The Roswell Fencing Team

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Roswell member (top) participating in a face-off. Photo credit: Roswell Yearbook Staff

Alexandra Wiggins, Staff Writer

Fencing is a team sport that was first introduced to Roswell High School 17 years ago, in 2003. Roswell was the first school in Fulton County to have a team, meaning that in the early stages of this sport, the team would only compete against themselves. The season for fencing generally begins in the beginning of the school year and runs through winter, ending just before the start of spring sports. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the season has been cancelled, leaving athletes without any tournaments or practices. 

 

Fencing at Roswell High School is considered a club sport. According to Susan Pappas, fencing sponsor and coach, “club sports require space for practice and tournaments but priority goes to GHSA-sanctioned sports like football, cheerleading, and so on.” That being said, there has been no plan to reschedule the 2020-2021 season, due to uncertainties caused by COVID-19. This information has been very disappointing for this year’s seniors, Stas Barber and Giselle Perez. Barber has been fencing since his freshman year, and Perez was new to the sport just last year. 

 

However, this devastating news has not held the athletes back from training. Some of the athletes are just focusing on school and achieving their goals in academics, while others are also achieving their goals in fencing. There are a variety of private clubs across the area, like Dunwoody Fencing Club, Olympic Fencers Club, and Lotus Fencing Academy, that some of the Roswell fencers are going to so that they may continue their practice. The team has not been holding online meetings because “one of the great aspects of fencing is the camaraderie fencers gain skill by learning and working together in practice,” says Pappas. Therefore, it is not easy for participants to gain skills since the coaching and normal aspects of the sport are not present. Junior Grace Jones says, “I have been practicing a little with my friends Salma. We have practiced at my house.” The season this year is quite casual and gives athletes time to work on their skills. 

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Some of the girls from the 2019-2020 season! Photo credit: Roswell Yearbook Staff

The fencing team has done exceedingly well in the past. Last season, the team consisted of nine girls and one boy. There were a few athletes who made it to the 2019-2020 individual fencing championships. Stas Barber, now a senior, Isabella Cordell, graduated, and Salmah Repole, graduated, made it to these championships. Stas Barber scored 58 points and was ranked 68th overall in the league. Isabella gained 11 points and was ranked 61st. Salmah Repole finished with 256 points and was 12th overall in the league. Pappas mentions that, “fencers who earn points in tournaments can become eligible for the individual championship,” rather than just the team. Salmah also won a gold medal, a silver medal, and two bronze medals. 

While it was hard to hear about the cancellation of the fencing season this year, many athletes still have hope for next year and future seasons. Without the help of the coaches and sponsors Kathy Vail and Susan Pappas, the fencing team would not be possible in the first place. Pappas says, “my hope is that when a vaccine is available and school returns to a more normal schedule next year, fencing can return to Roswell High School.” 

If you are interested to learn more about the sport of fencing or just Roswell Highschool fencing in general, click here