The Eastern Kentucky University Fencing Club participated in the 2016 Championship for the Southeastern Intercollegiate Fencing Association (SIFA) in Greenville, North Carolina, March 17-18, winning five medals at the team and individual level.
The EKU men's foil team captured third place), while the men's epee team finished eighth. Stewart Zdrojowy, the team’s only saber fencer, won several bouts on his composite team. Logan Ashley took second place in the individual men's foil category (out of at least 36 fencers). The women's foil team finished fourth of eight teams, and Hikaru Kato placed fourth in individual women's foil.
The SIFA tournament is now the third largest collegiate club meet for fencing, with 12 college clubs participating this year, and more expected to join next year.
“Our fencers are very competitive,” said faculty sponsor Dr. Marcia Pierce, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. “The men’s foil team lost a very close bout in the semifinals, leading to a very exciting bronze medal match against North Carolina State University that was won by a single touch by Clem Pearson (EKU freshman from Berea, Kentucky). Ashley (a Madison Central High School graduate) led the team to its bronze medal, going undefeated in his first-round bouts and winning the silver individual medal. They were joined by senior Riley Reid (Charlottesville, Virginia) in their successful defense of the team bronze (also won by the trio and EKU senior Jacob Luning in 2015).
The EKU women’s foil team composed of Jennifer Portman, Stephanie Stidham and Kato finished in fourth place, losing in the consolation round to a strong Clemson University squad.
EKU women’s epee team participated as well, with new fencers Bridgette Gibbs, Sarah Jankowski and Eden Lewis joining senior Heather Stephens to compete against eight other teams, finishing in seventh place. EKU men’s epee, including Carl Loomis Anderson, Davieon Baker and Ryan Donkin, competed against a number of very strong teams, finishing in seventh place (of 11 teams) after upsetting East Carolina University in the second round. In addition, EKU men’s sabre was represented by Zdrojowy, who competed on a composite team with fencers from UNC-Greensboro.
“Our students put their all into their fencing,” said Pierce. “We drove nine hours each way to fence these other colleges and enjoy competition with other students. The club raised its own funds and used Sports Club Council funding for about half of the costs in order to be able to go. We hope to receive funding from SGA next year in order to be able to attend the 2017 SIFA event, and possibly the national competition as well. We hope the Sports Club Council can continue to support our chapter’s efforts. We very much appreciate the support we received this past year from them, and hope to be able to receive more funding from SGA.”