Fencers Fight for Fleche and Blood


On the morning of Sunday, April 15, the St. Mary’s Fencing Club hosted the annual spring Fleche and Blood Tournament at the Michael P. O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center. Along with students from the St. Mary’s Club, fencers from Goucher College, St. John’s College, and Temple University visited to compete in the tournament.

The students competed in the three different fencing styles of Foil, Sabre, and Epee. Students were initially separated into pools of fencers using their weapon. The pools competed in a round robin style until each fencer was seeded for their weapon. Then, a tournament bracket was created for the fencers to compete for first, second, and third place.

“I’m fencing foil today,” said senior and member of the Fencing Club Kathy Michels before the tournament started. “Typically you’ll be put in a pool with five or six other people and then you’ll fence everyone in your pool.”

The bouts during the round robin were five touch bouts, or a match to five points. Without a time limit, the fencers competed until one of them reached five touches. During the tournament bouts, which were direct elimination, fencers competed to be the first one to reach 15 touches. In these bouts, fencers competed for three minutes, then stopped for a one minute break. After three engagements, if the fencers were tied, a coin was flipped to see which fencer would be given priority for a one minute bout to the first touch.

Senior Don Rees, current president of the Fencing Club, and Josh Kaminsky, junior and member of the Club, were the two referees from St. Mary’s. They were assisted by two other paid referees from out of the county. All four of the referees were United States Fencing Association (USFA) certified directors. The referees made the calls during the bouts and kept track of the scores.

“I think I’ve done a total of six tournaments now, and I started last year. So, I’m pretty happy about that,” said sophomore Alexia Tanski, secretary of the Fencing Club. “Every single year we’ve had to wake up super early and drive to wherever the tournament was being held. So, it was really nice to hold it here and not have to drive hours to wherever it’s being held.”

This year was the first time that St. Mary’s hosted a fencing tournament with other schools coming to compete on campus. “Last year, no schools came,” said Tanski. “This is the first time we’ve had schools come here to fence.”

The winners for Foil were St. Mary’s senior Steve Rees in first place, Naisha Soto from Temple in second place, and Colette Maimone from St. John’s in third place. For Epee, the winners were Zach Hogan from Temple in first place, sophomore Greg Flanigan from St. Mary’s in second place, and senior Brian Szychowski from St. Mary’s in third place. Finally, for Sabre, Mat Johnstone from Temple was in first place, Channel Ross from Temple was in second place, and senior Tom Sagre from St. Mary’s was in third place.

The executive board of the St. Mary’s Fencing Club presented all the winners with medals at the end of the tournament.