The Huntington-Harborfields fencing team produced many medalists at the Ward Melville Underclass Challenge.
The Huntington-Harborfields fencing team produced many medalists at the Ward Melville Underclass Challenge.

Young Fencers Sharp at Underclass Challenge

January 2, 2024

Huntington’s youngest fencing team members turned in a series of sharp performances at this year’s Underclass Challenge at Ward Melville. Among the Blue Devils competing were some of the most talented eighth, ninth and tenth graders in Suffolk.

Huntington is collaborating with Harborfields on combined boys’ and girls’ fencing teams this winter for the first time ever and four Harborfields freshmen joined 11 Blue Devils in winning medals at the competition.

Combination teams are common in the sport of fencing and the Huntington/Harborfields collaboration has been an unbridled success to date. It has strengthened the overall program and deepened the bench of talent.

The Underclass Challenge is hosted yearly during the winter break and it gives fencers a chance to compete against others of similar age and fencing experience.

“This tournament started in 2004 as an opportunity for fencers in grades 7-10 who are new to the sport/non-varsity starters to have an opportunity to fence others with a similar level of experience,” Huntington head coach Michelle O’Brien explained.

Blue Devil seniors Layna Abraham and Jake Amend came along to referee while freshmen Olivia Lee and Julia Goodwin came to help coach their teammates.

The top placing Huntington fencers included:

Seventh grade: William Respass: Champion in men’s sabre; Dylan Goodwin: Runner-up in men’s sabre; Cecilia Lee: Champion in women’s foil

Eighth grade: Nicolas Martinez Eubig : Runner-up in men’s foil

Nick Martinez-Men’s Foil, 2nd place

Ninth grade: (All from Harborfields) Frank Rathbun: Champion in men’s epee; Paul DiPaola: Runner-up in men’s epee; Caelan Bues: Runner-up in women’s epee; Lila Sheehan: 6th place in women’s epee

Tenth grade: Carver Van Kirk: 6th place in men’s sabre; Alex Tine: 3rd place in men’s foil; Ethan Ambrosio: 4th place in men’s foil; Daniel Simon: Runner-up in men’s epee; Ariana Zavala Nunez: Champion in women’s foil; Charlotte Cassatto: Champion in women’s epee; Danna Garcia Martinez: 3rd place in women’s foil

O’Brien and assistant coach Vin O’Garra expressed their delight with the results and with seeing the Blue Devil fencers make new friends with those on competing teams.