Forgetting Fencers?

Written by Dan Radka, Logan Cummings, and Isabella Recine |
Photos by Isabella Recine |

Since the fencing team was formed, the Fencers have always been seen as the last resort. In years past, the fencing team used the old Morgan school cafeteria for practices and matches. Just last year, fencers were finally allowed to use one of the gyms. Now that the new school is in use, the team expected that they would be allowed to use the new gym, especially since they have become a varsity sport with over forty members. However, they are not allowed to use the gym, and they must practice at Jared Eliot Middle School.

FencingWhile it is true that the team still has a gym to use at Eliot, it is significantly smaller than the Morgan gym and does not provide the optimal space for practicing. The team was able to adapt to this change, but soon they were forced to undergo yet another relocation. Multiple Parks and Recreation basketball teams use the Eliot gym during the fencing team’s designated practice hours. About three days per week, the entire fencing team is forced to practice in the Eliot cafeteria.

Principal Keri Hagness said that this year is the first time we had to deal with the space reduction as a school, and next year things might be different. She also stressed that it is very difficult for all sports to be included equitably. Basketball is the one sport that always has the gym because they cannot practice anywhere else.

FencingPhysical Education teacher Peter Gersz said that all of the problems could be solved with an extra space at the school. “If they made an auxiliary gym, we could put everything there: fencing, wrestling, cheerleading, etc.”

Head Fencing Coach Jim Barnett said that it is difficult to switch between spaces daily, and the floor in the cafeteria is slippery. Assistant Fencing Coach Colleen Mason says that it is an inconvenience to practice in one place and host matches in another. It is difficult to plan what the team does when they have a match.

Captain Julia Horan said, “We have always been a resilient team when we had to practice in the cafeteria. Last year, we were finally rewarded and got the chance to use the gym.”

Many Fencers view the move to Eliot as a downgrade. The new school created a lot of new challenges for students and staff to deal with.

Mrs. Hagness stresses that things might be different next year, but the Fencers can only hope.

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