Wolverine fencing squad to host ECC tournament this year

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Griswold - posted Thu., Dec. 20, 2012
Seniors Brandon Dufour and Mandi Charette practice their foil technique. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.
Seniors Brandon Dufour and Mandi Charette practice their foil technique. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.

Griswold fencing coach Daryl Schlender said he’s seen a steady growth of interest and support in the sport across the region over the decade he’s been coaching fencing at Griswold High School. Even the number of teams in the Eastern Connecticut Conference has grown. “When we first started there were only five schools. Now that’s grown to nine. The exposure from the Olympics, too – people watch it and think, ‘Wow, that’s interesting,’” he said.

That growth means an expanded meet schedule. “This is the first year that the ECC has doubled up our efforts,” said Schlender. “With the exception of Bacon Academy, everybody can fence everybody twice instead of once this season, and all teams get three home matches. That should generate more interest and get us out there and noticed as well.”

Griswold will host this year’s ECC tournament, on Feb. 23, but three regular home meets are also on the boards, slated for Jan. 5, Jan. 26 and Feb. 26. Admission to regular meets is free, said Schlender.

While the Wolverines lost a couple of key seniors to graduation, Schlender has a core of underclassmen filling in some of the vacancies at varsity level, with returning seniors in both boys’ and girls’ foil and in girls’ epee. The girls’ captain, Mandi Charette, a third-year senior, is backed up in foil by junior Mackenzie Chenette; four younger fencers (freshman Danielle Longacre, sophomore Sylvia Richardson, and freshmen Alexandria Peterson and Amy Waggoner) are vying for the third varsity slot.

Captain Jamie Buchas, also a third-year senior fencer, leads the boys’ varsity foil squad, backed up by four-year senior Brandon Dufour, sophomore Jonathan Emard and freshman Curtis Dupont.

The epee ranks are smaller; this year Schlender is taking the unusual step of starting some freshmen directly in epee. Seniors Sarah Brooks and Katie Waggoner and juniors Alexis Rickey and Megan Ertl make up the girls’ varsity epee squad; the boys’ team includes junior Joshua Urban and freshmen Noah Higgins and Ryan Miller.

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