By Shania Kuo
A strange trend has occurred among members of the fencing team. After the winter fencing season ends, several fencers join the track team, only for many to drop the sport soon after. The reason? Well, that’s what I’m here to break down today.
When most people think of fencing, they think of swords. While the weapons are, in fact, the highlight of fencing, arm strength is only part of the sport. It’s actually leg strength that makes the difference between a missed opportunity and a point.
For example, in fencing, footwork is key for the sabre weapon. In sabre, fencers are not allowed to cross their feet and must move quickly to gain right of way, which determines who gets the point in the bout. As a result of the fast-paced bouts in sabre, it is critical for sabres to build up their leg endurance and speed.
In foil, fencers perform many parries and lunges, which build arm and leg strength respectively. Epees, on the other hand, are the slowest weapons, but they take the longest amount of time for a bout due to the whole body being a target area. This means fencers must build up a significant amount of stamina.
When asked what elements were most important in track, senior track athlete Allison Suttenberg stated, “What matters depends on what event you do. Like for Long Jump, you require a lot of leg power, but for sprinters it’s more about endurance. Discus and shot put kind of mix arm and leg strength too.”
So, fencers are working on the same components runners focus on. However, according to fencers, the reason for joining track seems to be a lot simpler. Junior James Grassie stated, “I joined track last year before my injury because I wanted to run, and everyone on the fencing team was doing it.”
On a similar note, senior Arsham Hosseinipour said, “I ran track last year because my girlfriend was running in it.”
For some fencers, it seems track is a place for familiar faces to reconvene while exercising. However, many fencers don’t take into account the hardships that come with the practices. Grassie stated, “I had to drop last year and this year because I injured my foot.”
Hosseinipour added, “I ended up hating track because of the long practices. So, I dropped.”
For many fencers turned runners, track is a great form of exercise. However, for others, track is simply a way to socialize with teammates. All-in-all, readers, don’t just follow your friends. Know what you’re signing up for so you can be dedicated to your sport.
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