Fencing hosts Holy Grail Tournament
Skibo Gymnasium sounded with orders of “En garde, ready, fence” this past Saturday as 14 teams from around the Pittsburgh area met at Carnegie Mellon for the 15th annual Holy Grail Fencing Tournament.
“This is the biggest fencing tournament of the year for us,” said Tartans Fencing Club president and sophomore Greg Sluyter. Carnegie Mellon entered five teams into the event and finished third overall, behind Penn State University and the University of Pittsburgh. Since the event was not an NCAA competition, fencers do not have to be current college students, so the Tartans were represented by various ages, sprinkling in alumni, underclassmen, and a high school student on the squad.
The tournament was broken down into three events determined by weapon: épée, sabre, and foil. These categories vary by weapon, target, and importance of right of way. The tournament began with pool play and then continued with direct elimination rounds.
“Each bout gets more difficult,” explained 2008 alumnus Matt Faria, a member of the foil A team. Scoring is determined by touches, which have specific regulations depending on the weapon. For foil, only touches to the torso score points, unlike épée, where the whole body is the target. In sabre, touches anywhere from the waist up, including the head and back, score points.
Coming from a first-place finish in last year’s tournament, the foil A team of Faria, doctoral student Mike Dinitz, and junior Adam Walker had high hopes but was knocked out in the semi-finals with a final score of 42-44 by a competitive Penn State team, giving them the third-place spot. The Foil B team of graduate student Ben Nowak, 2008 alumnus Charles Yee, University of Pittsburgh junior Ali Merti, and high-schooler Will Sefcik also fenced well, coming in 13th.
In épée, the A team of sophomore Janna Arredondo, first-year Charlie Muñoz, and Sluyter finished 10th after being knocked out in the second round with a score of 43–45. The épée B team of first-year Honor Randall, 2008 alumnae Storm Walden, first-year Emily Griffen, and first-year Derek Basehore finished 12th. Only one team, composed of first-year Roberta Sefcik, sophomore Jake Johnson, and sophomore Charlie Miller, competed in sabre, finishing fifth.
“It was a good experience for new fencers to get a chance to fence,” noted Sluyter. This year’s fencing team has two first-year fencers in épée and one first-year fencer in sabre.
The fencing club will be host the intramural fencing tournament and continue to practice this spring.