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Taking up arms

Fencing program is on the rise

Senior Alex Merino holds his sword across his face. Merino and freshman Aiden Tanzer have started to reinvigorate a new wave of fencers at St. George’s.

Bayard Anderson, Sports Editor

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Anyone who has ever watched a James Bond movie remembers the classic scene in which Bond gets into a sword fight at a fencing facility. In this scene, the first person to draw blood from the chest wins the fight. Senior Alex Merino cites this as the reason he decided to start fencing.

Merino saw the scene when he was nine, and with the help Coach Tom Knowles, his fencing coach, Merino has worked his way up in the fencing community. He began fencing when he was 13, playing in a padded weapons martial arts program.

Fencers are ranked on a scale of A to E, A being the best and E being the worst. Additionally, fencers can be unranked if they have not participated in enough competitions. Merino is currently ranked at a B status and is starting to make a name for himself.

“I regularly win quite a few local competitions,” Merino said. “I’m working my way up on the national scene.”

Merino plans to continue his fencing career after high school. “I really love doing it on a weekly basis, and I do plan on fencing on a college team,” Merino said. “It’s going to be really fun.”

Merino would not be the first St. George’s student to fence in college, as alumnus Jake Doan now fences at Indiana University. Merino hopes that he can help build St. George’s back up as a strong fencing community, like it was when Doan was a student.

Freshman Aiden Tanzer may be just the person to help with this. Tanzer began fencing this past summer, even though he wanted to begin earlier.

“I have wanted to fence since fifth grade, but I thought it was a varsity sport, so I waited until this summer,” Tanzer said.

Tanzer has not attended any tournaments yet, but he is starting to do more individual work with Coach Knowles and plans to start attending tournaments in the fall.

According to Coach Knowles, there is currently a course at St. George’s for students who are interested in learning how to fence. “Before anyone can try out, they need to know how to play the sport,” Coach Knowles said. “These first six weeks were supposed to give students the chance to get started.”

The course meets on Fridays but, at this point, not enough people have signed up.

“If we get a good number to take the Learn to Fence course, then it is my hope that many of those will want to move forward and become the core of the fencing team,” Coach Knowles said.

Both Tanzer and Merino agree that St. George’s would be a great fit for a fencing team. Between the experience of Merino and the youth of Tanzer, it may only be a matter of time before St. George’s is fighting its way into the world of fencing.

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