Underrated fencing team has victorious season

Michael Gennari and Staff, Staff Writer

Fencing remains one of the most underrated sports at our school, though the PDS fencing teams have had an extremely successful year so far. The teams have stepped up their game, with the boys’ varsity squad boasting a record of 8-3 and the girls’ a steady record of 2-8. There has been much growth from last season, especially noticeable on the girls’ squad, as the team’s perseverance is marked following last year’s season of eight losses and no wins. The boy’s team is continuing its hot streak, defeating such notable opponents as Montgomery, Hun, PHS, and West Windsor Plainsboro South.

Fencers have the option to choose three different kinds of weapons: foil, sabre, and épée, each of which requires unique techniques and strategies to out-maneuver and successfully defeat an opponent.

A new season also brings the PDS fencing teams two new coaches, including Hussein Tolba, a highly rated referee and a coach at Premier Fencing Club based out of Monmouth Junction, and his assistant coach, James Giovachinni. Both the boys and girls squads boast nationally ranked fencers, including sophomores Christopher Kiel and Sarah Prilutsky. Prilutsky began fencing at the age of eight and made her way up through the national fencing hierarchy. She credits the growth of the team to the keen interest from the student body in participating.

“[We had new fencers] from the freshman class, and we also got a few new juniors. With more people, I feel like there is more room for competition and improvement. We really grow as a team and support each other through wins and losses. Having more people to practice with makes us more competitive,” said Prilutsky.

The team attributes its sudden progress to its deep respect for values such as sportsmanship and moral support.

Kiel, who is competing in the 2016 Junior Olympics, described the same type of sportsmanship on the boys team.

“I think that the entire mentality of supporting your teammates is something that has helped our team win more this year, and I think that the way our team functions definitely supports each other.”

The team works in cohesion and always has each other’s backs. Kiel believes that as a fencer with a wealth of experience to his name, his role on the squad is not just to win bouts but also to pass on tips and advice to the rest of the team. suggesting, “I think it’s helped in terms of coaching. I have been able to give advice to others in the foil squad because sometimes there might be things that you might not think about [in certain situations], but I just have had a bit more experience.”