A look at the UMass club fencing team

Members of the UMass Fencing Club discuss their goals for the 2022-2023 season

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McKenna Premus / Daily Collegian.

By Abby Joyce, Collegian Correspondent

The University of Massachusetts Fencing Club kicked off their 2022-2023 season in early November; they host practices four times a week continuing until April. Their main goal for the upcoming season is to attend Nationals in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Captain Julie Sentman, junior environmental science major, said that she enjoys being a member of UMass Fencing because of the “team bonding that we have and the sportsmanship that people have for each other.”

Sentman was inspired to become a captain of the team by her grandfather, who was one of the top fencers in the country when he was in college.

“I have the management skills and organizational abilities to be a good member of the team,” Sentman said. “I can really support the team for all that they’ve done for me.”

According to Sentman, there are three different weapons that are used in fencing: the foil, the épée and the saber. Each weapon has a different form of refereeing and rules, but the point scoring is similar.

The saber, the heaviest sword, has the most rules. Points may not be scored even after contact and the points scored depend on if the contact is made by the tip or the entire blade.

The épée has a compressor on the tip of the sword, triggering a light that allots a point if the hit is solid enough. Lastly the foil, the lightest sword, scores points with any contact between the tip of the sword and a sensor.

Foil Captain Jacob Urisman, senior computer science and math double major, enjoys the welcoming environment of the group. The team “can promote being competitive without being disrespectful,” Urisman said. He participated in fencing during high school and wanted to further his skills at the collegiate level.

“Everyone is super nice and fun to be around, making even the hardest and most intense practices worth it,” said Kate Pepper, secretary and sophomore sociology major.

Similar to Urisman, Pepper likes the competitiveness of the sport and the team. “Everyone wants to do their best and win, but there’s no pressure when it comes to failing. It’s inevitable that we won’t always win a bout, but when that happens, the team is incredibly supportive,” she said.

As the current season picks up speed, Pepper emphasized that the team has been working towards qualifying for Nationals, hosted in Indiana. “I look forward to seeing them do their absolute best competing against other schools in the country,” Pepper said.

Additionally, the team hopes to be able to spend time with the Mount Holyoke College and Smith College fencing teams, as well as compete against varsity teams. Some of these teams lost numbers as a result of the pandemic; UMass fencing hopes to build relationships with these surrounding teams, Sentman said.

Students curious about the fencing club should “watch for advertisements and come out and support us,” Urisman said. “If you have prior experience feel free to drop by.”

 

Abby Joyce can be reached at [email protected].