Columbia HS fencing teams post strong start to season

Photo courtesy of Krysia Woods Columbia High’s Hanae Garrison, right, clinching the win over West Essex.
Photo courtesy by Ben Garrison.
Columbia High’s Hanae Garrison, right, clinching the win over West Essex.

MAPLEWOOD – Both the Columbia High School boys’ and girls’ fencing teams won their first meet of the season against West Essex, which was held at the West Essex High School last month.

Spirits were high despite the abundance of nervous energy, with an almost all new lineup of starters on the CHS boys’ fencing team.

Boys’ team captain Harrison Woods started the night on a high when he took over the Saber A strip, winning 5-3. The even score of 3-3 was finally broken when all three epee starters – Isaiah Ogbeifun, Josh Abdill, and Adam Debowy – won all three of their first-round bouts. In the second round, all three saber starters – Woods, Matt Rothenberg and Malcolm Mee – as well as all foil starters Tran Soles-Torre, Luke Moramarco, and Andrew Wasden, won their bouts, giving the team a significant lead. Epee once again won all three bouts in the second round with Abdill clinching for the night at 14-3. Luke Moramarco showed the skills that earned him the B starter strip this season in winning both his bouts. Fencers who won their bouts after the clinch were Jared Benskins, Thomas Fuenzalida, Jacob Kalodner, Sebastian Clarke and Oscar Renda.

The CHS girls’ fencing team continues to be a force this season with their abundance of experienced and talented fencers. International fencer Samantha Viquiera is unable to fence this season because of surgery. However, as team captain, she will be parlaying her experience into her leadership role. West Essex proved no match for the strength and experience of the CHS girls. In the first round, saber strip fencers Natalie Martinez, Brianna Stellini, and Laura Spanier had an outstanding start to the season, with all three girls defeating their oponents, 5-0. Foil starters Marissa Viqueira, Camille Pham and Hanae Garrison followed with three victories and then epee starters Abigail Merelman and Brigit Lynch continued by winning their first-round bouts. With all saber and foil starters winning their second-round bouts, Garrison was able to clinch the deal, 14-1, in the second round. New fencers Gabby Tazewell, Iquivia Brassington and Sophia Herivaux fenced well and won their bouts after the team clinched.

The freshmen and sophomores of the CHS fencing teams took the 2015 Morris Knolls Invitational Tournament over the weekend by storm, taking home 24 medals, including top-4 finishes in 10 out of 12 events.

In the Freshman Women’s Foil Event, Zoe Fuhrman won Silver and Taylor Brooks and Alexandra Krim tied for Bronze. In the Freshman Women’s Sabre Event, Janine Joseph won the Silver medal and Mia Zuckerberg tied for the Bronze medal. In the Freshman Women’s Epee Event, Paloma Diaz placed sixth and Jasmine Lecount-McClannahan placed seventh in this same event. Benjamin Goldberg won the Silver medal in the Freshman Men’s Foil Event and Anthony Jackson tied for the Bronze medal in the Freshman Men’s Epee Event. Jasper Kransdorf placed eighth in this same Epee event. Aaron Waldner tied for the Bronze medal in the Freshman Men’s Sabre Event.

In the Sophomore Women’s Sabre Event, Sophia Heriveaux won the Gold medal and Brianna Stellini followed with the Silver medal. While Noelle Jamison won the Gold medal in the Sophomore Women’s Epee Event and Ana Cowie won the Silver.

Toyibat Osho tied for the Bronze medal in the Sophomore Women’s Foil Event. Roshana Hyppolite and Julia Cataneo placed sixth and eighth, respectively, in this same Sophomore Women’s Foil event.

Josh Abdill won the Gold medal in the Sophomore Men’s Epee event and Adam Dubowy and Isaiah Ogbeifun placed fifth and sixth, respectively, in this same event.

In the Sophomore Men’s Sabre Event, Malcom Mee won the Gold medal and Dean Gillette won the Silver medal. Michael Wallin placed fifth in this same event.

Other notable mentions for Columbia were Cristina Wright, who placed 12th in the Freshman Women’s Epee Event, and Cecila Banks, who placed 17th in the Sophomore Women’s Foil Event.

Ben Aronson placed 15th in the Sophomore Men’s Foil event and Oscar Renda placed 19th in the Sophomore Men’s Epee event.