Fencing club increasing tournament play

The student-run organization allows members to compete in games or play recreationally


CODY COTTIER | The Daily Evergreen

Fencing Club members Nancy Fu, left, and Garrett Van Beek practice epee style Sunday in Smith Gym, Room 117.

RYAN MOSHER, Evergreen reporter

WSU Fencing participated in the When Pigs Fly tournament Saturday. Garrett Van Beek earned an E2017 rating in the senior mixed epee event while other members ranked within the top-10.

Joseph Taylor and Michelle Danese took seventh and eighth place in the senior mixed foil event. It is difficult to find tournaments to participate in because there are few teams nearby to compete against besides clubs located in Spokane and Moscow.

Last year, the club only took part in three tournaments, but this year they plan to compete in at least six. The club currently teaches foil and epee style, but there are members who compete in sabre during tournaments.

Kevin Mar, International Fencing Federation certified referee, told club Captain Zachary Mellin that, “statistically, fencing is safer than badminton.”

The coed club is peer-taught by captains and other members with prior experience. There is no coach, but there are fencers on the team passionate about the sport who share what they know with newcomers.

Captains Mellin and Nick Thomas spoke about the club during practice Sunday. They shared their team and individual goals for the year with the theme being improvement.

“It’s not just a club where we screw around and touch each other with long sticks,” Mellin said.

Fencing is a sport where people compete for a title, he said. The best fencers have a competitive drive on and off “the strip,” Thomas added. A strip is the boundary where fencing bouts are fought.

The club is divided into a recreational group and a competing team. Recreational fencing is geared toward members looking to learn the basics, have fun and enjoy what the sport has to offer, Thomas said. Those who want to pursue the sport more competitively can join the competing unit.

Mellin, who is a competitor said, “I plan on doing this until I die.”

All that is needed to join is some long athletic pants — no jeans. Other specific fencing-related equipment is provided by the team, Thomas said.

“That’s what I think is really an advantageous part about our club … we provide a place to try fencing or learn fencing without having to shell out [money],” Thomas said.

WSU Fencing practices from 7 – 10:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 1 – 4 p.m. Sundays. Practices are held in Smith Gym, Room 117 and are open to all students, staff and faculty.