The Ian Beddis gymnasium played host to an OUA Championship on February 2 and 3. While fencing is not necessarily thought to be at the forefront of the Brock sports scene, that thought could easily be changed upon witnessing the competition from the top female fencers in Ontario.
“If you win this, you’re the top of the pile in Ontario,” said Brock assistant coach, Kirk Girard.
In addition to Brock, 12 schools converged on the Brock campus to duel for the chance at a provincial medal.
“This event was absolutely world class. In fact, some of the referees were looking at the world championships in Warsaw that were happening at the same time and the venue looked exactly the same,” said Brock assistant coach, Kathy Girard. “So Brock did itself proud.”
“We’re one of four schools that have the capability of hosting this event so it comes up quite frequently for us,” explained Brock head coach Tim Stang.
Athletes competed in individual events on Feb. 2, while the team events took place on Feb. 3 with all three disciplines of Foil, Epee and Sabre being contested. Medals were awarded for each event with the overall prize being awarded for the combined results from each school from the weekend.
The University of Toronto took home the OUA banner with their team receiving gold in Foil, and silver in both Epee and Sabre. Western finished second overall and RMC found themselves in third.
Brock’s women’s fencing program is currently in what could be described as a rebuilding state but there were positives that could be drawn from the team’s showing on the weekend, especially when you consider the age dynamic of the squad.
“We had a mixed bag performance, it was quite good in a lot of respects. We have a very young team in some regards and some experienced veterans,” said Stang. “[OUA] is one of the strongest championships in Canada, it’s a unique experience, so for them to be about mid-pack is a strong showing from them this year given how young the team is.”
According to Stang, a pair of rookies that are still fairly new to the sport really showed that they were forces to be reckoned with against the top quality competition that the tournament offered.
“Nica Obillo came out of nowhere. She started fencing this past year and has been absolutely a little powerhouse of a fencer. And Tamara Tait, just a spitfire of an athlete, put a number of national team athletes on their heels and kept them at bay. So it was a great showing for them,” said Stang.
There was also a veteran presence that represented Brock strongly.
“Magda Nejman, our women’s Epee team captain, had a spectacular performance in team Epee. She carried her team quite efficiently with some beautiful touches against opponents,” said Stang.
Despite these individual bright spots, there was a lack of overall team success for the most part. But this can easily be attributed to the very stiff competition that Brock faced. On the other hand, the program maintained a good standing in the provincial fencing world by hosting a high quality event.
“It highlights Brock; people love coming to this facility with the events we put on. It really presents well,,” said Kirk Girard.
As for what’s next on the Brock fencing radar, the men’s team gets their chance with their OUA provincial championships coming up on Feb. 9 and 10.
“We have men’s championships at the University of Toronto this coming weekend, we’re quite hopeful,” said Stang, who is also the head coach of the men’s program. “We’re expecting a medal performance from Malcolm Mcleod in men’s foil, Aaron Olmstead in men’s sabre and Logan Wilford in men’s Epee,” said Stang.
For the women, they now turn their attention towards the National University Championships a couple of months away.
“Some of them have qualified already — for national university championships in May, which will be held in Quebec City. So it’s post school year, but there’s still the excitement of nationals,” said Stang.