By Tahmid Ahmed
Vigorous, strong, and athletic are just some the few characteristics that describe the girls fencing team as they have not only been undefeated in their division, but they have also captured the PSAL Championship for two consecutive years. The team has remained robust and loyal throughout the season due to a close relationship between teammates and excellent guidance from Coach Yaged. In fact, Tech has always been known for having such an exceptional fencing team. For instance, in the 2004 Olympics, brother and sister Keeth and Erin Smart both won silver medals signifying that success in fencing runs in the Tech family.
The team’s dedication and effort has helped them dominate throughout the season, and their most notable game was in the finals against CSIHS/McCown. In its entirety, Tech has dominated the match as they have won in a margin with a final score of 90-25. Senior Caitlin Br Uang played especially well as she touched her opponent 9 times, but it was ultimately a team effort that got Tech hot on its heels as the majority of Tech’s players followed her lead and scored at least 5 times.
This win was especially important to senior Anne Cebula ‘16 who says, “This has been our first win in 36 years – and we’ve finished in 2nd place 19 times. I think we might just be the most underrated team in Tech considering how most students have never heard of us despite our impressive track record.
Fencing is traditionally a individualistic sport (like boxing or any other combat sport) so when it comes to functioning as a team, winning really demands that all the individuals on the squad are more than well prepared.
This year we had the perfect mix of dedicated novices who learned at an incredible rate and experienced individuals who trained at outside clubs regularly. So even though we only officially had ten members on the roster this year, we welcomed the challenge.
We are split into two weapons – foil and epee – and our final score is the sum of the “touches,” aka “points,” in both weapons. At the Championships this year (which we qualified for by being undefeated in our division), we ended up scoring 2nd overall in epee and 3rd overall in foil – the total point value of such standings placed us in a three-way tie with Hunter and Stuyvesant.
To break the tie, we had to go through two rounds of one-touch bouts, so two anchors (one from each weapon) from each of the three teams had to go against each other in a fight that would ultimately decide the fate of where their team would finally place in the Championships.
Speaking from an anchor’s perspective, it was an overwhelming amount of pressure – but the realization that I was expected to be trained for these kind of situations really kept my nerves at bay. (I think Meghan, the foil anchor, can agree with me on this one).
We won, kicking and screaming, and I’m heart-broken that this is my last year on the team. We’ve progressed at such a rapid rate during my three year stay here . We finished 6th overall the year before the last one, and we finished 2nd overall last year which makes winning this championship all the more satisfying. This team is immensely dedicated and we gradually got the results that we worked so hard for.”
For the whole season, Tech’s fencing has won in a landslide in almost each and every game. However, their closest game was on March 31st when they played against McKee/Staten Island Tech. Staten Island Tech put up a fight scoring 75 points, but it was Tech that emerged as the superior team scoring 90 points. Notable players to mention are Anne Cebula and Husna Ellis who touched their opponents above 6 or more times.
Tech’s girls fencing team toiled down in practices day in and day out, but it has paid off as they have emerged as city champs. This year marked a great year for Tech’s PSAL sports, and hopefully there will be more triumphs in the upcoming years.