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Fencing club tests mental toughness

Members+of+the+WSU+fencing+club+compete+during+a+practice+in+Smith+Gym+117%2C+Sunday%2C+Sept.+15%2C+2013.%C2%A0
Members of the WSU fencing club compete during a practice in Smith Gym 117, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013. 

Members of the WSU fencing club compete during a practice in Smith Gym 117, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013. 

Members of the WSU fencing club compete during a practice in Smith Gym 117, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013. 

By Jonah Simental, Evergreen Club Sports reporter

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Sweat drips from Kelsey Young’s face as she focuses her attention to her opponent’s calculated steps. Young and her opponent shuffle back and forth, sabers in hand, poised to strike.

Young deflects her opponent’s quick strikes as she drives her foot forward and stabs her counterpart’s jacket, scoring a point and winning the duel.

The WSU Fencing Club, with members including Young and Nick Van Cleave, are gearing up for another season of fencing meets and club success.

Fencing has three different weapons that include their own sets of rules and strategies: foils, sabers and épées. Each weapon has a different target area for the fencer, and a point is scored when one fencer stabs or strikes his/her opponent in the target area.

“It (fencing) is pretty out-there. I don’t know if people realize how quick it is, most people don’t experience it,” Young said.

Young, a Hawaiian native who came to WSU after living in Lacey, Wash., is in her third year with the club. After seeing her brother fence in high school, she felt it was only right that she joined the club once she arrived at WSU.

The mental aspect of fencing intrigues her and continues to drive her passion for the sport.

 “Being able to trick your opponent is a pretty big plus. Being able to set up an attack and score a point really feels good,” Young said. “As you progress as a fencer, you have to start thinking ahead more moves than your opponent… it’s really fun, there’s just so many options depending on what situation you’re in.”

Nick Van Cleave, a junior from Clarkston, Wash., said fencing seemed like a cool sport, and his childhood curiosity for the sport drew him to the club.

“My brother and I would play with swords; what little kid doesn’t want to play with swords?” he said. “We’d pick up a stick and hit each other with it.”

Van Cleave said he likes being a casual fencer and connecting with his fellow club members.

 “I’m just here to have fun basically. I’m not as competitive as other people in the club, but it’s always nice to get better,” he said.

Last weekend, WSU Fencing Club President Will Furan placed first in Foil at a tournament in Spokane. Young placed sixth.

Most tournaments the club competes in are in Spokane. Both Young and Van Cleave agreed that their club rivals are Spokane Fencers Unlimited.

The Fencing Club meets Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8-11 p.m., and Sundays 1-4 p.m.

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Fencing club tests mental toughness