Fencing ends their regular season as they push for the NCAA tournament

Despite losing their head coach early on, Cleveland State fencing tries to find success as February ends

The Cleveland State University fencing team is off to a pretty good start, winning about as much as they are losing. Since “mid-major collegiate fencers compete adequately” is not exactly a riveting headline, writer Leo Kenealy dug a little deeper, and interviewed team captains junior Maeve Kozak and junior Paul Diventi. The following is a portion of that interview:

Kenealy: Would you say this season has been a success so far?

Diventi: Second half.

Kozak: This semester has definitely gone better than last semester, um-

Diventi, interjecting: Our coach quit.

Kozak: *Awkward laughter* Our head coach did, uh, resign.

Diventi: We can say it right? He quit!

Kenealy: Were you upset by him quitting?

Kozak: In our opinion, and I think in most people’s opinion, it was a bad way to leave —ya know, mid-season—and not have anyone ready to come in. We still haven’t been under the direction of a coach for the past, what, three months?

Diventi: Yeah, we’ve had our assistant coach.

Kozak: So considering that and how we’ve done in our past couple tournaments, I think we’re doing pretty well for ourselves.

Kenealy: How do you measure success?

Kozak: Well there’s obviously team wins and squad wins.

Kenealy: Is success all about winning and losing?

Kozak: Well, the way I look at it is, if you fence a bout, and you’re fencing well, and engaging yourself and thinking, then that’s doing pretty well. Some people we fence, these people are, you know, on their way to the Olympics! So if you can keep up with them for some touches, I think that’s pretty successful.

A member of the Cleveland State fencing team competes in a dual. Photo courtesy of Vikings Athletics

Fencing is off to a decent start this spring semester starting off with the DeCicco Duals on Jan. 29. The men’s team managed to go 4-1 overall while the women’s team went an even 4-4. For the sabre team, junior Ilyssa Freiburger led Cleveland State with 10 wins while the men’s epee team saw senior Will Walters post up seven victories. The men’s foil team went perfect, going 5-0 in the dual as senior John Wenger contributed 10 wins on the day.

Losing their head coach early into the semester has not been great for the team however, their new head coach Christine Griffith has stepped up to the task. Her first task came with the NU Duals which would also be the concluding duals for the Cleveland State fencing regular season.

Members of Cleveland State fencing gather around an assistant coach. Photo courtesy of Vikings Athletics

Incarnate Word took a beating from the Vikings, losing to both the men’s and women’s teams. Overall, the men’s team went 3-7 with their other two wins coming against Lawrence and Northwestern. The women’s team went 4-8, taking down Air Force, Fairleigh Dickinson, and Lawrence.

The epee teams on both sides saw a lot of success with sophomore De’Mario Steele taking home 17 wins and sophomore Lily Robertson bringing in 18. The Vikings will look to keep their season going as they fence in the Central Collegiate Fencing Conference Championships on Feb. 27 hoping to move on to the NCAA tournament afterward.

Author: Cauldron Guest Contributor

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