Gaels bring home bronze

Men’s fencing garners a third-place finish at OUAs, women’s team takes fifth

The Queen’s fencing team returned from the OUA championships in Ottawa last weekend with a third-place finish in the overall men’s category and a fifth-place finish on the women’s side. The men were beaten by the host Carleton Ravens and the defending champion University of Toronto Blues. The Ravens also took the women’s banner.

Queen’s was led by fourth-year sabre Scott Bowman, who won the Schwende-Tully Trophy as individual sabre champion as well as the George Tully Trophy as one of two male fencers most proficient in skill, style and sportsmanship.

Bowman said the men’s team didn’t expect to place as high as they did.

“I think a lot of us were surprised on how well it went based on the stiff competition.”

Going into the championships, the Blues’ men’s team were the defending gold-medalists and the Ravens team had won gold in the men’s sabre category three times in a row.

Bowman said the Gaels responded well.

“We definitely were contenders right from the beginning,” he said. “Carleton won both banners [this year] and last year Toronto won both banners, so we knew both of those teams were going to be tough. We were in it right until the end. I think we’re really proud of how we did.”

Queen’s was without Karl Gardner, one of their top swordsmen for the event. Gardner is the top university fencer in Canada.

“He was unable to fence with us as he’s at a tournament in Hungary,” Bowman said.

Despite the obstacle, Bowman rose to the challenge in the competition, leaving as the most decorated individual. He knocked out the previous award-winner, Carleton University’s Ben Riley, 15-14 in the quarter-final.

“To be honest, it was really unexpected,” he said. “I had a really good day. I was really happy.”

The fencing program at Queen’s runs as a club, open to all members, and from there the coaching staff selects a team to represent the university. Bowman said fencing at Queen’s has improved because of preparations made for future rosters.

“The past two years we’ve really been breaking out,” he said. “Last year we did amazing and this year we surpassed that. We got burned a couple of years ago with all of our top guys graduating in one year, so now we’re trying to keep a pretty solid turnover. We’ve got massive numbers and we’re looking forward to the years to come.”

Bowman said he looks forward to a Gaels gold at next year’s championship.

“This year I believe there are only one or two people graduating that were on our OUA roster,” Bowman said. “This year pushes us right into next year. We’re going to have, ideally, pretty much the same team unless some super-rookies come in and with the addition of [Gardner] we’re going to be a powerhouse next year for sure.”

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