Fencing stays competitive at Northwestern Duals

The Lawrence University Men’s and Women’s Fencing teams competed at the Northwestern Duals over the weekend on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. The men’s team went 2-6 overall, recording victories over California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Northwestern University. The women posted a record of 1-9 over the course of the two-day tournament. Their lone victory came from Caltech.

The meet was highly competitive with some top ranked teams competing. “It was a very hard tournament,” said Viking senior epee fighter Moses Zarkin-Scott. “It was really insane. I would say it’s probably the most challenging tournament I’ll probably ever go to at Lawrence. We get to compete against these crazy good people, and that’s kind of a blessing.”

Some of the best men’s and women’s teams in the nation competed and some athletes are expected to compete in this summer’s upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. While the teams struggled against stiff competition, they are hoping to learn from and be motivated by the challenges they have faced.

The team has tried to stay strong through the adversity it has faced this year. Some athletes have quit and Lawrence has a smaller coaching staff than most of the teams they face. Additionally, the Vikings’ men’s epee squad has no alternates, so Zarkin-Scott, along with his teammates, senior Phillip Ziller and junior Connor Schurr must fight every bout. “We’ve persevered,” said Zarkin-Scott. “We’re getting through the year. “My approach is to maintain a positive attitude toward whatever comes up.”

While the team is committed to doing its best for the remainder of the season, they also hope to have a good time while doing so. “If we weren’t having fun, we wouldn’t go to practice,” said Zarkin-Scott. “The chances of us having fun is pretty high if you have the right mentality, and of course, with that, you’re going to get better, and maybe eventually have great success.”

The Vikings do not compete again until The Midwest Fencing Conference Championships at the end of February. The athletes will continue to practice and fine tune their skills and techniques in the final month of the season. The team hopes to take what it has learned in both practice and tournaments and put together a successful finish to the season.