Queens College’s Lady Knights fencing team defeated Yeshiva University to begin their season on Nov. 16 at The Matt Lampell Invitational.
According to the NCAA rules, there are only nine dates competitions can be scheduled on. Each month only includes one or two “duel meets”. There could be up to three to six meets in a single day. This began around the early 1990s.
The season concludes with NCAA Regionals followed by Nationals, where the best college fencers compete.
Coach Greg Rupp is in his third season as head coach. Rupp hopes to have a few women representing QC in the Regionals this season.
“It’s going be an exciting regionals this time around. I think my team are contenders to try and get into the regionals,” Rupp said.
Rupp is a 25-year veteran in the sport of fencing and understands the level of competition at these duel meets can be intense.
“Even though we are a Division II school we end up fencing Division I and Division III schools. We’re fencing these top five ranked schools in the country that are Division I, unlike other sports where you’re just playing Division II teams,” Coach Rupp said.
Elizabeth Joa, a sophomore, knows there is more to fencing than just the physical side to the sport.
“The toughest aspect of the sport is the mental aspect. Thinking about the strategies and how to get around the opponent’s blade can be tough sometimes. As a fencer, I need to be able to quickly change my strategies and tactics,” Joa said.
Fencing dates back to the 18th century. There are three different weapons used in fencing—the epee, saber and foil. A person, who fences with one weapon does not fence with another. They specifically train with their weapon.
“My favorite aspect of fencing itself is getting to fence other fencers on the strip. Different fencers have different styles, techniques and strategies. So I like to observe and learn how to adapt to the different fencing styles,” Joa said.
Each bout is won with five touches. Every school uses their three best fencers for each weapon. There are three bouts per person totaling 27 bouts. The first team to win 14 out of 27 is determined the winner.
In the team’s first meeting against rival Hunter College, the Lady Knights defeated Hunter 14-13. In their second meeting of the season at home they were tied 13-13 heading into the final bout. Hunter took the deciding bout winning 14-13.
In general, when it comes to rivals, the Lady Knights have a few. “Now LIU Post has a team and they are in Queens College’s classic conference, the ECC, so we’ll probably end up having a nice rivalry with them. There’s always a little rivalry among CUNY [schools]. They are like fri-enemies type of thing, our closest friends
and closest rivals,” Rupp said. Coach Rupp sees a bright future for the Lady Knight’s fencing team.
“We’re going to have a very strong team in the future. A lot of them gained experience and a few have gone to the Regionals and done well. The fact most of them are going to be back means we are going to have an experienced team and are going be dangerous next year,” Rupp said.
The Lady Knight’s next meet is the NCAA Regionals on March 8.