Greenwich High boys, girls fencers fare well at state championship meet

The Greenwich High School boys fencing team pose for a photo after winning the state championship. From left are assistant coach Euchung Ung, Nathaniel Ung, Faran Savitz,Kai Kobayashi, Harry McGuire, Hans Van Rhyn, Misha Shender, Harrison Tune, Nick Parry, James Plewniak, Simon Perry and head coach Don Grunewald.

The Greenwich High School boys fencing team pose for a photo after winning the state championship. From left are assistant coach Euchung Ung, Nathaniel Ung, Faran Savitz,Kai Kobayashi, Harry McGuire, Hans Van Rhyn, Misha Shender, Harrison Tune, Nick Parry, James Plewniak, Simon Perry and head coach Don Grunewald.

Greenwich High School made history this year by winning the Burton E. Moore award for the Connecticut State Boys’ Fencing Championship for the first time ever.

The GHS boys epee, foil and sabre teams contributed to the overall victory by qualifying to be quarterfinal contenders in all four events this year, with the foil and sabre teams garnering gold on Saturday morning.

Later in the afternoon, the Lady Cardinals sabre team showed that they were not to be denied their moment in the sun by winning the gold medal in its event.  This was the first time that team sabre events have featured in Connecticut high school fencing, making the sabre teams’ gold medals all the more significant.

“What an end to a very wild and at times challenging season,” Greenwich High School head coach Don Grunewald said. “We overcame weather, illness and scheduling problems to get to this point. That is impressive. We used a very esoteric strategy developed over several days which we called ‘crazy’ or ‘wildcat offense’, and I think that surprised our opponents. I was proud at how much improvement there was this year, especially at our ability to win in close pressure situations, which is what we practiced repeatedly this year. It was a monster day.”

Spirits ran high within the GHS contingent on Saturday morning.  The team had been training hard all season, meeting up against their opponents from other schools in Connecticut during the last three months – sometimes up to twice a week.  The event started with the boys’ events in the morning, followed by the girls’ events in the afternoon.   Teams fence against other teams in the competition based on ranking with victorious teams being promoted to the next round of the competition.  Each team was permitted to field three fencers with only one substitution.

In the event, which took place at Guilford High School, the boys’ foil team quickly dispatched its quarter final opponent from North Haven High School, with Kai Kobayashi, Faran Savitz, and Nat Ung winning the round 5-2.

The semi-final round opponent from Daniel Hand High School proved more tenacious, and the team (with Harry McGuire replacing Ung) beating their opponents in a close 5-3 match, with Savitz defeating second-seeded foil fencer Kyle Welch in a dramatic come-from-behind victory.

The championship round, against the host Guilford team in front of a large home crowd, was won by GHS 5-2, but with each bout tightly fought between the fencers. The last bout was won by McGuire, who recovered from a 1-4 deficit to claw a 5-4 win over Kyle Evered, the runner-up in foil at the Individual States. McGuire also had a personal achievement for the day.

Over four seasons and hundreds of bouts, he never once lost a bout in foil, whether regular season, tournament, or post season. He was perfect in four years of high school fencing.

While the foil team was facing down its opponents, the boys’ epee team with yeoman fencer McGuire, together with Nick Parry and Simon Perry, struggled hard, but failed to defeat the top ranked boys’ team from Hopkins School in New Haven in the quarter-finals.

The team went on to beat the team from Bridgeport Central in a close 5-4 match despite forfeits, but fell to the team from Norwich when it had to surrender two bouts to a walkover due to conflicts between the foil and epee events. Nevertheless, the team improved from its eighth place ranking at the onset to finish sixth overall.

Both the boys’ and girls’ sabre teams were granted the luxury of a bye in the quarterfinals for each, getting the top seed from a strong finish the week before.

Both teams handily defeated their semi-final and final round opponents. The boys’ defeated Fairfield High School 5-0 in a strong opening, and went on to beat Hopkins 5-2 for the title.  James Plewniak, Misha Shender and Harrison Tune fenced for the boys’ team, while Maddi Herne, Juliette McGuiness, and Nika Shender fenced for the girls’ team. T

he girls’ looked dominant in saber, with little trouble posting a 5-1 win over North Haven in the first round and a 5-0 win over Hopkins in the gold medal match.

This was the first season for saber at team states, and Greenwich had the top ranking squads going in and finishing the competition.

Teams for the event were selected on the basis of performance of individual fencers in the various weapons in the State Individual Fencing Championships the week before.

Senior Harry McGuire won the boys’ foil gold medal for the fourth straight year — an all-time Connecticut record, while senior Nika Shender and sophomore Maddi Herne won the girls’ sabre gold and bronze medals respectively.

Junior Misha Shender won the silver medal, and sophomore James Plewniak and senior Harrison Tune placed sixth and seventh respectively, for boys sabre.

Other GHS fencers, including Manuela Barker, Juliette McGuiness, Nick Parry, Faran Savitz, and Rachel Winpisinger, placed within the top sixteen in their respective weapons. With the strong showing, Greenwich fielded the top ranked boys’ and girls’ sabre teams in the state, and the second ranked boys’ foil team.

 

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© Hersam Acorn. All rights reserved. The Greenwich Post, 10 Corbin Drive, Floor 3, Darien, CT 06820

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress