MAPLEWOOD, NJ – Every year, the high school fencing communities in New Jersey continue to question whether Columbia High School has the capability of pulling any significant wins in the new season. Despite the change in names and levels of experience of their starters, both the Columbia High School boys’ and girls’ teams manage to remain in the state’s fencing spotlight.
The one constant seen throughout the years is the extraordinary level of team spirit and support that sets the Columbia High School fencing teams apart from all their competitors.
This season the CHS boys’ fencing team has won the prestigious Cetrulo all-state championships tournament for the sixth straight year. The CHS foil squad placed second, the epee squad fourth, and the saber squad placed 10th.
Freshman and A strip foil starter Jack Woods has achieved national and international success in fencing but is blown away by the enthusiastic spirit and support of his team members. “Every fencer regardless of experience is a valuable member of the high school team, as every point counts. The MVPs at the Cetrulo were the all the fencers tirelessly supporting our starters throughout the long day,” said Woods.
Saber captain and A strip starter Matt Rothenberg leads by example with his passion for fencing, both on and off the strip. He aggressively started the first meet of the season against St. Benedict’s by winning all three of his bouts with Woods. Epee fencer Adam Dubowy put in some fine fencing to clinch this first meet at 14-11.
Having A strip starters Rothenberg and Woods away at the National Division 1 and Junior fencing championships did not dampen the enthusiasm or strength of the CHS boys’ team as they went on to defeat Morris Knolls, 14-3. Saber fencers Aaron Waldner and Michael Wallin, foilists Tran Soles-Torres, Andrew Wasden and Sebastian Clarke, and epee fencers Adam Dubowy and Isaiah Ogbeifun all won two bouts at this meet, with Dubowy once again clinching for the night. Foil fencer Nick Goguen-Compagnoni had his first varsity victory.
The Livingston team was defeated by the CHS boys’ team, 14-9, with outstanding fencing seen by A strip foilist Soles-Torres, winning all three of his bouts. Epee fencers Dubowy, Abdil, and Ogbeifun were all in fine form, winning two bouts each. Foilist Clarke clinched the meet.
The CHS boys continued their winning streak by defeating West Essex, 14-3. Saber fencers Dean Gillette, Wallin, and Luc Maynard-Parisi, together with foilist Luke Moramarco and epee fencer Dubowy, all won two bouts each, which enabled Dubowy to once again clinch for his team. Jeremy Giles and Reed Gargyi had their first varsity victory at this meet.
The CHS boys’ team was defeated by St. Peter’s Prep, 14-7. A strong performance was seen by foilist Clarke, who won all three of his bouts. With saber’s A strip starter back on the strip and winning both his bouts, together with Malcolm Mee, Soles-Torres, Clarke, Julian Bowne, Dubowy, and Ogbeifun all winning both of their bouts, epee fencer Ogbeifun was able to clinch for his team at 14-3. Peter Guarino had his first varsity victory.
The CHS girls’ team placed third at the prestigious Santelli all-state high school fencing tournament. With Coach Tiffini Ginlock once again at the helm, the girls continue to be a force to be reckoned with. The CHS girls’ foil and saber squads both placed third, and the epee squad placed seventh. So far this season the girls have been undefeated in the dual meets, even when A strip foil fencer Marissa Viqueira and Camille Pham were fencing at the National Championships.
In the first meet for the season, they defeated Morris Knolls, 14-8. Outstanding fencing was seen by foil starter Hanae Garrison, who won all three of her bouts and clinched for her team. Foil fencer Taylor Brooks won both her bouts, and epee fencer Iquivia Brassington and saber fencer Janine Bacchus-Joseph both had their first varsity victory.
The CHS girls defeated Livingston, 14-13, with all three bout wins seen by epee fencers Isabelle Wendt and Brassington.
The West Essex girls’ team was defeated by the CHS girls’ team, 14-3, with Maya Schnall, Laura Spanier, Luz Aguba, Isabelle Wendt, Brassington, and Ana Cowie all winning both their bouts. Cowie clinched for the team. Sara Kasler had her first varsity victory.
The Oak Knoll girls’ team was defeated by the CHS girls’ team, 14-3, with two bout wins seen by saber fencer Sophia Heriveaux, foil fencers Camille Pham, Taylor Brooks, and Garrison, and epee fencers Jasmine Lecount-McClannahan, and Cowie. Once again Cowie clinched for the team. First varsity victories were had by saber fencer Lulu Mansfield-Greenwald, foil fencer Eustasia McLawrence, and epee fencers Paloma Diaz-Sanchez, and Samantha Levy.
The Columbia girls defeated West Morris Mendham with foil fencer and captain Marissa Viqueira clinching at 14-9. Saber starters Schnall, Heriveaux and Brianna Stellini all won both bouts and foilist Pham and epee fencer Isabelle Wendt both won both of their bouts. Alexandra Krim had her first varsity victory at this meet.
With the Cetrulo and Santelli victories now behind them, both the CHS boys’ and girls’ fencing teams will move forward with continued determination and a high level of training to achieve their goals for the remainder of the reason.