Fencing teams off to impressive starts

By Samantha Meyer

The Cleveland State University fencing team hosted two duals on Oct. 26 and 27. The Vikings generated a crowd inside Woodling Gymnasium as they competed against Denison University, the University of Michigan, Oakland University, Carnegie Mellon University, Case Western Reserve University and Michigan State University for the CSU Duals.

When competing at the first dual tournament of the season, the OSU Duals, the women’s team fell to Michigan while the men were able to edge out a victory. The women’s team was able to reverse the decision from earlier in the season, as both Cleveland State teams finished with a 12-0 victory, with both teams going undefeated for the tournament. This moved the men’s team record to 11-1 and the women to 10-2 in the season.

In fencing, there are three competitions one can compete in: the foil, epee and saber.

Redshirt sophomore Declan Froth explained the foil as a fast weapon, but very technical at the same time. 

“The tip of the foil blade is the fastest moving object across all sports, with the exception of bullets,” Froth said. “Foil has a limited target area allowing only the torso to be scored on and all touches must be made with the point. Foil is very technical and requires a lot of precision and timing. It has a right of way system which means that in order to score, the fencer must have the attack, and that is determined by the referee.”

Froth described the saber as having a wider scoring area, which allows for the fencer to be more aggressive and attack more often. 

“Saber also follows the same right of way rules as foil, but allows the fencer to hit anywhere above the legs with any part of the blade,” Froth said. “Due to an increase in target area and the ability to hit with cutting and swiping actions, saber is the most physically demanding weapon. In a typical bout, both saber fencers will try to get the attack because it is easier to score on the attack. This results in very fast-paced gameplay, relying primarily on speed and tempo changes.”

The final weapon is the epee, which Declan defined as the most tactical of the three, which forces both fencers to be more cautious in their attacks. 

“In epee, the right of way rule is thrown out the window, and there are no restrictions on what part of the body a fencer can hit,” Froth said. 

This includes the fencer’s feet. However, they are only allowed to hit with the point of the blade. Scoring depends on whoever hits first. If both fencers hit first then they both earn a point. Because of this lack of urgency, epee is the most patient of the three weapons and relies heavily on psychology. Fencers must try to predict the actions and tendencies of other fencers in order to score touches.”

During the CSU Duals, the foil unit led the charge for the men’s team, scoring 50 of 54

possible points. The women’s foil unit also had an outstanding performance, claiming 52 of the

54 possible points.
Coming off an undefeated CSU Duals, the Vikings headed into the 11th annual John Szent-

Kiraly Open on Oct. 27 with high spirits. The team captured three individual titles, with

freshman Paul Diventi winning the mixed foil title, Froth winning the mixed saber title and freshman Ilyssa Freiburger winning the women’s epee title.

The mixed foil competition had 35 individuals compete. Led by Diventi, Cleveland State was able to grab the top four places for the event. Diventi competed hard, posting a 5-1 mark in pool play, earning him the first-round pass. He went on to defeat five straight competitors to capture the title. Freshman Lucas Bolton placed second with freshman Harry Hardman and sophomore Will Waters tying for third place. 

In the saber event, Froth went undefeated in pool play, earning him the top seed and a first-round pass. He went on to win four consecutive matches to capture the saber title. Freiburger took home the women’s epee title, claiming three wins in pool play. She then went on to win four consecutive elimination matches, earning her a spot in the final. She won a thrilling final match 15-13 and clinched a third win for the Vikings.

As the team prepares for the Midwest Conference Championships in February, they look at what needs to be improved on in order to bring the title back home to Cleveland. 

“I think we need to touch up a bit more on headspace, but overall, I’m very pleased with the progress we have made so far,” Froth said.

The team looks towards the weekend of Nov. 16, where they will travel down Euclid Avenue to Case Western Reserve to compete in the Case Western Duals. With a winning streak under their belts, they hope to continue their success through the winter in order to compete well at the conference championships.

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