Mac fencers look strong heading into OUA championships

Fencing, as both a military skill and combative sport, has played an important role in military life at the Royal Military College (RMC) since the late 1800s. The RMC Paladins entered this 2008 season as the defending champion for both the men and women, and are hosts for this weekend’s (Feb. 16-17) Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Fencing Championships in Kingston.

The Paladins men’s team, which won their first OUA banner in the RMC’s history last year by 83 points over Western, will be led by Alex Prymack (foil), who won a silver medal last year. He will be supported by John Im (sabre) and Brendan Kilburn (épée), who have earned individual silver and bronze medals respectively at each of the previous two OUA Championships.

On the women’s side, the three-time defending OUA champions will be relying heavily on Chantel Lemay (sabre), bronze medal winner at the previous two OUA Championships. RMC took gold in all three team events last year en route to defending their championship by 103 points over Toronto.

The Carleton University Ravens qualified in all six disciplines for this year’s championships. The Ravens will send teams in men’s epee (third place regional finish), sabre (first place regional finish) and foil (second place regional finish). The women also had a great regional weekend earning provincial berths in sabre (first place overall), epee (third place overall) and foil (first place finish). Carleton will have a great opportunity to win the OUA overall Championship by having all six teams competing in Kingston.

The Ravens will be led by Elizaveta Samokhina, who captured the overall No. 1 ranking in women’s foil and Anna Laurence, who finished second overall in foil. Katrina Ross, finished fourth and Victoria Peters fifth in sabre to also qualify for the individual events at the OUA Championships. Mozynah and Rachel Gardner were first and second respectfully in the women’s epee, giving Carleton six athletes in the top four of their respected disciplines.

On the men’s side, the Raven sabre “Machine” continues as defending OUA Sabre Champion. Ben Riley is ranked No. 1 after regionals and joining Riley is Jonathan Girard in the sabre top four. Graham Pressey finished second overall to be the lone Raven individual in the epee event at Provincials and Scott McNeill and Konstantine finished second and seventh to qualify for the individual event in foil at the OUA Championships.

The McMaster Marauders also enter this weekend with a strong contingent of athletes. At the University of Toronto West Sectional, McMaster’s Andrew Oussoren (Guelph) was the star of the tournament, capturing third place in the men’s epee to lead the Marauders in the tournament. He will be joined by fellow OUA men’s epee qualifier, Eric Smyth (Burlington) who finished fifth in Toronto.

Nora Magyarody (Toronto, ON) competed in front of her hometown crowd in both the women’s epee as an individual and as part of the women’s epee team event placing sixth twice to qualify in both categories. She will be joined in Kingston by fellow women’s epee team members Rebecca Burtney (Acton, ON), Vivian Wang (Shijiazhuang, CH), and Kyna Intini (Greenville, ON) and Heather Mayberry (Clearview Township, ON). Catherine Loa (Brampton, ON) also made the OUA cut in the women’s sabre placing sixth.

The Queen’s Golden Gaels were able to advance more than half of their individual event athletes into the provincial championships with a fine showing at the OUA East Qualifier in Ottawa. Dimitry B alashov of Vancouver qualified in the men’s epee and was one of seven Gaels men to claim spots in the OUA Finals with Joanne Ko of Toronto in the women’s epee as one of the seven Queen’s women to advance to the conference championships. The Gaels also had four of their event relay teams advance to the finals with the men’s epee, sabre and foil as well as the women’s epee booking themselves spots for this weekend’s competition.

With their eyes on the OUA Championship the University of Toronto also had a strong showing at the OUA West Sectionals. With great success in their operations and performance the Blues came out topping the scale with both the men’s and women’s competitions, qualifying 11 of 12 women, 10 of 12 men, and all six weapon teams to the finals.

Leading the way for Toronto will be the need for strong performances by both foil teams and the women’s sabre team who dominated their competition in the qualifier. Unprecedented were the Blues women’s foilists who steam-rolled over all of their competitors to take the top four positions, with Claire Midgley, Honour McCann, Athena Malamas and Mandy Lau ranked first to fourth respectively.