MACFA C Round Robin 2022 Recap

Women’s foil after a good tournament

Women’s Foil

Women’s foil absolutely crushed it in our first Collegiate tournament of the year! As a team they defeated 4 out of 5 varsity teams they fenced against. Debbie “Prism” Ho killed it with ferocity in her eyes in her first ever collegiate tournament with 8 varsity wins, and Angela “Luna” Liu displayed incredible talent and poise and she seamlessly obtained 6 varsity wins. Lucia (Gecko) Kasper utilized her lizard like sticky feet in defeating 12 varsity opponents. Overall women’s foil kicked some varsity butt.

Foil squad

Men’s Foil

Men’s foil started the year strong for the Macfa C Round-Robin. Nick ‘Osiris’ Reeder ‘24, Frank ‘The Judge, Jury, and Executioner’ Prather ‘25, and Zeerick ‘Coyote’ Malik ‘23 brought a strong performance to the first collegiate tournament of the year. Both Judge and Coyote had exceptional performances at their first ever collegiate competitions. Judge’s steadfast defense and long reach locked out many opponents. Using his consistent parries and solid defense to extend the bout, he brought multiple varsity A Strips to 4-4 situations. Coyote demonstrated his offensive skill while pushing his opponents and striking while they were off balance. Using this quick attack and timing, he secured his first varsity win against Navy and again against Swarthmore. Osiris took charge as the A strip, setting distance traps and lighting parry reposts to take down his opponents. With his high intensity and transition focused fencing, he swept both Swarthmore and Navy, as well as securing a win against UMD. As the semester comes to a close, men’s foil have the wind at their backs and are excited to take on the next set of collegiate tournaments.

Women’s Epee with Pulak Raj, an alumni

Women’s Epee

The women’s epee squad at MACFA C Round Robin 2022 was composed of Gwyneth “Penne” Smith ‘23 and Rebekah “Opal” Gresham ‘25. While initially meant to be a three person squad, the third member had to drop out at the last minute. Despite missing a person, Gwyneth and Rebekah persevered and even managed to beat two schools (Haverford and Navy) outright, even while forfeiting three bouts. Rebekah only dropped a single bout the whole day, and otherwise fenced her way through the other schools, amassing varsity wins. Gwyneth was proud of her performance, especially her victory over a Johns Hopkins fencer. They were assisted by Pulak “Basque” Raj ‘20, an alumni who came to visit and provided invaluable wisdom to the epee squad. Overall, it was a successful tournament for the two and they are looking forward to competing in more next semester!

Men’s Epee with Pulak Raj

Men’s Epee

At the first tournament of the season, Jake “Merlin” Schapiro ’24,  Henry “Falcon” Hermes ’25, Nathaniel “Pluto” Ingle ‘25, and Winston “Archer” Palmer ‘23 of Men’s Épée performed great. The squad defeated Haverford, a varisty team, and Swarthmore. With his swift disengages and ability to adjust, Merlin came back from a 4-0 deficit to win a bout against a University of Maryland fencer. Falcon wowed all with a beautiful prime against Haverford. At his first ever collegiate tournament, Pluto took advantage of his long legs and made explosive lunges. Aggressive as always, Archer overwhelmed his opponents. This squad has a fantastic future of tournaments ahead.

Sabre Squad

Women’s Sabre

Women’s Sabre, composed of Abigail “Valkyrie” Salzberg ’24 and Kelley “Ophelia” Wang ’23, put up a good fight at D’Arnstein Invintaional. Valkyrie, at her first collegiate tournament of the semester, and Ophelia, at their first collegiate tournament ever, both scored a varsity win against Haverford. Valkyrie also scored a win against Bryn Mawr. As a team, women’s saber overall tied with Swathmore, an amazingly rare result. Great performance and great learning experience, this event has encouraged them to keep on fencing.

