WILMINGTON- During the 2016 calendar year, the Cape Fear Fencing Association (CFFA) had success on the fencing strip, with community outreach, and with community collaboration.
CFFA had its first World Championship competitor as Erica Julien represented the United States in both the Women’s Veteran’s 70+ individual and veteran’s team events at the Veteran’s World Championship during October in Stralsund, Germany.
Based upon results from National events, the Cape Fear Fencing Association was awarded the title of “Best Fencing Club” in two of the three weapons, epee and sabre, by the organization National Fencing Club Rankings. The award is based on having at least two, top 16 finishes in national events in an individual weapon.
CFFA was one of only fifty clubs to achieve that level in two weapons. Had CFFA had one more top 16 foil result it would have been one of only twelve clubs to have been awarded the honor in all three weapons.
Cape Fear’s National top 16 fencers include Erica Julien with two 2nds and a 3rd in epee and a 3rd and two 7ths in sabre in various Vet 70+ National competitions. Captain Kim Phillips placed 9th in combined Veteran’s sabre at the Richmond North American Cup (NAC). Herman Smith was 11th in Vet 60-69 epee at a Baltimore NAC. Oliver Galbraith took 13th in the Division II National Championships for foil in Dallas.
Oliver also had success in Regional events, taking 8th at the Kickoff Open in Fredericksburg and 6th at the Fairfax Challenge in College Park, Maryland, both in Division 1-A foil. Samantha Milewski , also at the Fairfax Challenge, took 6th in the Div. II epee. Her younger sister Nicole, also an epeeist, took 2nd in the Youth 12 event and 7th in the Youth 14 event at the Regional Youth Circuit in Virginia.
At the Powerade State Games of North Carolina, Nicole won the mixed Youth 12 epee and Will Golder won the mixed Youth 12 foil.
Besides doing well at the higher levels of fencing, the Cape Fear Fencing Association is one of the most involved fencing clubs in the country. The club holds 7-8 USA Fencing sanctioned tournaments per year plus a number classes and clinics. A recent clinic was given by Kathy Walters, the armorer for the ParaOlympic games. One of the tournaments, the Lynn Krupey Memorial Iron Maiden, is the only all female event held in the state of North Carolina that includes all three weapons.
The club supports the North Carolina High School Fencing League. The NCHSFL has an A Division, strictly high school teams and clubs; and a B Division, made up of high school B teams, junior high fencers, and teams from clubs. Over the past year CFFA has supported the Hoggard Fencing Club, the newly organized New Hanover Fencing Club, and Coastal Christian’s fencing club. Oliver Galbraith took the silver at the NCHSFL individual championships last season. Thus far for the 2016-2017 season, CFFA’s B Division team is undefeated.
Also undefeated at this point in the season is the homeschool team from CFFA that fences under the auspices of the Southeastern Cardinals.
In conjunction with Marine Corps Community Services, the Cape Fear Fencing Association teaches classes and provides fencing opportunities at the Wallace Creek Fitness Center on board Camp Lejeune.
CFFA provides equipment to UNC Wilmington for their use as an activity in the School of Health and Applied Human Science’s wellness classes. CFFA supports the UNCW Fencing Club with equipment and the opportunity to practice in its downtown facility. In a recent college meet at UNC Greensboro, three UNCW foilists, Oliver Galbraith, Connor Hebert, and Taylor May swept the medals.
The Tileston gym on the St. Mary Catholic School Campus CFFA provides afterschool classes for younger fencers no matter what school they attend. Competition opportunities are also provided for fencers who are twelve or younger. Last season Nicole Milewski and Will Golder won swords as the top rated female and male fencers in that age group.
The Cape Fear Fencing Association donated to refurbishing the floor on the upper level of the Tileston gym at Saint Mary.
In its collaboration farthest from combat, CFFA was one of the groups participating in the Wilmington School of Ballet’s presentation of Swan Lake.
Fencing is a sport that requires intelligence, agility, and manual dexterity. Size, speed, and strength can be advantages, but can also be countered by other attributes. Therefore fencing appeals to a number of students who may not participate in more mainstream sports. Mistakenly, fencing is popularly believed to be a dangerous activity. However, a study of Olympic injuries by Lars Engebretson of the University of Oslo showed that soccer, basketball, softball, even swimming, table tennis, and badminton all produced more injuries than fencing.
-Content provided by Greg Spahr, Head Coach, Cape Fear Fencing Association
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