All others foiled, WA’s fencing team brings home state championship

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All others foiled, WA’s fencing team brings home state championship

John Vassiliou, Editor

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The WA Fencing Team recently brought home its first state championship, despite the club being founded relatively recently in the 2014-2015 school year.

The club’s captain, Senior Brian Wang, was one of the members of the Men’s Foil Squad, which won the championship title in its respective category.

“Being there with my teammates was a good experience, plus I know fencers from other schools so it’s a great chance to get to see them and, get together and to see them and to have a good competition just to fence. It’s not always about just about the competition, it’s also a lot about being there as a teammate, a friend, and just to have a good time,” Wang said. 

WA’s Fencing Team went up against various opponents in a bracket system, which began against Brookline High School, and ended with a final victory in the men’s foil against Lexington High School.

“During the championship you could really feel the spirit coming from all the teams and it was just a really exciting atmosphere, it felt really good to be there, and to win first place, and to be able to watch other teams face off as well,” said Anthony Ma, the club’s president.

It was by no means a simple task leading up to the final round. Fencers had to face their opponents in multiple bouts, with five points per round. The athletes then had to continue until they had successfully won five bouts, which would allow their team to progress to the next opponent. WA faced Brookline, Concord-Carslisle, and finally Lexington before winning the championship in the mens’ foil.

Other than the arduous tournament system, students have had to put in their efforts for committing to weekly meets, and gaining the discipline necessary to be up to snuff in the matches. The team’s increased discipline this year was one of the determining factors in their success.

“Last year, it was all over the place. People didn’t show up, Anthony would send emails every Tuesday before Wednesday to remind them. But this year the discipline is better, people want to show up, they want to come to practice, and they want to fence, so we see passion there,” Wang said.

Problems with previous years have mostly subsided, with a consistent amount of membership allowing the team to be able to work together and form a good team chemistry.

“For the most part, everyone was motivated to improve. […]  maybe some of the members may not have been as serious about the club when it first started this year, but later as the year went on people got more and more into fencing as a sport, and they started taking it more seriously,” Ma said.

However, one of the problems still facing the club was the lack of female membership. Not having full women’s epee and saber squads prevented those groups, men or women, from competing at the state championships. Despite having tripled their total membership from five to fifteen, the lack of women in the club has been detrimental to the teams ability to compete.

“We have three girls and in order to have a complete team we need at least nine girls and nine boys. So our problem was really in the women’s fencing. In the men’s fencing we were actually all complete; [it was just] the women’s foil, epee and saber either had incomplete or just no one on the team. So that was our problem for if we wanted to try to have the whole team move up,” Ma said.

The WA fencing team meets every Wednesday after school in the cafeteria, all students are welcome despite skill level, and are encouraged by both Wang and Ma to come and give it a shot.

“There’s a mix, you can come to the fencing club with any skill level. Most of our fencers aren’t that experienced. If they have fenced before it would have been a long time since they last [did], so they’re kind of rusty […] You can come if you don’t have any experience with fencing, and we can provide you with equipment at first, and all the things that you need for the sport,” Ma said.