The Princeton Day School Fencing teams have made the most of the unorthodox and challenging circumstances surrounding this winter season. Under the tutelage of Head Coach (and Middle School English teacher) Paul Epply-Schmidt, the team has rallied together, developing their collective fencing skills and building a love for the sport.
Coach Epply-Schmidt, who has coached for the majority of his years here at PDS since 1989, entered this season with two main goals. "I came into this season wanting to create some semblance of a normal season, with matches and training. The main goals were to give beginning fencers a chance to learn and be part of a team and for the more experienced fencers a chance to improve and compete," he said.
When challenges have arisen, the team has found creative ways to adjust in order to hold competitions with other schools. For instance, when the Boys foil squad was short a member for a match, one of the members of the Girls team rose to the challenge and competed. When not competing with other schools, the team held spirited practices daily in the Upper School gym, working on skills and building camaraderie.
"The willingness of this team to do whatever it takes to support each other in practice and competition speaks to the quality of leadership and the closeness of the team as a whole. Captains William Foster '22 and Lauren Frank '22 have really kept this team together during trying times and they're largely responsible for the genuine spirit that this team exudes," Coach Epply-Schmidt noted.
The program is poised to grow, with only three graduating team members and increasing interest among younger participants evident each year. Coach Epply-Schmidt appreciates the team's growth and experiences this season and is optimistic about the future. "My hope is that each athlete takes away that, even in distressing times, people persevere and prevail. My hope is that they'll realize what they've accomplished this season and bring it forward with them, in fencing and in life," he concluded.
Boy's Varsity Fencing Roster:
Theo Capeilleres '24, Wesley Chen '23, Christian Escobar '24, William Foster '22 (Captain), Aaron Herscovici '23, Winston Ni '23, Tyler Olmstead '24, Lucas Pamudji '21, Navaneeth Rajan '23, Arjun Ray '24, Jinu Ryu '23, Peter Ryan '23, Simon Saldana '24, William Trend '22, Diego Vogelman '23, Jacob Yim '21, Arthur Zhu '21
Girls Varsity Fencing Roster:
Lauren Frank '22 (Captain), Sahar Haris '23, Sarina Hasan '22, Zoë Latanision '23, Allison Liang '22, Anny Shi '22, Run Yuan '24, Katrina Zeng '23, Kayla Zhang '24
Photos (from top): Split-photo of Girls and Boys fencing matches (courtesy of Nancy Erickson); Boys team captain William Foster prior to a match against Montgomery High School; Arjun Ray against Montgomery HS