This year's Huntington fencing team continues the sports' tradition. (Rachel Learned and Darin Reed photo.)
This year's Huntington fencing team continues the sports' tradition. (Rachel Learned and Darin Reed photo.)

The History of Huntington’s Fencing Program

January 9, 2024

The story behind the Huntington High School varsity fencing program is a one that played out over many decades. It took several attempts to get the sport off the ground and it wasn’t until the 1935/36 school year that the effort succeeded.

The fencing club completed its first year of “organization” in the spring of 1936, according to that year’s edition of the high school yearbook. “Although fencing was introduced in the school several times in the past few years, there was never a permanent club,” states the yearbook.

Enter John Sage. While just who this man was has been lost to history, the yearbook notes that in fall of 1935, he stepped forward. He “was well instructed in the art and made a successful attempt to organize the club.”

Junior Lois Aboff served as the fencing club’s first president. Teacher Marvin Carter, a graduate of New York University, was the faculty advisor and Mr. Sage was the instructor, offering technical expertise and running practice sessions.

“Thrilling exhibition duels were held in the auditorium during lunch periods,” the yearbook stated. “In this way, many new members were added to the club. Members of the club also fenced during the halves of the varsity basketball games. This club is rapidly becoming very popular and is still showing progress.”

The program would disappear and reappear again several more times over the years before becoming a Blue Devil constant.

Since then the Blue Devil boys’ fencing squad has won league titles in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002 and 2023 and county crowns in 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1990, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2002. The girls’ fencing team won league championships in 1998 and1999.

Several fencers from Harborfields High School have come aboard the boys and girls team this year, strengthening the lineup. Such inter-school collaboration is common in the sport of fencing and the Blue Devil fencers and coaches have welcome their crosstown teammates with open arms.