Blades will flash as locals aim at OUA fencing honours

The top Ontario University Athletics fencers congregate at the University of Toronto for the 2008-09 OUA this weekend.

The defending men’s champion RMC Paladins look to win their third consecutive crown, and are led by returning OUA All-Stars Michael Dubois-Boudazza (Ottawa) and Brendan Kilburn (Kingston). Kilburn is the reigning men’s epee champion, claiming the Desjarlais Trophy at last year’s championships. He was second in the OUA qualifier earlier this month, as teammate Liam Roach (Ottawa) took first place in men’s epee.

The RMC women look to reclaim the title they lost to the host Toronto Varsity Blues last year after winning three consecutive OUA championships from 2005 to 2007. The Paladins are led by Nathalie Mailhot-Mongrain (Sault Ste Marie) who placed first in the OUA qualifier in women’s foil, and Nicky Sapera (Edmonton) who finished second. Jackie Power (Oshawa) earned top billing in women’s epee.

RMC has qualified 18 individuals and all six teams at the OUA championships. The Paladins are defending champions in men’s sabre and women’s epee.

The Varsity Blues will also have all six teams compete at the OUA finals. Epeeist Hilary Peden (Oakville), foilist Mandy Lau (Toronto) and sabreuse Alison Doyle (Troy, N.Y.) each captured first place in their respective weapons classes at the OUA qualifier. The Varsity Blues foil team of Lau, Claire Midgley (Calgary), Nicole See-Too (Edmonton) and Athena Malamas (Toronto) dominated the competition, taking the top four spots individually.

Kamil Karbonowski (Milton) and Hans Wolfgramm (Toronto) of the Varsity Blues earned the top two spots in men’s foil, and along with David Schacter (Montreal) and Brian Lee (Vancouver), earned a first-place finish in team competition. Toronto is the defending men’s foil champions, with Wolfgramm being awarded the Charles Walter Trophy as the top men’s foilist last year.

The Western Mustangs will have teams in all six events, and are the defending champions in men’s epee. Colin Lee (Vancouver) in men’s sabre and Mark Jones (London) in men’s epee finished first in the OUA qualifier. Western’s women’s epee team of Andrea Csiba (London), Nora Magyarody (Toronto), Jennifer Hughes-Large (Stayner) and Kelly Tse (Markham) also won first place at the qualifier.

The Queen’s Gaels have qualified all six teams for the first time in four OUA championships. Martin Busse (Bancroft) won bronze in men’s sabre at the Brock Invitational and silver at the Fred Wach Memorial competition. Christian Petrozza (Bradford) won gold in men’s foil at the Brock Invitational.

The Carleton Ravens qualified three men’s and one women’s team at the OUA championships, and are led by Jon Girard (Dunnville) in men’s sabre, Scott MacNeil (Calgary) in men’s foil and Adreinne Sukunda (Gloucester) in women’s sabre. All are winners at the OUA qualifier. Carleton is the defending champion in women’s foil and sabre, but did not qualify its foil team this season.

The Trent Excalibur is expected to challenge in women’s epee, with Ellen Altpeter (Peterborough) and Virginia Portmann (Milton) placing in the top three at the OUA qualifier. The women’s foil team could surprise some schools, with Laura Thomas (Oakville) emerging as a potential force after spending a year and a half in an overseas exchange program.

The Ryerson Rams will have a young and upcoming team at this year’s event. Faiz Kahn (Scarborough) is Ryerson’s top medal hope in men’s foil.

The women’s competition will take place on Saturday, while the men will compete on Sunday at the Uof T Athletic Centre Field House.