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Fencing grows under new leadership

By Caleb Childers
On February 10, 2013

When people think of fencing they tend to think of epic duels in movies such as Zorro, The Princess Bride and The Three Musketeers. What most Xavier students do not realize, however, is that Xavier University has its own fencing team that competes all across the Midwest.
The club fencing team is one of the oldest club sports at Xavier University and was started in the early 1990s by Dr. Timothy Quinn of the philosophy department. Although the team is a club sport, it competes against many varsity
programs such as Cleveland State University and the University of Notre Dame during the season. While fencing is an individual sport, it is also a team sport in that every team member contributes to the team's score. There are three different disciplines in fencing known as sabre, epee and foil. Each style is different in the way that players score points, but the basic premise of striking your opponent before they hit you is at the core of the sport. Teams are made up of three fencers for each event and they take turns competing against fencers from another
school. Each team can also bring an alternate for each event to step in if necessary. The Xavier Fencing team currently has 15 women and 14 men on the team and is able to field a full squad in each event at tournaments.
Over the past few years the team has grown tremendously.
Senior captain John Prijatel has been with the team for the last four seasons and has seen a big change in the team.
"A few years ago we only had four or five girls, and now we've got a much larger team. Having more people has definitely made this team better and has made it more fun," Prijatel said. Currently Bob Lehner and Liran Gross coach the team. Lehner is a former student of Xavier University who has been the coach of the team since the 2010-2011 school year. Gross is in his first year as a coach at Xavier University but has been heavily involved in the sport for most of his life. Before coming to Xavier, Gross was a member of the Israeli National Team in multiple world championships and European championships. He also competed for Cleveland State University after coming to
the United States. Coach Lehner mostly controls the managerial aspects of the team while Coach Gross helps the arteam with their techniques and skill. The team travels to Ohio State, Case Western University, Cleveland State and Notre Dame for tournaments throughout the school year. While the team is competitive and enjoys attending tournaments, the majority of the members of the team had never fenced before coming to Xavier. "Fencing was totally new to me when I was a freshman but the team did a great job teaching me, and I've personally improved tremendously in these past few years," Prijatel said. The team is always looking for new members and no prior experience
is necessary. Anyone who wants to learn how to fence like
Inigo Montoya should contact the club or stop by a practice, held at 7 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday night in the Armory.


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