Heavy crop of freshmen brings new blood to Griswold HS fencing squad

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Griswold - posted Mon., Jan. 27, 2014
Devin Mitchell, a GHS freshman, parries with a St. Bernard fencer in boys' foil. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.
Devin Mitchell, a GHS freshman, parries with a St. Bernard fencer in boys' foil. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.

Griswold High School’s fencing program is picking up steam this year, as an enthusiastic bumper crop of newcomers take up the sword for the Wolverines. Head coach Daryl Schlender said that he’s seen an uptick in tryouts for the team, which in an average year starts at 20 fencers and usually dwindles to 16 by mid-season.

“We had 24 people come out this year, and half of them are freshmen,” said Schlender. “It’s a good amount… actually it seems larger.” The five novice boys and six novice girls are fitting right in to this unusual sport, he said. “They seem to really enjoy it. They’ve picked it up and seem to enjoy the opportunity to fence. It’s a really good group of students. I’m hoping they’ll all come back.”

Schlender has four squad leaders at the helm of his teams, including seniors Mackenzie Chenette in girls’ foil and Alexis Rickey in girls’ epee. For the boys’ teams, junior John Enard leads the foil squad and Joshua Urban leads epee. Having a designated leader for each squad provides “better coverage and more eyes on people,” explained Schlender. Alex Peterson and Meghan Ertl round out Schlender’s crop of seniors.

“We really don’t have a JV squad this year. It’s a rebuilding year, as it were,” said Schlender. As a result, freshman Mary Seagraves was assigned to epee, a weapon that fencers typically learn after they’ve had some experience in foil. She’s filling out a three-person squad with two seniors.

Schlender, whose son Derek serves as his assistant, said that the team’s overall record for the season is deceptive. “The record doesn’t really show the quality we’ve been fencing at. We’ve lost a lot of 5-4 matches,” he said. With ECC championships looming on the horizon – a tournament once again hosted by GHS – “now’s the time to ramp up. That’s what happened last year. I think it’s going to be a fairly decent event for us.”

Upcoming meets include a make-up meet at home against St. Bernard and Bacon Academy on Saturday, Feb. 1. The Wolverines will host the ECC fencing championships on Saturday, Feb. 22. Competition starts at 9 a.m.

Let us know what you think!
Please be as specific as possible.
Include your name and email if you would like a response back.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the code without spaces and pay attention to upper/lower case.