Griswold fencers host ECC tournament
By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Griswold - posted Tue., Feb. 21, 2012
Not many high school sports teams have a Latin motto, but the Wolverine fencers have the words “Veneratio, Castrensis, Virtus” emblazoned on their team t-shirts. Ask any GHS fencer, and they’ll translate: honor, discipline, pride.
“Coach yells it at us a lot,” said junior Mandi Charette.
Head coach Daryl Schlender admitted that he does repeat the English motto on a regular basis at practice. “We just keep hammering it home,” he said.
Griswold High School’s fencing team played host to the Eastern Connecticut Conference championship tournament Feb. 18. The school has been hosting the tourney since its inception, said Schlender. This year’s competition drew 93 fencers from nine schools.
Among the Wolverine fencers, top ECC placers included girls’ captain Justyna Poznanski, who placed eighth; Megan Sanborn, who placed 14th; and Charette, who placed 17th in foil. On the epee team, junior Katie Wagner came in ninth; sophomore Alexis Rickey was 16th; and junior Sarah Brooks placed 17th. The Wolverine girls finished the tournament in fourth place overall.
The top boys’ placer for GHS was junior Jamie Buchas, who placed 11th in foil and who came in fourth in the junior varsity invitational at New Haven.
Four Griswold squads of three fencers each are preparing to compete in the state championships March 3 at Hopkins Prep in New Haven. “This is the first year we’ll be sending an epee team to states,” said Schlender. “Before this, we sent only foil because that was the only blade we had.”
The state meet may draw upwards of 200 fencers, so the heat will be on. “We’re fencing much better at the end [of the season] and we’re hoping to peak at the States,” said Schlender.
Senior trio Poznanski, Chelsea Perryman and Nathaniel Zimmerman lead the team this year, he said. “We’ve got a young team with a lot of sophomores and juniors,” he said. “A lot of my team is second-year fencers, and we’ve been pushing them to the varsity level.”
Despite the added pressure for the relative newbies, “I saw quite a bit of improvement," Schlender said. "We’ll be fencing with a lot of third-year fencers next year, so we should have some good experience coming up.”