Marlborough has had fencing clubs come and go in the past, but there hasn’t been a registered club for some years due to low interest. According to Athletic Director David Collicutt, the number of fencers ebbs and flows. This year, however, there is enough interest to rekindle the club and hopefully for the next few years.
The club will be meeting Wednesday mornings, from 7:30-8:30 in one of the dance studios. The co-leader of the club, Nina ’18, enlisted the coaching help of Eric Hansen, whom she fences with outside of school at the Los Angeles International Fencing Center. The first practice was on September 24th.
Nina, who decided to fence after her classmate Catherine ’18 gave a presentation about her fencing background in English class, had her father contact Collicutt about starting a school club.
Nina then asked Catherine, who has been fencing for four years, to co-lead the club. The club faculty advisors are Associate Director of Annual Giving Karen Harwitt and Performing Arts Instructor Doug Lowry. Beddingfield reported that she and Adams got about ten girls to sign up at the Club Fair.
Collicutt talked to Harwitt, who went to fencing competitions to support her son, about being a sponsor of the team.
“My son was a fencer at his school, and I thought it would a great idea to have a fencing club here at Marlborough,” Harwitt said. “It’s a great opportunity for girls who may want to be on a team, but it’s an individualized sport, like tennis or equestrian.”
Beddingfield explained that the club might not meet as much as other athletic teams.
“I think we are going to do a few practices together, but since we have limited time, and most of the fencers are experienced, they practice by themselves,” Catherine said.
Adams said that her purpose for starting the fencing club is so that Marlborough fencers could compete in tournaments.
“We want to have one person from our team win a tournament or compete in at least one tournament,” Nina stated.
The club hopes to participate in a relatively new interscholastic league called the Southern California Scholastic Fencing League. Tournaments are held at other Los Angeles schools, such as Harvard-Westlake, and have two levels separated by age groups. One would be for seventh and eighth graders and the other for high schoolers. However, the age groups would compete at the same time and location. Also, since the league is co-ed, Collicutt is not sure if boys will be allowed to compete directly against girls.
Additionally, according to Collicutt, the Marlborough fencing club would have to meet some standards set by the league, such using the three different types of weapons: foil, saber, and épée.
“In this league, they have criteria of having enough girls, or boys, that fence in these different disciplines, so it’s unclear as to whether we would meet their requirements. If we can, we’d love to!” Collicutt said.
In addition to giving students the opportunity to see what fencing is all about, this year’s fencing club is also calling the Marlborough community’s attention to already talented fencers, such as Rachel ’17. Rachel has been fencing outside of school for five years, and practices about 23 hours a week. Due to her heavy commitment to local and national competitions, Bang will not be participating in Marlborough’s fencing club. However, she offered some advice to this year’s fencing club.
“Have fun, that’s the most important thing. If you take it too seriously, you won’t want to do it!” Rachel declared.
Harwitt is very excited about this addition to Marlborough.
“[Fencing] is a way for kids who maybe don’t want to play soccer or are not good at soccer or basketball, [to have] something where they can shine. You have to really think and strategize, and it’s great physical exercise!” Harwitt said.
Beddingfield is happy that she might get to fence with her Marlborough classmates.
“I went to Harvard-Westlake in 7th grade, and then I went here, and I found out that they didn’t have a team, and I was kind of bummed out. And now they might!” Catherine exclaimed.
Collicutt explained that the Athletic Department supports the fencing club and is optimistic about its future.
“It’s student-driven, meeting the needs of the girls. Anytime anybody brings a passion for an athletic pursuit, that’s going to be exciting. If we can facilitate the program for the girls to participate in, it [is] awesome!” Collicutt stated.