Fencing strikes high with key players

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The Townsend Harris girls fencing team has found recent success in its team as a whole and individual fencers.  Winning the first four matches of its season as well as having multiple fencers place in invitational tournaments, the fencing team has had a great start to its 2016 season.

In the beginning of its season, individual fencers placed in the top ten in both the PSAL Girl’s Season Opener and the PSAL Girl’s Invitational.  One such fencer was senior captain Rebekah Jones who placed first in the opener and third in the invitational, both in the épée style.

With regards to her performances Rebekah said, “I was obviously happier with my performance in opener but I also am aware that every athlete has their good days and their off days. We don’t train for the good days, we train for the bad ones.”

Placing in the top ten throughout in the whole city, Rebekah was still very proud of her accomplishment.

She added on, “There was a good group of girls in both competitions,” adding to how remarkable her accomplishment was.

Senior Lavonia Duncan fenced in both competitions as well, placing eleventh in the opener and fourth in the invitational, both in the foil style.

Giving the breakdown of each tournament, Lavonia explained that in the opener, competitors can fence anyone who is invited to the tournament regardless of their experience level.

But the invitational on the other hand is a much more competitive tournament, as Lavonia described, “[the invitational] is for the most experienced of the team.”

Yet in the end, Lavonia still thought that the tournaments were still very competitive and great learning experiences.

Concluding she said, “In the end once you give your best effort you leave knowing that the experience you gained can only help you improve.”

Junior Doreen Wu who also fenced in the invitationals, placed fourth in épée. She commented, “Placing fourth at invitationals showed me exactly where I stand compared to the other fencers in the city. The competition gave me a chance to put my training to use and test out the field.”

Looking towards the future, Doreen said, “I am very excited for playoffs because the team has been working hard and I think that this will be the year THHS takes home 1st overall in the city.”

Behind the scenes and at practice day in and day out is coach Katherine Yan who is working hard to help her team take home the gold again this year.

Commenting on her fencers’ performances at these tournaments, Ms. Yan said, “Each fencer performed well under pressure. The competition was tough but they executed touch after touch and brought home some medals. Doreen Wu and Lavonia Duncan has remarkable finishes.”

She spoke high of Rebekah as well, saying, “I’m so proud of Rebekah and impressed by what she has already accomplished this season thus far. This is a testament to her dedication to and passion for fencing. I remember when she was a timid freshman, hesitant to fence in a match and now she is confident and dominates the fencing strip.”

Due to her leadership skills and fencing capabilities, Rebekah is one of the top fencers in the city and will be continuing her fencing career at Cornell University.

Ms. Yan feels that Rebekah has a good shot at The Wingate Award.  This award, formerly known as the PSAL Heisman Award is presented to the best fencer in the city. The winner of this award will be presented with it around the middle of May.

Coach Yan said, “She’s the most deserving. Not only is she a decorated fencer but she is also a scholar. Her humility despite all of her accomplishments is to be admired.”

Looking forward, the girl’s fencing team is getting ready to fence their way through the playoffs in yet another year. The girls hope to continue its successes in order to win the city championship.

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