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 captain looks for administrative support

The fencing team practices at 6 a.m. due to facility conflicts. (Photo by Rick Smith for GoLeopards)

While multiple sports teams have found success this year, one group is in need of some more support from the athletics department, according to one of its captains. Senior co-captain of the fencing team Amanda Manubag said that a variety of issues have plagued her team in recent seasons.

Manubag has expressed concern that the only time the team can practice without sharing the court in Kirby Sports Center is 6 a.m. According to Manubag, the team used to practice between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m., but then the practice moved to 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., when it would often have to share the space with the cheer and track teams.

“Obviously nobody was really happy with that because we would like to have our own practice space,” Manubag said. 

Transportation for the team has also been spotty; its reserved bus did not show up for its first meet of the year, according to Manubag. The coaches had to drive the team in vans for that competition. 

Also, the team does not have a locker room to store its gear, according to Manubag.

“We have in between two doors at the back of Kirby and we’re expected to keep our bags away from the front of the door, but there’s really nowhere else to put it,” Manubag said.

The team was also pushed to the squash courts for practice at one point last year, Manubag noted. She said that the space was cramped and slippery, which meant the team was limited in the drills it could do. The team could not practice in the Kamine Gym because club teams had reserved the spot already.

“That was probably one of the more annoying times, when we would have to be like, ‘Okay, where are we having practice today? What’s it going to be today?’” Manubag said. “We’re all fighting over this one practice spot and I feel like it’s a matter of who speaks the loudest.”

Nevertheless, Manubag said that she is finding a “silver lining.”

“I get it out of the way and then we have lift right after and my entire day is free now,” Manubag said. “There isn’t really any excuse for anyone to skip practice because you’re not having office hours at seven in the morning. So it really gives everyone the incentive that the only reason you’re not coming is either you’re sick or you overslept.” 

Manubag said that senior associate athletic director for facilities and operations Andrew Foster used to oversee the team, but senior associate athletic director for administration LaKitha Murray recently took over the role.

“She’s been helpful,” Manubag said. “I think she’s still getting a hang of things, but we’re looking forward to see how she’s going to be working with us later on.”

“Kirby Sports Center, like most of our facilities, is a shared space,” director of athletic communications Phillip LaBella wrote in an email. “Typically, we have multiple teams practicing in the venue at various times on a given day and we work … very closely with our coaches to set practice times that best meet the needs of our programs. We encourage our student-athletes to raise facility or other concerns with their coaches and we’ll work to address them.”

Fencing head coach Dayn DeRose did not respond to a request for comment.

Manubag noted that this year’s conditions are an improvement from previous years. 

“We’re definitely seeing a lot more improvements than we have the past few years,” Manubag said. “Right now it’s just more a matter of administrative support. We would appreciate more in general, but we really haven’t seen more than we have right now.”

To Manubag, the change in coaching staff has been integral to the positive changes.

“Our older coach, he didn’t really communicate that much,” she said. “He did a lot of administrative work where he didn’t really like fight for us, but our current coach has really been advocating for us with administration.”

Manubag emphasized how far the team has come in terms of both team culture and administrative support during her time at Lafayette.

“I feel like we’ve gotten pretty far in the past few years, especially with the current junior class,” Manubag said. “They’ve been super active in making sure that we are treated equally as every other team. They’re super vocal towards the administration. We’re in constant communication with our coach.”

“We try to make sure that we have the best environment that we can,” Manubag continued. “I’m glad we’re actually being noticed.”

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About the Contributor
Grace Sanborn
Grace Sanborn, Assistant Sports Editor
Thinks hitting a ball with a stick outside for four hours is fun.

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