Three jewels but no crown this year - Once again the Triple Crown has come to an end, after Palace Malice won the Belmont Stakes last Saturday. As in past years, there was no Triple Crown winner in 2013.... More →
Fencing coach Kathy Petiss and junior Hao Yan of the Fencing Club practice in the cafeteria after school on Tues- days until 4 p.m. Beginners are welcome to attend and no prior experience is necessary to join. Karolis Panavas/The SPOKE
Meet Gail, Kira, Zadiq and Damien. They are tall and slender, and each have a different personality. They are not people, but sophomore Bridget Marturano’s prized collection of fencing sabres.
“My sabres are kind of like my friends,” Marturano said. “Every weapon is kind of different just because the blades are all balanced differently. There are some people who will spend hours looking at all the different blades to find the perfect one.”
The epee, the foil and the sabre are the three types of weapons used for fencing. Each one has its own set of rules about how points are scored.
At a typical fencing competi- tion, the fencers compete against everyone within their pool, usually to five touches, and then all of the competitors are arranged into a bracket. Once the bracket has been made, direct elimination begins and fencers compete until everyone but the victor remains.
Because sabreurs, or fencers who use sabres, can strike their opponent
with the edge of the blade, unlike with the foil and epee, sabre fencing has a much faster pace.
“With the foil you can only hit on the torso and you hit with the point,” Marturano said. “With an epee you can hit anywhere on the body with the point. With the sabre, the target is anywhere and you can cut with the edge.”
Marturano has gone to competi- tions such as the North American Cup and the more exclusive Summer Na- tionals competition for which fencers must qualify. Marturano has partici- pated in the Summer Nationals every year since she was in fifth grade.
Junior Dhananjay Bhaskar also participates in competitions on a monthly basis.
“Most recently I went to one in Cincinnati and then earlier this year I went to Salt Lake City,” Bhaskar said. “I’ve been able to go to a bunch of dif- ferent places around the country.”
Bhaskar trains at the Fencing Academy of South Jersey in Cherry Hill every Saturday. He also travels to their location in northern New Jersey on Fridays and has recently begun weekly training with the Princeton University fencing coach.
Bhaskar is a member of Con- estoga’s fencing club which meets on Tuesdays in the cafeteria with fencing coach Kathy Petiss. Because he is one of the more experienced fencers, Bhaskar often teachers other members and helps them improve their technique.
“Usually we warm up, stretch, work on footwork, then we put on all he gear and then I’ll set up the electric strip,” Bhaskar said.
The electric strip is a score-keep- ing device that helps the fencers determine who was hit first.
Bhaskar hopes to continue his hobby in college. He would not be the first of his family to fence for a college team.
“One of my brothers actually
ended up walking on to the Princeton fencing team as an unranked fencer. To be unranked and on the Princeton fencing team never happens but he made it there and actually got really good,” Bhaskar said. “He’s a big in- spiration for me.”