City College hosts fencing tournament

Christopher Sugarman and Christopher Sugarman

Over 100 fencers competed in the Southern California Nationals Qualifying at the Sports Pavilion Sunday, and City College student Mary Alice Wintz sliced her way to the gold medal in the Women’s Foil.

The Southern California division of the United States Fencing Association sponsored the one-day event, which included competitors ages 14 and up participating in six different tournaments. Each tournament had a preliminary seeding round, where fencers battled to five touches against four different opponents. After being seeded based on performance, the competitors dueled in a single elimination round decided by first to 15 touches.

Wintz seized the No. 2 seed in the Women’s Foil tournament that consisted of 13 female fencers from various areas in Southern California.

After receiving a bye in the first round and cruising through the next two rounds, Wintz faced off against fourth seed, Sophia Russo. Russo, who trains at the same fencing club as Wintz-Presidio Fencing– knocked off the No. 1 seed, Ashley Storms.

“We have been fencing together for a long time,” Wintz said. “You know a person but it’s different fencing against them in a tournament, because you’re fencing for something and you really want it.”

Wintz took the early lead against Russo 5-3, but Russo was awarded the next two points to even the touches 5-5.

“I lost my rhythm for awhile and she started catching up with me,” Wintz said. “I had to change what I was doing. I really needed to get my head where it needed to be to fence someone at that level who can change up her game really rapidly.”

Wintz strung together three straight touches, giving her a 11-8 lead.

But Russo wasn’t ready to throw in her sword. She won five of eight touches to get within one point of Wintz, 14-13.

“I was telling myself, ‘Just one more point, just one more point,'” Wintz said. “I just needed to stay focused and get into good positions and kept telling myself, ‘Don’t get hit, don’t get hit, don’t get hit.'”

Wintz, a kinesiology major, struck Russo 15-13 to conquer the tournament.

City College student Lydia Kaestner and Culinary Arts Professor Randy Bublitz also participated in the all-day tournament. Bublitz competed in the Men’s Epee tournament, but was eliminated in the seeding round. Kaestner, a duel-enrollment student, was eliminated by Storms 13-15 in the Women’s Foil.

“The tournament ran very smoothly and it’s a very nice venue with lots of room,” said head judge Larry Dunn. “There has been very little controversy and the fencing has been very clean.”