The GL girls and boys fencing teams have been travelling an uphill road this season. After losing a number of seasoned fencers to graduation last year, they received a double-whammy in May when their long-time coach left to coach his hometown team Bernards.
Enter new Head Coach Tony Barbera. Coach Barbera, up until this season a volunteer parent coach, took a leap of faith and agreed to lead the young team. Despite his signing on the dotted line just prior to the season kickoff, the team saw some immediate successes, including qualifying Vivian Chu, Brittin Boenning and Allison Yang to the fencing Junior Olympics. Vivian Chu went a step further to bring home the bronze medal at the Denise O'Connor High School Championships in December.
Since then, the girls' team has amassed a 4-2 record, beating Oak Knoll, Millburn, Livingston and Fair Lawn to arrive at #5 on the Star Ledger's current Top 10 ranking. Despite a difficult recent loss to Bernards, whose new coach knew perfectly well their every strength and weakness, the girls continue to display great spirit and resolve. A perfect example was evidenced at Monday's meet with Columbia in which co-captain Alaina Jennings (2-0) grabbed the winning point in a bout against Columbia's Alexis Auer with one second to go, despite an overall team loss of 10-17. Emily Xu also went 2-0 in epee. The foil squad also did a nice job chalking up a few wins by Allison Yang (2), Vivian Chu, Kara Fan, Kate Gonzales, and Nicole Friedenberg. Brittin Boenning got the only win for sabre.
Over on the boys' side, the team is currently at 2-3. Despite suffering a heartbreaking 14-13 loss to Bernards, the boys sabre squad remains a bright spot. Led by co-captains Mark Watson and Daniel Marchelitis with strong support by Ian Fan, the sabres trounced Bernards 9-0. Watson, who is undefeated thus far this season, continued his streak through the following meet with Columbia, where the sabres went 5-4. Ryan Rossman, Aaron Sy and Brandon Donohue picked up wins in foil and Chris Wolff, PJ Mele and Pierre Arca-Sedda did the same for epee.
As the boys head for the state Cetrulo tournament this weekend, the sabre squad has great potential to shine again. They will be looking for a boost from the foil and epee squads to pull off a team victory. The girls will be featured in a re-match against Bernards at Governor Livingston's annual Super Saturday event. The kickoff is at 9:00 a.m. in the Governor Livingston auditorium and all are invited to attend to cheer on the GL women!