Sabre squad outside the tournament venue

Men’s Sabre

Men’s Sabre, composed of Connor “Lancelot” Cassidy, Evan “Duke” Jackson, and Devon “Quasar” Keesee, performed very well at the tournament. Lancelot swept all three Haverford fencers, and went on to beat one Navy and Swarthmore fencer each. He also managed to get an impressive flunge on the A-strip for Swarthmore. Duke and Quasar did exceptionally well at their first collegiate tournament, both getting their first varsity wins. Duke beat a fencer from Swarthmore through his use of quick box actions and clean footwork, along with coming extremely close to winning many other bouts. Quasar won two bouts against Swarthmore, making an impressive use of pulls to surprise opponents and get many touches.


MACFA AVC 2022 Recap

William & Mary’s first tournament of the second semester kicked off with a bang. Traveling to Johns Hopkins, the team had a full days worth of competition against five different schools, here’s how they did:


Men’s Epee, composed of a never before seen team of Armin Bagha, Winston Palmer, Henry Hermes, and Nolan Coughlin, went to work at AVC, with Winston’s incredible flicks, Nolan’s lighting speed fleches, Henry’s precise counter attacks, and Armin’s coaching and encouragement, the four showed the various club and varsity teams that they were competitors, beating Rowan, Cornell, and Lafayette, finishing the day with an overall positive record for their first competition of the semester. The future looks bright for this squad.


Men’s foil, Zahl “Kraken” Azizi ’22, Jeffrey “Ragnarök” Gu ’25, and Zach “Orpheus” Roberts ’22 were fired up and ready to compete at Johns Hopkins this weekend. Ragnarök showcased his formidable speed and bout control, scoring critical victories as the squad’s vanguard. Kraken demonstrated a powerful offense and broke through the defenses of his opponents, while defending himself through proper distance. Orpheus took a defensive approach, drawing opponents in before striking decisively, though he also made use of disengages to effectively misdirect the opposition. All members of men’s foil took home varsity wins and decisively routed Cornell and Rowan. They will keep their fire burning strong as they prepare for MACFA BvC next weekend.


Mens Sabre, composed of Troy “Priam” Cullen, Connor “Lancelot” Cassidy, and Matthew “Flash” Lee fought hard at MACFA AvC. True to his kingly name, Priam scored a shocking win against Rutgers University, countering his opponent with royal authority. Ever the galavanting knight, Lancelot charged his opponents down the strip and secured some individual wins to boot. Speeding off the line faster than the eye can see, Flash also scored a few individual wins. Despite some minor injuries and weariness, the trio had great fun and gained some excellent experience against overwhelmingly superior foes. Who knows what the next tournament will hold for them?


MACFA C Round Robin 2021 Recap

After a year and a half of COVID-19, the William & Mary fencing team finally returned to collegiate fencing in late November, participating in the MACFA C Round Robin at Haverford. After socially-distanced practices and many tournaments being postponed or cancelled, the team was incredibly excited and grateful to have the opportunity to fence again. Facing off against Haverford, Navy, and Johns Hopkins University, W&M brought six squads in both genders. Each individual squad’s recap is as follows:

Men’s Épée

It was the first collegiate tournament ever for Jake “Merlin” Schapiro ’24, Nolan “Titan” Coughlin ’25, and Henry “Falcon” Hermes ’25 of Men’s Épée, but you wouldn’t know it from the way they fenced at MACFA Crr. With his explosive lunges and relentless pushing, Titan crushed it against four varsity fencers, two from Johns Hopkins and two from Haverford. Falcon, who only began fencing seriously at William and Mary, continued his streak of having won a bout at every tournament he’s ever fenced in, making use of his long reach and long legs. Merlin snagged two varsity wins, both against Haverford, including one that went into priority; employing quick parries and lots of energy, Merlin was able to bring it home for the last WM bout of the tournament. Having acquired lots of experience, Men’s Épée is ready and excited to fence next semester.

