Columbia HS fencers thrive at State Squads

Girls’ foil squad wins silver to lead way; girls also advanced to state final

MAPLEWOOD – The Columbia High School girls’ fencing team did well in all three weapons at the State Squads Championships over the weekend.  The girls’ foil team won the silver medals, placing second in the state with  Marissa Viqueira, Camille Pham, and Hanae Garrison competing on the A, B, and C strips respectively. Pham finished the day undefeated at 19-0 for the second straight year on the B strip, while Viqueira went 17-2 on the A strip.

The Columbia girls’ epee team placed sixth after the gruelling day of non-stop strong fencing and consistently close bouts. Abigail Merelman, Brigid Lynch, and Isabelle Wendt,competed on the A, B, and C strips, respectively.

The Columbia girls’ saber team placed ninth in the state, with Natalie Martinez, Gabrielle Tazewell, Brianna Stellini, Sofia Heriveaux, and Laura Spanier competing during the long day. Brianna Stellini demonstrated some outstanding fencing to score 16-2 in her individual bouts.

In the prior week, the Columbia girls met with Bergen Tech of Hackensack in the state tournament semifinals, defeating them 14-13. The score remained too close for comfort all night with epee fencer Abby Merelman finally clinching in the third round. Foil fencers Marissa Viqueira and Camille Pham, and epee fencer Brigid Lynch won all their bouts with consistently high level fencing, which helped secure their team’s victory.

The saber, foil, and epee squads for the Columbia High School boys’ fencing team also all competed at the State Squads Championships held at the North Hunterdon High School over the weekend. Columbia’s boys’ saber squad placed fourth in the state, with Matt Rothenberg on the A strip, overall team and saber captain, Harrison Woods, on the B strip, and Dean Gillette on the C strip.  All three boys demonstrated the same determination and positive energy that they are known for throughout the grueling 15 bout per fencer day, missing out on the Bronze medal by only one bout.

Consistently strong fencing and agility was seen by Rothenberg throughout the day, which resulted in a 15-4 score. Woods once again showed his fast-thinking and the lightning speed of his saber movements to finish the day at 15-4 as well.

Columbia boys’ foil squad, made up of Tran Soles-Torres on the A strip, Luke Moramarco on B strip and Andrew Wasden on the C strip, demonstrated strong fencing and tenacity to place seventh in the state at the end of the day, with  Soles-Torres scoring touches against some of the highest ranked foil fencers in the country.

Columbia’s epee fencers, despite their patience and drive, placed 14th at the end of the day. Josh Abdill, Adam DuBowy, Isaiah Ogbeifun, and Elijah Navlen all competed for their team.

All fencers’ eyes will be focused on the Columbia girls on Feb. 24 as they meet with Montgomery in the finals.