SIFA 2024

2.17.24 – 2.18.24

Women’s Epee

On February 17, William & Mary women’s epee defended their title as 2022 and 2023 SIFA champions. William & Mary women’s epee started Saturday out strong. In their individual event, Rebekah ‘Opal’ Gresham ’25 Anna ‘Lotus’ Saal ’27 both came out of pools with 5 victories each while Sarah ‘Tarot’ Gresham ’25 swept her pool with 6 victories. These three strong records allowed all three wepeeists to advance into the direct elimination round of only eight fencers. In the round of 8, tragic William on Mary violence occurred when Opal defeated Lotus to advance to the semi-finals and face Tarot. Tarot went on to the finals where she gained a decisive victory and the gold medal. Wepee’s strong performance in the individual event awarded them first seed in the team event, advancing them directly into the semifinals. From there, they defeated the University of Florida reaching the necessary 5 victories to advance with only 1 loss. Then, Opal, Tarot, and Lotus fought back from an initial 2 losses against the University of Georgia to win 5-3 in the finals. As if that weren’t impressive enough, this isn’t the first SIFA victory for W&M women’s epee. Opal and Tarot have led the team to victory for the third year in a row. Wepee is returning to Williamsburg victorious, with a bronze and gold medal in the individual event and 3 gold medals for their team performance.

Women’s Foil

On February 18, the Women’s Foil team won first place at the SIFA championships. Sarah Terpenning ‘27 and Kate Ingle ‘27 tied for 12th place, while Lucy Kasper ‘24 took gold in an intense bout against an Emory fencer. Following individual tournaments, the three girls pooled their skills together in the team tournaments. They managed to keep their cool as they fought through tough competitors, illegal calls, and unfair referees, ultimately leading to a victorious win for gold. This resulted in an overall SIFA win for the William & Mary Women’s Foil team, making it the first wins for freshmen Sarah and Kate, as well as senior Lucy Kasper’s final medal at SIFA champs.

Women’s Sabre

Women’s Sabre was victorious as they flew down the strips at SIFA! Karino Gibson ‘24, Angela ‘Luna’ Liu ‘25, and Debbie ‘Prism’ Ho ‘26, primarily foilists, tried their hand at sabre for the first time in a collegiate tournament. They each claimed their first sabre varsity wins.  The three fencers developed their understanding and sabre senses throughout the tournament and ultimately came in fifth place overall! 

Men’s Epee

Men’s Épée, comprised of Jake Schapiro ’24, Nolan Coughlin ’25, Armin Bagha ’24, took home gold at SIFA this year! Individually, Jake won fifth place, Armin came in second, and Nolan got first, with Nolan and Armin fencing off in an epic finals match. Deploying his parry 4-riposte against fleches, Jake won bouts against Emory and Kennesaw State. Nolan used his lightning reflexes to hit his opponents before they even had time to react. Coming through at the end, Armin used his speed and long reach to win the tie-breaking match against Kennesaw to get the team first place. Men’s Épée is thrilled with their victory and eagerly looking forward to MACFA Champs. 

Men’s Foil

Men’s foil brought the heat to Atlanta and the gold back to Williamsburg. Nick ‘Osiris’ Reeder ‘24, Jack ‘Yeti’ Bratton ‘24, and Thomas ‘Vice’ Mahnken ‘24 came first in Men’s Foil contributing to the overall William & Mary SIFA win. Yeti’s decisive distance also delivered him the individual gold medal! Osiris’s methodical marches cleared the way to a 5th place finish in individuals. Vice’s powerful parries clutched the final win against Emory to bring William & Mary gold. Men’s foil is looking forward to a rest week followed by MACFA champs!

Men’s Sabre

Men’s Sabre started off the season with an impressive performance in Atlanta earning each squad member their first medal at a collegiate tournament! Consisting of Connor “Lancelot” Cassidy ‘25, Evan “Duke” Jackson ‘25, and Ryan “Chronos” Rauscher ‘27, William and Mary’s Sabre squad fought tooth and nail against their fellow southern schools for a second place finish in the Southern Intercollegiate Fencing Association. Earlier in the day, Lance’s signature lockouts scored point after point for the team securing the second seed for the team event. In individuals, Duke’s tactical decision making and expert box actions earned him an 8th place finish, and Chronos’ lightning fast reflexes, Olympian-level blade work, and superhuman agility triumphantly carried him to the podium, bringing home bronze. Combined, the three showed off men’s Sabre as a powerful presence on the strip and a definite force to be reckoned with!


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.


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.

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!