Wellesley Fencing had a stellar start to their winter season last Sunday, Nov. 4, at the Long Island University (LIU) Post Invitational, where they went undefeated against seven other colleges. The Blue won 155 individual bouts, more than any other college.
Fencing has been a varsity sport at Wellesley for 26 years, but the team’s ethos is young. Head Coach Ariana Klinkov is entering her fourth year with the program, and the team recently hired Taylor Hood ’18 as an assistant coach. “It is great to be back with the team,” Hood said. “We really are a family so it is nice to see everyone back together and working hard.” The coaching staff is reinforced by Assistant Coach Rob Charlton, who has been a mainstay in the fencing program for more than ten years.
Fencing’s leadership is rounded out by captains Cassandra Cronin ’19 and Meg Harney ’19. Last year, Harney won the Northeast Fencing Conference’s (NFC) Sachs Award, which is given to the fencer with the best record who began fencing in college.
The team’s roster is also fairly young — out of the 18 fencers, six are first years and eight are sophomores — but despite the team members’ ages, they are not lacking in experience. Last year, nine fencers represented Wellesley at the 2018 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Northeast Regional, and six are returning this season. In addition, many of the first-years have extensive experience fencing on high school and even national levels.
“I am excited to see the growth we have experienced on the team,” Hood remarked. “This year, like last year, we brought in more first years and seniors graduated. Therefore, we are a growing team and I am excited to see how the first years add to the team.”
The first years will be joining a team with a recent history of success. Last season, the team’s record was 20-9, their first 20-win season since 2010-2011. The team handily defeated the University of New Hampshire, Sacred Heart University, Brandeis University and Tufts University, among others, and it achieved third place overall at the 2018 New England Intercollegiate Fencing Conference (NEIFC) Championships.
There were also individual successes last year — Julia Calventus-Coveney ’21 posted a 30-6 record in epee, and Brie Maurer ’20 finished 27-7 in foil. Calventus-Coveney and Maurer both received NFC All-Star Honors for the 2017-2018 season. They were the first Wellesley fencers to earn the honors since 2010.
In hopes of building off of these accomplishments, the team’s goals for this season are “to be a team that supports each other on and off the strip” and “to improve [their] abilities as fencers and beat as many teams as possible,” says Hood. The Blue’s seven team victories this weekend are a promising start!
Fencing next competes this Sunday, Nov. 11, at the Vassar Invitational. Other meets to look out for include Brandeis on Jan. 29 at 6 pm and the 2019 NEIFC Championships on Mar. 2 at 9am. Wellesley is set to host both meets.