Women’s Épée

For the first tournament of the semester, the women’s épée squad consisted of two fencers, Gwyneth “Penne” Smith ‘23 and Katie “Sparrow” Richardson ‘24. This was Sparrow’s first ever collegiate tournament and Penne’s first since early 2020. The two were happy to get back on the strip and grateful for the opportunity to fence after a year of COVID. While Johns Hopkins University proved to be a tough opponent that they struggled against in the first round, both fencers found victories against Navy in the second. In the third, using precise footwork and a well-placed foot touch, Sparrow achieved two varsity wins against Haverford fencers – an amazing accomplishment for her first-ever tournament! Penne didn’t get a varsity win this time around but came close to it, bringing a Haverford fencer to 4-4. They worked well together as a team and are looking forward to competing in more MACFAs in the spring!

Men’s Saber

Men’s Sabre, comprised of Nickolas “Gero” Boylan, Michael “Slate McCoy: Noir Detective” Zessin, and Connor “Lancelot” Cassidy stormed MACFA Crr. At his first collegiate tournament Lancelot earned his first two varsity wins Vs. Haverford and Hopkins making use of his swift box actions and sharp decision making. Slate slid onto the strip and scored many touches, slicing through opponents parries with sensational blade actions, and saucy footwork. Despite an injured ankle, Gero was able to surprise opponents with his sly counter attacks and steadfast parries earning a varsity win against Hopkins. William and Mary men’s sabre learned a lot of great experience at this tournament and are excited for our tournaments next semester.

Women’s Saber

Women’s Saber, comprised of Cassandra “Calypso” Brackett and Clara “Jooniper” Magner, stormed MACFA Crr. At her first tournament, Calypso displayed a lot aggression and solid blade work, but sadly was injured as she was getting into her groove. Jooniper bravely avenged her fallen teammate and finished put the tournament alone, continuing to score against varsity fencers. This was a great learning experience for all and they’re hungry for more tournaments in the next semester.

Men’s Foil

Men’s foil squad, Zahl ‘Kraken’ Azizi, Jeffery ‘Ragnarök’ Gu, and Nick ‘Osiris’ Reeder, stormed Haverford for the first collegiate tournament of the tournament. Ragnarök settled in quickly, stomping across tournament, securing his first Collegiate win and then some. Kraken, smiling through sickness, slew opponents with consistent distance and powerful attacks. Osiris seized his first collegiate win with dramatic feints and precise parries.

Women’s Foil

The women’s foil squad may be made up of only two members but what they lacked in numbers they made up for in heart. Rachel “Tex” Vasan ‘24 and Lucy “Gecko” Kasper ‘24. While alternating between strip coaching/cheering on each other and fencing, both women were active and focused throughout the whole tournament. Tex displayed incredible adaptability throughout the tournament and Gecko used speedy attacks against her opponents. Together the two fenced valiantly against JH, beat the Navy team with just enough wins, and gave Haverford a run for their money with 2 varsity wins from Gecko and excellent fencing from Tex. Both look forward for future events to come!

The team looks forward to the spring, where the tournament season will kick off in full swing! Stay tuned for more recaps and check us out on Facebook and Instagram!


Senior Sendoff and End of Spring 2021

(Seniors receiving their gifts, from left to right: Morgan “Ghost” Blackwelder, Eva-Mariam “Willow” Ssekibenga, Greg “Twain” Quigg, Cassandra “Kalypso” Brackett, Jennifer “Muse” Chen, and Mary “Prim” Mccants, ’21)

As May draws to a close, it brings with it both the end of William and Mary’s spring semester and the graduation of the Class of 2021 seniors. The spring season for the William and Mary fencing club is also over, and marks the first season in many years in which the team has not attended a single tournament, or even fenced a single bout. However, as vaccinations become more widespread and COVID-19 restrictions ease, it seems as though the team will return to a normal fencing schedule in the fall. At the very least practices will return to their normal schedule, and once travel restrictions are lifted, hopefully the William and Mary fencing team will be on their way to competing again as well!

IMG_2963 (Seniors distributing advice, from left to right: Cassandra “Kalypso” Brackett, Stuart “Zest” Thomas, Greg “Twain” Quigg, and Julianne “Hazel” Cook, ’21)

Right now, though, it is most important to recognize the contributions of the seniors on the team who have now graduated. On the last day of classes, the team gathered together to celebrate our seniors and also the end of the season as a whole. Organized by our social chairs, each senior received a personal gift to thank them for their time on the team. After receiving their gifts, they administered advice to individual members of their squads, before addressing the team as a whole. It was a wonderful senior send-off before moving on to the rigors of exams and graduation, and voting in our new executive board.

