Fencing Team lunges into new season

Nshera Tutu and Rish Sinha

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The Girls and Boys Varsity Fencing Team has bonded this season, especially through mentorship seniors provided to underclassmen.

“Our team is a little young right now, but we’re working really well with the younger athletes and making sure they understand the basic fundamentals of footwork,” co-Captain Deveraux Mackey (12) said.

The seniors train alongside the underclassmen to help them learn about the sport, Fajul Rhyhan (12) said. During their practices, the team performs various conditioning exercises like suicides and sprints, he said.

“The seniors taught the underclassmen how to use the strip on which we fence and different fencing tactics,” Mackey said.

“The upperclassmen have been beyond helpful,” Samantha Tsai (10) said. “We didn’t have a head coach for a bit and all of them stepped up and helped all of us during meets as well as practice.”

Rhyhan hopes that as a senior, he has been a good mentor for the freshmen and a positive influence, he said. 

“It is intimidating for newer fencers to face opponents who have been fencing longer,” Mackey said.

“When you’re a freshman that is coming into a new sport, it is pretty nice to see people who were once in your position who are now winning their bouts,” Rhyhan said. It shows how over the course of the years, putting time into practicing can bring a lot of improvement, he said.

Moving forward, the team is excited to build its confidence as they practice more and compete in more meets, Mackey said.

Additionally, the team would like to improve small technical skills such as footwork, co-Captain Eunice Bae (12) said.

One obstacle the team had to overcome was that Varsity Fencing Head Coach Julio Benjamin missed the beginning of the season because of jury duty, Bae said.

“During that period we had to navigate and support each other,” Mackey said.

“We gave each other a ton of feedback after watching each other fence and I think it helped us get more comfortable around each other,” Tsai said.

“We really managed to pick up the slack and run practices independently, which helped with bonding,” Bae said.

“The seniors essentially became our coaches,” Tsai said. “They came up with warm ups and drills for us which all of us are really thankful for. Without them, we wouldn’t have a functioning team.”

“The new members have worked to become a part of the team, and we’ve had little trouble bringing them into the family,” Bae said.

“The time without our head coach underscores the team’s positive relationship between the underclassmen and upperclassmen,” Daniel Lee (11) said. “Hopefully, our determination sets the team up to continue our success through the rest of the season,” he said.