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Fencing team’s reign continues

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Senior Skyler Schur (right) counterattacks by turning during a championship duel on April 14 at the Academy High School. Photo by Lauren Caldwell

For the fourth year in a row, the Lowell varsity fencing team were victorious at the Academic Athletic Association championship, claiming the Visconti trophy. The Cardinals garnered first place with a total of 48 points, followed by San Francisco University High School’s Red Devils with 39 points, and the Washington High School Eagles with 21 points. The match took place at Academy High School on April 14.

Going into the AAA championship, the girls’ and boys’ teams had both finished their regular seasons with a laudable 7–1 record, and were optimistic about defending their previous AAA championships.

Junior Kerry Lu (right) lunges at his opponent. Photo by Lauren Caldwell

With the first half of the tournament consisting of “pool play,” in which seedings are determined for the second half of the tournament, head coach Scott Cunningham stressed the importance of doing well to his fencers. “I knew that every fencer had to do well in their individual pool, so in the direct elimination bracket, we would be as far away from each other as possible, so we wouldn’t encounter each other until the end of the tournament,” Cunningham said.

The boys performed well in the first half of the tournament, with junior Kerry Lu earning the overall number-one seed, senior captain Jim Wang placing third, sophomore Raymond McMillan placing ninth, and senior Skyler Schur placing fifteenth out of 31.

The girls proved adept, as well. Sophomore Jordyn Kosai and freshman Madeline Yap swept their pools, tying for the overall number two seed. Also making a strong showing were junior captain Ella Houweling, who placed fourteenth, freshman Anna Orgel, who placed sixteenth, and sophomore Katie Huang, who placed twenty-third out of thirty-five.

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As the competition crossed over into the second half, Houweling, Huang, Kosai, Orgel and Yap were given a bye, thereby automatically placing the fivesome in the round of 32. Kosai and Yap eventually made it to the semifinals, where they faced off against each other. Kosai won 15–2 against Yap, earning her a spot in the finals.

Coming into finals, Kosai did not expect to win as she knew her opponent, who is a ranked fencer, personally from her club outside of school. Instead of giving up, however, Kosai chose to experiment with her attacks such as charging at her opponent or attacking weirdly. “When you know you are against somebody that you can’t win against, it’s the perfect time to experiment and do really crazy stuff,” Kosai said. Because of Kosai attacking differently than she normally does, she managed to get one point. Kosai’s opponent was crushing her 8–0, and Kosai managed to get her tip on her opponent’s lamé. “When I got that one point, that made me so happy,” she said. She ultimately fell short 15–1.

Sophomore Katie Huang (right) parries her opponent’s incoming attack. Photo by Lauren Caldwell

In the boys’ bracket, Lu was awarded a bye, earning him a spot in the round of 16, while McMillan, Wang and Schur were able to fend off their lower seeded opponents, advancing to the round of 16. Teammates Lu and Wang dominated the competition, both earning spots in the finals, where the two competed against each other. Wang was unable to avoid Lu’s speedy lunges, attacks and parries, losing 15–2. Ultimately, Lu achieved first overall in the Men’s Foil, gaining his first city title.

With another AAA championship in hand, the Cardinals are now focused on maintaining their momentum and drive as they prepare for the California Interscholastic Federation All-State Tournament at 9 a.m. on April 28 at the Academy High School. “States is another chance to redeem yourself,” Kosai said. “Just go in there, do your thing, get out and do your homework.”

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Fencing team’s reign continues