament topped off a year’s work of achievement quite nicely.
Traveling and competing at huge tournaments like USACFC would not be feasible without the generosity of our alumni and families. In honor of One Tribe One Day, we challenge you to join us in giving back and paying it forward, to ensure that William & Mary can continue to fence schools from all over the country. Click here to give now and support the campaign for William & Mary! Donations can be made either to the team directly (code 4348) or to the Peter Conomikes Memorial Endowment Fund (code 3745).
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.
Last weekend the team traveled to UNCG once again for SIFA Championships. We had a historic showing with a number of team and personal bests throughout the weekend, and many fencers agree that this was one of the most fun and intense competitions we’ve been to in a long while.
Veteran epees Will Bushman (’18) and Ben Coleman (’19), joined by the usually saber Ephraim Kozodoy (’21), swept into SIFA ready to prove their mettle. Will led the charge with his trusty french grips and beautiful counterattacks to elegantly evade his opponents. Ben, the only returning member of last year’s SIFA squad, realized how far his footwork and parries had come since by sweeping the same ECU squad that had previously befuddled him. Ephraim put the speed he learned as a saber to good use pressuring his foes, winning the moral victory through an actual victory over another saber turned epee. Though questionable organizational decisions cut the men just shy of proving their true merit in DEs, they left with heads held high, even hungrier for the challenges of tournaments to come.
Nikki Petzer, (’19) and Annette Kang, (’19), led by Cecilia Hoover, (’18) took SIFA by storm, winning 3rd place overall. Annette steadily improved throughout the day and her carefully calculated counterattacks led her opponents to ruin, and her well-timed fleches surprised even the veterans of the competition. Nikki, after fencing someone who exactly matched her style and technique, won the key victory of Florida by running the clock down to priority and then running down her opponent before getting the touch with a second remaining. Cecilia came to take names, and served several bagels to both Florida and JMU, ending the day almost undefeated.
SIFA Champs was a great time for the men’s foil squad. The men’s foil squad came in to the tournament seeded 7th out of 11th and finished in 6th, only one bout away from 5th. This change in rank might not be massive, but it is still a sign of success and improvement. All three fencers: Matt Cusick (’20), Ben Witman (’20), and Faisal Alami (’20) won their fair share of bouts and contributed to the squad’s success. By working together, and with the help of the women’s foil squad, they were able to beat ECU 5-4 and UGA 5-3 in pools, and then U Florida 5-3 in the DE stage. All three men’s foilists learned a lot from SIFA Champs and it is a marker of great things to come.
Women’s foil finished in 5th overall at UNC- Greensboro this weekend. Freshmen Molly McCue (‘21) and Polala Wang (‘21) made their debut at the SIFA champs circuit lead by Senior Alex Marto (‘18). The first round of pools of the day were neck-and-neck against Florida state, GA Tech, and George Washington University. Each pool resulted in either 5 to 4 win/losses with each fencer fighting for every touch. Molly approached each point with patience and grace with her parry-ripostes. She bagled GA Tech twice that day. She clinched the DE victory against that school, moving us to the next round of the bracket. Polala was a firecracker of energy, intimidating most of her opponents with her aggressive attacks and landing most of her touches with ferocity. Alex never gave up and didn’t drop a single bout in the final DE against University of Georgia. The last bout was the optimal mix of perfecting timing and patience with a single light touch, winning it for women’s foil and securing 5th place in the tournament. Alex’s glorious roar echoed the hard work the squad achieved at this tournament. Molly, Polala, and Alex are more than proud of what all of them had achieved and are excited for future tournaments. Way to go girls!
Men’s saber came into the day with Eric Alpert (’18) leading Robert Catlett (’18), and Andre Coscia (’19), a squad that last competed together nearly two years ago at the VA Cup. Together, the trio proved to be quite the team to beat, earning early wins against very tough opponents. Eric’s patience and smart fencing left even some of the best fencers in the room staggering. Robert’s relentless long attacks proved to be more than a match for nearly every opponent who he marched down the strip. Andre found his footwork halfway through the day and showed that he has a tremendous ability to learn and grow in the middle of tournaments. The men finished the day in second place, a new high for the squad and a great accomplishment for the fencers.
The women of the saber squad might not have been the tallest in the room but they more than made up for it in determination and skill. Chrysanthi Stevens (’19), Emory Magner (’19), and freshman Mary McCants (’21) brought everything they had to a weekend of fencing. Chrysanthi found her rhythm in strong parries with quick ripostes. Emory stole points from opponents with good extensions off the line and managed to overcome nerves to win key 4-4 bouts. Mary upset opponents twice her high with aggressive attacks and quick feet that carried her through the long day. In the end, the strong showing got the girls to a fifth place finish, a testament to all of the work and care they bring to the sport every week.
William & Mary’s fencers are looking forward to competing at USACFC next weekend!
As most of campus headed home for spring break, the men of W&M Fencing drove up to Lafayette College in Pennsylvania to compete in MACFA Championships. The team was supported by parents and alumni who came to watch the competition, and finished the day with an impressive showing, earning the spot of top club team in the league for men’s saber. Two of our sophomores, Pulak Raj (Epee) and Steven Pressendo (Saber), qualified for the individual round. Recap and highlights follow below:
Saber squad had an incredibly successful weekend. Our saberists finished 6 places higher than they did last year, earning top club honors along the way. Troy Cullen went undefeated against club opponents. His upset victory over Hunter College distinguished William & Mary as one of only two teams that beat Hunter’s saber squad. No set captured Daniel Bachman’s improvement more than his bout against Navy. He surprised his opponent with his patience, racking up quick ripostes. After lulling his opponent into a sense of security, he exploded off the line and completed W&M’s clean sweep over Navy. Steven Pressendo started the day solidly, upsetting both Steven’s IT and NJIT. He closed out the group stage with a number of come-from-behind victories to earn his place in the individual round. With his last victory over NJIT, Steven completed his perfect record against Division I opponents this season.
Men’s epee sent a young squad of Pulak Raj, Ben Coleman and Jonathan Griggs, who entered MACFA Champs undaunted by their low preliminary seeding and demonstrated why William and Mary should not be underestimated. Freshman Jonathan Griggs, fencing in his first large tournament, used his unparalleled reach and point control to set up attacks from a long distance and picked up huge wins that led to victories over varsity schools. Junior Ben Coleman, the veteran of the group, used his new style using active footwork and wrist feints to pick apart his opponents and won many key bouts. Sophomore Pulak Raj used his patience and parries to crush his opponents, even pulling of a 3-2 win over TCNJ’s A strip. Pulak also advanced to the individual tournament as the 4th seed on A strip. All in all, men’s epee had a great performance at MACFA Champs, finishing not only above their preliminary seeding, but also four places better than last year.
MACFA Champs was an exciting event that tested all the men’s foil fencers. All were able to get an understanding of how prepared they needed to be to perform at our expected levels. Despite many defeats, the squad stayed positive and focused on how they could improve bout to bout. Fortunately, Alumnus George Bognar (Foil ’15) came to the event and provided valuable insights for the squad. At the end of the day, they were all exhausted, but had learned a lot and enjoyed the tournament. Ben Witman ’20 came very close to winning a 4-5 bout, and won 2 or 3 bouts 5-0 by forfeit! Both Ben Clark ’21 and Matt Cusick ’20 managed 1 bout win against different schools. It was a tough competition, but men’s foil is ready to work to improve.