Huntington field a young, but very promising girls' fencing team this past winter. (Darin Reed photo.)
Huntington field a young, but very promising girls' fencing team this past winter. (Darin Reed photo.)

Young Blue Devil Girls’ Fencing Team Battles Hard

February 28, 2024

A very young Huntington girls’ fencing team held its own against tough competition this winter. Freshman Julia Goodwin battled to All-County honors in sabre, finishing sixth at the Section XI championships and compiling a record of 22-15.

The Blue Devils were coached by Michelle O’Brien and Vincent O’Garra and captained by Goodwin, Chelsea Drummings, Veda Gross, Olivia Lee and Layna Abraham.

Abraham capped off her senior season with the program in fine fashion, finishing third in epee in both the Manhasset Invitational and Brentwood Holiday Tournament. The teenager was recognized as second team All-County after going 25-8 for the season.

Abraham joined the program as a sophomore and has developed into a top fencer. “Layna is well-liked by her teammates as well as her opponents and even earned some votes for the Alan Kuver Fencer’s Fencer Award this year, which is named in honor of our former coach,” O’Brien said.

Drummings, another of Huntington’s most talented freshman, went 18-15 in sabre, garnering honorable mention All-League status. Along with Goodwin, she gives the Blue Devils a strong foundation for next winter.

“Julia and Chelsea are developing their skills with determination,” O’Brien said. “Both has expressed interest in training in the off-season and show a lot of promise. These young ladies are well-liked by everyone. Recently, a fencer from another team asked me if they were coming to the individual county championships and I replied, ‘yes,’ and her response was ‘yay! We’ll have friends.’”

This marked the first season that Harborfields combined with Huntington in fencing to form a super team in the sport. The two sets of athletes got along famously and the combo served to strengthen the overall program.

“They came together and functioned well as a team,” O’Brien said. “They have a great sense of humor and support each other through everything.”

Next year’s goals include qualifying for the league championships, continue producing medalists at invitational tournaments and continue having a cohesive team with members that support each other “through thick and thin,” the coach said.

“These kids worked extremely well together; as a boys’ team and as a girls’ team and as an overall team,” O’Brien said. “Harborfields meshed with us with no problem at all and were a great asset. We are only graduating three seniors this year so we look forward to developing the existing team into a force to be reckoned with over the next few years. The parents were extremely supportive as were the alumni.”

The squad totaled 15 when the season ended. “The majority of the team returns, which is great,” O’Brien said. “Ideally, they will convince their friends to join and the sport will continue to grow. The goal of both the boys’ and girls’ teams is to make it to the playoffs and the league championships.”

Huntington senior Layna Abraham helped lead a young team. (Rachel Learned photo.)