Fencing was approved as a club sport by the athletics department over the summer, qualifying the team for a coach, PE credit, and extra funding from SBC for both equipment and tournament play. The fencing team is now part of the Southern Athletic Conference and has already been invited to tournaments as far away as New Hampshire and California.
In order to qualify as a club sport, the organization has to exist for two years. Team president Randall McAuley ’08 explained that once those two years were up, Fencing Club applied right away. Other requirements are that the sport has to have regular practices at least twice a week and must be taking attendance. Fencing joins the club sports of rugby, frisbee, and men’s badminton and volleyball.
There are multiple benefits to club sports, said McAuley, “including PE credit and access to athletic department resources such as sports medicine.” With funding for a coach, the team moved to hire saberist Marshal Davis, previously the coach at Temple, hoping that he’ll help them succeed during their busier tournament schedule. While the club was only able to attend one tournament last year, “this year we’re already tentatively scheduled for four.”
Bryce Wiedenbeck ’08 was abroad last semester, and said that “coming back from Austria, it’s exciting to be coming back to a certified team.” With the extra tournament play, more fencers will have the opportunity to become ranked. Fencers are ranked in A through E classes, and you move up in the ranks through beating other ranked fencers. Two members of the club are currently Es, with the other twenty-odd members unranked. McAuley hopes to have that first number increase.
Fencing uses three different weapons, the classic foil, the slashing saber (where you can score with the edge of the blade), and the epee, where the entire body (not just the torso) is a valid target area. Of the current team, says McAuley, “a plurality use foil,” but saber has been gaining in popularity, since the new coach fences saber. But if you’re tall and like hitting people on the legs, there are even a few epeeists rounding out the roster.
The team plans to have its first informational meeting on Saturday, September 8th.