The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Fencing kicks off 2023 at Penn Invite

The Leopards faced formidable competition at the invitational. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

Following offseason training in January, the Lafayette fencing team participated in an invitational hosted by the University of Pennsylvania last Saturday. Battling against esteemed athletic programs including Duke, UPenn and the University of North Carolina, the team recorded multiple bout wins across both the men’s and women’s divisions. 

A fencing match is decided by the overall score from three rounds: a foil round, an epee round and a saber round. Nine bouts take place, and an overall match score is then recorded. Foil, epee and saber refer to different styles of fencing with distinct types of swords. 

The women’s fencing team was able to pick up one win against Haverford, winning 15-12 in a close battle. While both the women’s and men’s teams were unable to secure any other team wins throughout the tournament, the women’s team came close to defeating the New Jersey Institute of Technology, falling 17-10. The men’s team fell in a close battle against both Haverford and Johns Hopkins. 

Senior captain Danielle Long recorded the most bout wins throughout the tournament, finishing with eight wins. Notably, she recorded a win against UNC, one of the most competitive teams in the tournament.  

“This was definitely our hardest tournament of the season and there were a lot of tough schools, so it wasn’t our best performance,” Long said. “Everyone was able to show up and fence their best even if there weren’t as many wins as normal.”

Against UNC, junior saber Amanda Manubag also won two bouts, although Lafayette lost 21-6 overall. Manubag picked up seven bout wins in total, while sophomore foil Anna Silver and freshman epee Emily Wells each won six bouts. 

“A lot of us put up a really good fight, and this tournament will definitely help us move forward to our ultimate goal of qualifying for regionals,” Long said. 

On the men’s side, sophomore foil Benito Hergert recorded eight bout wins. Freshman foil Alex Brown won five bouts, while senior saber Matthew Decker, sophomore epee Antoine Mannes and freshman epee Tyler Morse won four bouts.

“Even if we didn’t win, I thought one of our first matches against Johns Hopkins was a fun match. I’ve seen them fence at other tournaments before, so it was cool seeing their unique style of fencing,” Morse said. “We hope to place in the top three in the MACFA [Mid Atlantic College Fencing Association] championship and leave a mark on the league.”

Freshman Christopher Rafferty, who competed in his first college fencing tournament last Saturday, said it was exciting to compete against such highly ranked teams.

“I was rusty going into the competition after a six-month hiatus, so being with the team overtime will get me back into shape,” he said.

Alongside a new coaching change – Dayn DeRose was welcomed as head coach in October – two new fencers joined the team over break. Freshman Connor Taillon, who will fence saber, is one of them. 

The team now looks ahead to their next dual meet against Wagner College, which will take place on Feb. 5. Until then, the team looks to work together to improve both the physical and mental side of fencing.

“Fencing is an individual sport, so you have to change how you approach each person as they have different needs. One person might need specific fencing technique advice, while another person may need advice with the pressure involved with a bout,” Long said. “Just being encouraging is the most important thing during our practices.” 

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Andreas Pelekis, News Editor

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