To the class of 2021: thank you for the time you have spent with the team! William and Mary fencing wishes you the best of luck in your future endeavors whether in Williamsburg and beyond. And to everyone else reading, whether a member of the team, alumnus, or anyone else: thank you for supporting the William and Mary fencing team throughout one of its most unusual semesters. Admittedly there has not been much content to update this blog with for the past year, but look forward to the fall where we will hopefully be able to resume our normal activities with lots of fencing to follow!

For more information, contact us on Facebook or send us an email at!


Start of spring 2021 semester and team update

As the spring 2021 semester begins and more students begin to return to campus, the William & Mary fencing club is also returning to action! Practices started up this past weekend now that most juniors and sophomores have returned to campus, and both sessions of practice were well-attended. While there have been few changes to team protocol regarding social distancing and mask-wearing, team members are grateful to be able to practice at all and hopeful for the gradual return of tournaments and bouting.


The fencing team is still practicing every Friday (4 – 5:30pm) and Saturday (2 – 3:30pm) in the basement of Kaplan Arena. And just like last semester, practices are still 45 minutes long and consisting of only eight people at a time. The members of the team have had plenty of time to get used to this new format and are now taking advantage of the time to improve footwork, stamina, and control. The addition of new practice equipment that the team acquired last semester, like the targets, has also made practice easier and more enjoyable. As well as that, the club has also managed to attract new members since the fall who, despite the limitations placed on practices, are eager to learn more about the fencing and become part of the team.


Ultimately, it is a shame that this update could not be a longer one. Usually the spring would be full of tournaments and travel, and new and old members alike would practice every day to hone their fencing skills. While it is unfortunate that this semester be different, the fencing team is still doing its best to stay as active and close-knit as ever this semester. Small-group social events, bigs and littles, and Zoom calls between current fencers and alumni attempt to fill the gaps left by COVID-19. It is yet another strange semester coming off the heels of a very strange year, but we will do what we can to preserve William & Mary’s fencing community!


For more information on the William & Mary fencing team, email or visit us on Facebook!


COVID-19 Update and Mid-season Recap

This has certainly been one of the most unusual semesters experienced by the William & Mary fencing team in many years. Normally, this post would be a recap of one of the many tournaments taking place in the fall. However, given that all tournaments are suspended until further notice, it will instead provide an update on how the team has been functioning amidst the pandemic. While this year’s schedule is obviously very different from those past, the William & Mary fencing team has continued to operate to the best of its abilities. The team has gained a number of new recruits with a wide range of experience, and practices are still happening this semester, albeit with new COVID-19 restrictions in place.


Practices are still held in Kaplan as usual, now taking place every Friday (from 4-5:30pm) and Saturday (2-3:30pm). As the fencing room can only support eight people social distancing at one time, they have been divided into 45-minute sessions in order to allow more members the opportunity to practice. This means that members must sign-up in advance every week, and there are only a limited amount of slots available. As well as that, masks must be worn the duration of practice, and the room must undergo frequent sanitation.


However, this has yet to deter the team, as new and old members alike continue to show up ready to learn at every practice. In line with new COVID-19 guidelines, bouts are no longer allowed, so practice has adjusted accordingly. The team now focuses more on conditioning and footwork, and getting in shape for the (hopefully) upcoming tournaments next semester. As well as that, the team’s recently-acquired targets have helped fencers with their bladework and point control. Remember, never sacrifice precision and accuracy for speed!


Though this semester was likely not what anyone had anticipated, the team has done its best to adjust, and the bonds between teammates and the dedication to the sport remain strong. Hopefully the fencing team will return strong next semester with regular practices and tournaments resumed; for now, please enjoy this unconventional recap during unprecedented times!


For more information about William & Mary fencing team and how we’re operating this semester, contact us at or check us out on Facebook!


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