Five teams of fencers make the cut

season is ‘following the plan’ athlete says as teams prepare for provincial championships

Five out of six teams qualified this weekend for the provinvial championships in February.
Five out of six teams qualified this weekend for the provinvial championships in February.

Queen’s fencing hosted the Ontario University Athletics East Qualifiers this weekend, where five out of six Queen’s squads and nine individual Queen’s fencers qualified for the provincial championships.

“I was very happy with the weekend,” head coach Hugh Munby said. “Now we just have to settle own for the next two weeks and [work on] the fundamentals.” The provincial championships will be held at McMaster University in Hamilton on Feb. 17 and 18.

Men’s team captain Ryan Nelson also said he was pleased with the end results. “Individually, there were some highs and some lows,” he said. “[But] in terms of teams, we all qualified, which was very nice.”

In the foil event, four members of the men’s squad qualified as a team for the provincials, while Nelson and Andrew Di Lullo also qualified as individuals. In épée, the men’s team qualified, but no individuals advanced to the championships.

The foil, épée and sabre events all use different blades, and each event has separate rules for scoring
points. Foil and épée can only use the tip of the blade to score a point, and the target area on the body is different between the two. The entire length of the blade can be used to score points in the sabre event and it also has a unique target area for scoring.

The épée team lost to the Royal Military College then beat Trent and Carleton to earn their spots.
The men’s sabre team also qualified for the finals. Their captain, Greg Nonato, advanced individually as well. “It’s all been kind of building up to this moment.… Things are following the plan,” he said.
Women’s captain Emily Maw said the women were consistent throughout the weekend “About 50 per cent of them were able to qualify, and so were the foil and épée teams,” she said. “We definitely wanted all of our teams to qualify, so that was the biggest disappointment.”

Joanne Ko, women’s épée captain and assistant coach of the team, added, “Everyone that we thought had the possibility to get in [did], so that’s pretty encouraging.”

Mary-Clair Yelovich and Ashley Chin advanced to the championships in the individual foil event. In addition to qualifying with the épée team, Ko and Sarah Babineau qualified in the individual épée event. The sabre team was unable to qualify, but Joanna Chen, women’s sabre captain, was especially
impressed with the performance of Stacey McDonald, who qualified individually.

“[She] was injured during the day, and she kept going. She managed to qualify individually, and she was our star.” Maw also qualified in the individual sabre event. Coach Munby said the team has come a long way since the beginning of the season. “This is a group that looked like they were really struggling in the fall, and since then, they’ve really worked hard. If we can keep this going, we’ll equip ourselves well for the championships.”

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