Montclair Fencing: Mounties in fine form at District 5
PHOTO BY ANDREW GARDA/STAFF
by Andrew Garda
All the Montclair fencing teams do is win these days, with the latest successes coming as they hosted the District 5 Tournament on Sunday, Jan. 28.
The Mounties girls team finished second overall with the boys landing in third. This is on top of a regular season of dual meets in which the girls finished with a perfect 9-0 record. Since some teams have yet to finish their dual meets, the count is unofficial, but the Mounties definitely look poised for a perfect regular-season finish.
The girls nearly took the district as well, as they tied eventual winner Bergen Tech with 67 victories each. Bergen Tech had more touches though — 372 to 358 — so they were awarded first place in the girls half of the tournament.
Along with Bergen Tech and Montclair, the rest of the field came from Bayonne High School, Columbia High School, Montclair Kimberley Academy, Passaic Valley, Passaic County Technical Institute, St. Peter’s Prep, Teaneck and West Essex.
“We’re all very proud of the hard work and fight of all of our fencers today,” coach Edward Chang said in an email from the team. “It is a reflection of the hard work and dedication they’ve shown this season. We recognize that our season is just beginning and are looking forward to state competition!”
Foil coach Shakil Uddin echoed that in another email.
“District 5 is notorious for being one of the most difficult districts to fence in, as it is always looked to as the gold standard for competition,” Uddin said. “It has historically been home to the most dominant fencing programs, and fencers, in the state. Having both the men’s and women’s teams qualifying for the state tournament as medal-winners is huge, not to mention the five squads and seven individuals we’re sending to state as well.”
Uddin also pointed out that having just two seniors out of seven individual fencers means good things for the future of the program.
In terms of each weapon, both the boys and girls teams medaled in almost every category. Girls épée, led by first-place Amina Troupe and fourth-place Amira Mutakabbir, took first place for the third year in a row.
For Troupe, this is the second time she has been district champion.
Girls sabre took second place, with Grace Van Atta finishing in fourth and Grace Edgington landing in fifth place. And girls foil took third, with Lila Zimbalist taking fourth place and Zariah Moon-Torkpo landing in seventh.
For the boys, épée was the highest finishing discipline, taking first place with Ben Sherwin winning the section and Brian Roseboro right behind him in second.
Foil took third place with Lee Meyers the highest-ranking Mountie with his fourth-place finish.
Boys sabre took fifth on the day.
“This is Amina’s second year in a row as district champ, and Ben’s first individual championship at districts,” Uddin said in the email. “Not only are they our team’s captains, but they are two of the hardest working fencers I’ve ever met, and have rightfully earned their spots at the top of the podium.”
Now the team can turn its attention to the 2018 NJSIAA Team Tournament, where they will compete as one of the top four overall teams from their district. For fencers who finished in the top four of their weapon — as Uddin points out, there were seven this year — they will battle for the state individual title on March 4.
As for the team seeds, the boys got the No. 11-seed and a first-round bye before taking on No. 6 seed Christian Brothers on Thursday, Feb. 1.
For the girls, the Mounties ended up as the No. 7 seed, and will also get a first-round bye. They then face No. 10 seed Morris Hills on Feb. 2. If they are able to run the table, Montclair has a chance to get revenge on Bergen Tech in the final on Feb. 21.