SBP Fencers Crush Ridge H.S., Psych Up for Cetrulo Tournament


Jacob Anthony Amaro

With another victory to claim as its own, the fencing team looks to the Cetrulo Tournament with excitement and high hopes.

The St. Benedict’s Prep fencing team yesterday turned the tables on the team it had lost to last year—Ridge High School—trouncing the team, with a score of 16-11.

From the start, the SBP team showed that it was, in fact, a team. Shouts of encouragement to those teammates on the strip testing their skills—testing that for which they had dropped blood, sweat, and tears—echoed from the bleachers: “You can do it!” “Use that against him!” “Keep it up!”

The team in the first half of the match dominated Ridge; the score was 7-2.

Ridge answered to the score gap by turning up the heat during the second half of the match. But its response could not, and would not, demoralize the Gray Bees.

“We’ve taken three, four victories from the clutches of defeat. We can’t keep risking that,” Epee Coach Richard Molina ‘06 had said in a pep talk before arriving at Ridge. The Gray Bees could not fail to bring home another victory.

And then the score was 14-8. At that point, SBP had technically already won (fencing matches are out of 27 bouts). At that point, with some of its players moving to the sidelines, Ridge appeared to have already given up.

Having secured another victory, the fencing team’s record now lies at 6-1, a major improvement from last year.

Up next is today’s Cetrulo Tournament. This interscholastic tournament is the biggest high school fencing tournament in the world; 500 fencers from about 50 schools compete each year to be number one in the nation, both among public and prep schools. It is no joke.

SBP has had a rough history with this particular tournament. At one point, SBP dominated in the Cetrulo tournament, but, currently, it has not won in 19 years, since the year 2000. But there is new hope. According to Foil fencing coach Elliot McFarland ‘12, the Gray Bees this season have managed to beat the schools that placed in the top three at Cetrulos last year: Christian Brothers Academy (first place), Ridge High School (second place), and Columbia High School (third place).

“This is a special year. We have not had this opportunity since my senior year. My senior year we were stacked, had a chance at it, and we just missed it,” Coach Molina said, clapping his hands as he spoke. “Honestly, the only thing in your way is yourself.”

Every member of the team, according to Coach Molina, harbors that fear: each has, at some point in the season, lost a battle against self-doubt. Overcoming that mindset, he believes, will lead the team to victory.

Molina is not alone in his high confidence in this year’s team. The official at the match today, Jeff Bukantz, who is a world-renowned fencing referee and analyst, said that the team was strong this year.

“Go in there and fence like that tournament was set up for us,” said Coach Molina.

The team will, according to captain Marc Urquilla ‘19, show to others what they are capable of at Cetrulos.