Staff Writers Emma Burris, Isa RingswaldEgan, and Phoebe Mulder attended the Columbia Fencing Invitational in Dodge Fitness Center’s Blue Gym on November 18.
This past Friday, Columbia Fencing hosted its first home invitational, drawing in the fencing teams of Stevens Institute of Technology, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and Johns Hopkins University. Columbia’s fencing team has famously performed well, holding impressive statistics such as 16x NCAA Team Champions, 54x Ivy League Team Champions, and 39x NCAA Individual Champions. During their first home meet of the season, they failed to disappoint from historically-high expectations.
On Friday night, three Bwog staffers set out on a quest to:
1. Go to a sports event, never before done by these unfortunately un-sporty individuals. One of the members of our journalistic troupe had literally never stepped foot in Dodge before this meet.
2. (More importantly) See some FENCING. BWOG LOVES FENCING. This is our SUPERBOWL. We may know shockingly little about the sport, but what we lack in technical knowledge we make up for with ENTHUSIASM. EN GARDE! Fencing has literally everything one could want in a sport. There is drama! There is (imaginary) bloodshed! There is immense, unfathomable technical skill! There are mysterious helmets! Who is underneath the mysterious helmet? The intrigue!
We weren’t sure how many people would spend their Friday nights watching fencing, but the answer is a lot! The Blue Gym buzzed with electric anticipation. We sat politely in our seats. We clapped demurely as the fencing teams did their introductory cheers. We played it super cool. In truth, our excitement runneth over. We made sure to grab our fencing merchandise! We are now the proud owners of little Columbia Fencing towels. SCORE!! One Bwogger says they will hang it on their wall.
Fencing is super technological, which we did not know. There were wires and cords and lights running amok. Several times fencers had to reattach or get new equipment so that the computer would register the hits properly. We did our best not to trip on the many, many wires snaking across the floor, lest we embarrass ourselves in front of Columbia’s biggest celebs (the fencing team). Suffice to say, the stakes were high. If we tripped over the fencing wires, we would surely have to transfer to a different school.
Of course, no article about fencing can be written without proper address to the uniforms. The fencers look simultaneously prepared for an apiculturist convention and to sweep some dashing young individuals (us) off their feet. The dramatic reveal of the fencers ripping off their helmets, hair flowing in the climate control of Dodge, was simply magical. The one thing we were confused about was the lack of fences. How is the whole sport called “fencing,” yet there’s not a single picket in sight! Also, the sock situation is so fun. Columbia fencers wear one blue and one white sock. So jaunty! Catch us walking around campus in mismatched blue and white socks.
Sorry—we got a bit carried away there. Now back to our regularly scheduled fencing report.
For newcomers, Columbia handed out an informational (and humorous) guide to the sport. This provided helpful information on the three subsets of fencing: foil, sabre, and epee.
Before the start of the match, three members of the women’s fencing team—Alanna Xue (BC ‘26), Tierna Oxenreider (CC ‘26), and Charlotte Depew (CC ‘25)—played a rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” on violin. We were impressed by the simultaneous athleticism and musicality of Columbia’s well-known fencing team.
Women’s Fencing: 3-0
According to the @culionsfencing Instagram, the women’s fencing team swept the opponents 3-0. In the sabre category, Columbia won 8-1 against Stevens, 8-1 against NJIT, and 7-2 against Hopkins. In the epee category, Columbia won 8-1 against Stevens, 5-4 against NJIT, and 7-2 against Hopkins. In the foil category, Columbia impressed by dominantly winning 9-0 against Stevens, NJIT, and Hopkins.
Men’s Fencing: 2-1
The men’s fencing team scored 2-1 against Friday’s opposition. In short, they lost 12-15 to Stevens, but won against the other two teams—21-6 against NJIT and 15-12 against Hopkins.
One player that stood out at the invitational was Nick Harvey (CC ‘26). After winning 5-1, we noticed that he took off his fencing mask and put on a pair of glasses, meaning he won an entire sabre bout with substandard eyesight. Monica Aksamit, a US Olympic bronze medalist in sabre fencing, also made an appearance. She served as a referee for the sabre bouts.
Overall, the Columbia fencing team performed well during their first home meet of the season. They displayed good sportsmanship to their opponents, supported their teammates in success and loss, and ultimately came out on top. We left the Blue Gym feeling energized and deeply sorrowful that our parents didn’t put us in fencing lessons as children. More than anything, we are excited to see where Columbia Fencing goes next!
Columbia Fencing Images via Staff Writer Emma Burris.