The student-run news site of The Masters School

Tower

The student-run news site of The Masters School

Tower

The student-run news site of The Masters School

Tower

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Masters fencing ends the season with a handful of awards

Senior+Gharvin+Ramnarse+and+an+opponent+hit+each+other+simultaneously+during+a+bout.++
Senior Gharvin Ramnarse and an opponent hit each other simultaneously during a bout.

By the time Masters’ bus arrived at Hackley around 8:20 a.m. on Feb. 24, where the championship would take place, fencers and coaches were already rushing around, greeting athletes they recognized from earlier in the season, setting up tables of gatorade and checking the seasonal standings. One could hear the zipping and unzipping of gear bags, the steady thuds of footwork in the gym below, and the rhythmic clanging of blades during practice bouts. Within a half hour, the six hour competition would begin. 

The Independent School Fencing League, or ISFL Championship would have the girls foil team fence seven schools, and the boys foil, girls and boys epee, and girls and boys sabre team fence six. The fencers would need to fence each school nine bouts of five points each. The championship was being hosted by the Hackley School in two gyms outfitted with temporary fencing strips and scoring equipment.

 

Freshmen Ella Liu warming up the morning of the championship hosted at Hackley. Ten schools competed between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m..

 

Masters was heading into the game with lots of anticipation built up from the season. Girls epee and foil had won all but three of the 11 and 12 respective meets, and were hoping to continue the good streak. The sabre teams, lacking a coach, had struggled to keep their footing throughout the season and were itching to make a comeback. Rae Ben Shahar-Pyke, a junior on the girls sabre team, said, “There have definitely been challenges not having a coach all season, as I have had to be the one coaching both boys and girls sabre.”

Another challenge arose when the rules for qualification were changed just days before, and many alternates were unable to meet the requirements until Clara Meere-Weigel, the head Masters fencing coach, reversed the decision just minutes before the championship began. Junior foil fencer Charlie Haas said, “If not for Clara convincing all the other schools’ head coaches to change qualification standards back to last year’s half an hour before bouts started, a large portion, maybe 30 percent of the team wouldn’t have qualified.” He explained how Masters would have run the risk of having to forfeit numerous bouts automatically.

The boys sabre team won their first round with a clean 9-0 against Rye Country Day School, and girls epee followed suit with an impressive score of 8-1 against Rye as well. 

The girls epee team proceeded to win against Horace Mann in a much closer round of 5-4, but didn’t lose to another school until their final match against Riverdale Country School. 

Girls Foil won all but their second round, also against Riverdale. Senior Mahlet Messay, the girls foil team captain, said, “I was really proud of where girls foil ended up with the amount of work we put into this season. At the beginning of the day all I told [the team] was to play hard and have fun, and that’s what we did.”

The boys foil team only lost two matches, as did boys epee, which was an improvement from having lost five during the season. 

By 2 p.m., teams began wrapping up their final bouts. Gear and garbage was being collected from the gym, exhausted fencers were sitting or lying down on the fencing strips, many half-dressed in their fencing attire. The award ceremony was soon to begin. 

The first awards doled out were for the championship. Girls and boys epee and girls foil won 2nd place, and boys foil won 3rd. Girls epee and foil also won 2nd for league standings, and boys foil won 3rd. For individual league rankings, senior Jerome Chen won 6th place for boys sabre. 

The fencers returned to Masters just before 5 p.m. to have a final party in the Sharon Room. parents had chipped in to bring soda, chips and pizza, and some final speeches were made. There were warm thanks to the graduating seniors, and some talk of the ISFL potentially joining NYSAIS next year. 

Junior epee fencer Beila Kraus said at the party, “I’m so grateful to have been on the team this year, and I know that next year we are going to kick ass!”

 

Boys foil won 3rd place for both the day’s competition and for the season overall.
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