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Fencing gets second in state tournament

Fencing reaches goal with eight fencers placing in top eight in their divisions

Robert Pettas

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Survive and advance: a fitting description for not only college basketball’s March madness, but the Illinois state fencing meet as well, where the Trevians took second.The meet toosk place on Jan. 28 at Glenbrook South High School. New Trier sent their Varsity team and a few JV players to the meet.

Eight New Trier fencers placed in the top eight of their pools.

In men’s foil, Aryoman Patel placed 5th and Alex Loundy placed 8th. Samantha Fountain took 8th in women’s foil.

Matthew Kim was the only New Trier fencer to place in men’s sabre, earning 2nd. Danielle Sirivat was 6th and Juliette Speck was 7th in women’s sabre.

Some of the team’s most impressive performances in the tournament came from Katie Shia and Lisa Vetyuhova, who placed 2nd and 3rd, respectively, in women’s epee.

“It is the culmination of all the meets, it all builds up to this moment,” said Sophomore Sophie Beitel.

The drama of the state meet is not overstated by Beitel, as New Trier will send eight fencers in each category, along with many other schools to make up a total of about 50 fencers competing to be in the top eight in each category.

The fencers in the top eight received medals and earn “points” for world championship events. The state meet is also an individual competition, which differs from the regular tournaments, which are dual meets.

Meaning, teams of three fencers compete in a round robin with teams from other schools. The winners in these meets determine the overall season championship team.

However, in the state meet, the fencers are first put into a pool of five, and based on those results they will be ranked and put into a bracket. From then on, it is single elimination, the first fencer to get five touches survives, and advances.

Understandably, these sudden death rules make the matches much more intense, and the fencers must do their best to deal with the pressure and anxiety.

Senior Daniel Fay said, “At practice we try to treat it like any other meet and not to psych ourselves out, but I know from past experience that when we show up and competition begins the intensity becomes impossible to ignore, and you try to let it fuel you.”

Fay is one of New Trier’s top fencers in the foil category and “is a true student of fencing. He trains all year, not just during the high school season. He is easy to coach, and he moves very well on the strip,” said assistant coach Don Badowski.

As far as his game plan going into the meet, Fay says, “I focus on using my timing and blade work to keep larger opponents guessing. Although it’s an individual sport it is impossible to mention any personal accomplishments without acknowledging the support and help of the team and coaches.”

Although the state meet is an individual competition, coaches and teammates are important to success, according to Junior Liam Guthrie.

“They are there to remind you of your strengths and weaknesses, give moral support, and give corrections before you get on the strip.”

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Fencing gets second in state tournament