By Kara Kupferberg
On Feb. 7, South’s fencing team finished the season as Division Champion and Nassau County runner-up. For the second year in a row, the team lost 14-13 to Oyster Bay in the county championship.
Seniors Joyce K., Andrew L., Joshua Graber, Isabelle T., Alex Smith, and Michelle Neiderman, along with coaches Joshua Baravarian, a special education teacher, and Romeo Soria, lead the team. Smith is close with his teammates and said they “have an excellent team dynamic.”
The team welcomed many new members this year. Isabelle T. said, “They have all improved so much! We also became much closer as a team this season.”
Fencing is divided into three weapons: foil, epee, and sabre. Three fencers per category compete against the opposing team’s fencers. Each individual’s win counts as a point towards the team’s overall score, and the first team to reach 14 points wins.
In addition to competing as a team, South fencers also compete individually. Individuals have the chance to rank, and this season the team has many successful fencers who compete regionally and nationally. Many team members have ranked in Nassau County and qualified for special programs like All County and Junior Olympics.
Fencing is a commitment; it requires three to five hours of practice on weekdays and another two hours on Saturday mornings. When there is a meet, fencers do not return home until 8 p.m. The team expects a lot of effort from its members; although it is an individual sport, one member’s lack of effort can affect the entire team.
Isabelle T. said, “My team definitely motivates me to fence. As the years went by, my love for fencing began to motivate me as well.”