Ms. Ramirez takes over as the girls varsity fencing coach


Samira Li

Ms. Ramirez, the new coach for the girl’s varsity fencing team.

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The Girl’s Varsity Fencing team is off to a great start this season with a 3-1 record. Leading the team is coach Diane Ramirez, who brings a wealth of coaching experience to the sport. With a lifelong love for sports and extensive experience coaching basketball, Ms. Ramirez was a natural fit to lead the fencing team.

Ms. Ramirez may be new to coaching fencing, but her dedication and willingness to learn haven’t gone unnoticed by her team. “I have been doing my due diligence in trying to learn more and more about it,” she said. “I’m also quite fortunate because the students we have are phenomenal and so helpful. The captains and managers help the newcomers learn the sport, and I learn from those moments as well.” 

Junior Amelia Lauren, who has been fencing at Townsend Harris since her freshman year, is among those who have benefited from Ms. Ramirez’s coaching. She said, “It has been great working with coach Ramirez this season as she is new to the sport but is most definitely getting the hang of the rules.” She also praised Ms. Ramirez’s competitive spirit and motivation, saying, “I think she is taking the team in a good direction and making sure that we are competing to the best of our abilities.”

Ms. Ramirez shared that she has played sports her entire life, so coaching was a natural progression. She said, “Even as a player, I would always help my teammates and teach them defensive or offensive strategies, so making a coaching move was not very different.”

She said, “As a coach, you need to be firm and stern but also personable. My fondest memories of my coaches have nothing to do with the Xs and Os but rather with the experiences they allowed my teammates and me to have or the important conversations we had together.” 

When motivating her team during difficult times, Ms. Ramirez focuses on finding what works for each athlete. She said, “Student-Athletes tend to get over-stressed, which can lead to poor performance,” which is why she reminds her team to focus on what they have under control. She said, “If they don’t beat their opponent but have done everything they can to the best of their abilities, then there is no shame in that loss. Regrets come from situations when you don’t do your best.” 

Freshman fencer Maimuma Kader said she appreciates having a coach who is experienced and supportive, despite the program’s limited funding. She said, “I’m grateful to even have a coach in the first place because the fencing department is very underfunded, and to have a coach with prior experience to help us from the background, makes me feel very supported in the team.”

Ms. Ramirez considers her greatest achievement as a coach to be her impact on her players’ lives. She said, “I had a college basketball player reach out to me after about eight years since I last coached her, and she thanked me for all I taught her.” The player was inducted into the Hall of Fame for her college.

“Being around young people in a more engaged environment than class has helped me stay and feel younger too. Student-athletes sometimes take for granted how much they do for us, and I’m always grateful for their energy and knowledge,” she said.