Big Blue's season jumps off on Friday with talent to watch!
By Caroline Santoro '19
Head Coach: Ted Li
Last season's highlights: Last winter, the Boys' (4-10) and Girls' (9-7) Varsity Fencing Teams both enjoyed successful seasons, led by captains Parth Patel '17 and Malcolm Fields '18 (who was named a First Team High School All-American by U.S.A. Fencing last spring) and Maddie Shilts '17 and Ellen Li '17. At the Skyland Conference Freshman/Sophomore Tournament last February, Chris Yu '19 finished first among sophomore boys in sabre. The girls' team earned a trip to the NJSIAA "Sweet Sixteen," in which the top four teams from each of the state's five districts square off. And Ted Li, Head Coach of both teams for 41 years and a U.S.A. Fencing Hall of Fame inductee, traveled to Moscow last November, where he was named to the S.E.M.I. Commission of the International Fencing Federation (FIE).
What to watch for this season:
• Captains Jessica Li '18, Aubrey Molloy '18, Michael Sun '19, and Malcolm Fields '18 will lead this year's team. Aubrey placed third last year in the District Finals for foil, and will lead the girls' foil team this year.
• The boys' saber team of Malcolm, Michael, and Chris had a great showing last year, placing second in the Cetrulo Tournament, and the coaches are expecting another successful season this year.
• Malcolm, a nationally ranked sabre fencer and Notre Dame commit, has been a mainstay of Big Blue's sabre squad over the last three years. According to Coach Li, he is aspiring to become the third Pingry fencer to represent the USA in the Olympics, following Athletics Hall of Fame inductees C. Lee Shelley '74 and Daniel Kellner '94. Read a recent NJ.com article on him here.
• Last year, three top-3 placements in the Skyland Conference Freshman/Sophomore Tournament proved the strength of Big Blue's underclassmen, who only continue to develop. Assistant Coach Ed Lisovicz commented, "We're looking to improve and hone their skills even further, and I think we're looking at a really great crop of fencers this year."
• Coach Li hopes to recruit some new players for the season, with nine freshmen already on the roster.
• The team is excited for its first full season of practice and competition in the newly built Bugliari Athletics Center. Last year, they spent half the season in the storage room in Attic Theater, their old practice space, and had meets in the Hyde and Watson Gymnasium until the BAC was complete. The change, said Mr. Lisovicz was profound. "Beginning our season in the BAC is going to start our team off on the right foot," he said. "We have a space that allows us to train and compete at the highest level, and that suits the competitive spirit and talents of our athletes. For preseason practices and conditioning, our captains used the space as well as the Greig Family Strength and Conditioning Center."
• With preseason practices having begun on November 21, the team's debut competition will be the Somerset County Championships on December 16, with the first dual meet against Montgomery High School scheduled for December 19. The prestigious Santelli (January 13) and Cetrulo (January 14) Tournaments at Drew University, at which nearly every high school team in the state (and some from NYC) competes, will also be a highlight. Nearly 50 teams are slated to attend.
"This year we have a lot of new freshman fencers and we're very lucky to have them. We're looking forward to a great season as well as to introducing the new freshmen to our team." —Captain Michael Sun '19
Contact: Andrea Dawson, Senior Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org