The sound of clashing weapons echoes down the north end of Middle Path as you near Colburn Hall, located just behind Bexley. But this is no miraculous return to the Renaissance era — it is the Lords and Ladies, or perhaps the knights and dames, of the Fencing Club.
The fencing team was revived last year by Max Wellington ’19 and Meg Galipault, former director of corporate and foundation relations at Kenyon. (Galipault has since moved on to work at Denison University.) Kenyon had a fencing team back in 2013, but the club disbanded due to poor leadership.
Galipault sent an All-Student email early last spring semester to gauge student interest in fencing. Wellington was thrilled — he had hoped to start a fencing team on his own when he first arrived at Kenyon, but was too busy with classes to do so. Wellington, who has 10 years of fencing experience, now serves as president of the club, with Vice President Anna Gerhardinger ’19, Treasurer Tudor Stoian ’18 and Secretary Dana Oakes ’18. The team is currently looking for a new faculty coach.
The team began holding practices in March of last year, but due to funding and time issues, only met about 10 times that semester. Wellington believes this year will be different, since the team has already met five times this semester. With a consistent turnout of about eight members, plus some sporadic attendances, the team remains small but mighty.
The team aims to attend intercollegiate tournaments in the next year or so. But for now, much of their time is devoted to teaching new members. In fencing there are three different types of weapons: foil, epee and sabre. Each weapon has its own benefits and disadvantages, as well as various rules applying to each one. The team uses primarily foil and epee, but sabre users are also welcome.
Ben Moon-Black ’19, a new addition to the team, joined Fencing Club to reignite his childhood passion. Moon-Black fenced for about six months in seventh grade.
“It was a lot of fun and I wanted to try it again just to see if I could still do it,” he said.
This is not an uncommon trend among the team members. Most members fenced during junior high or high school years but gave up the sport due to its costly nature.Fencing can be quite an expensive sport, with the average cost of equipment ranging anywhere from $130-$250. The team provides all the equipment and charges a small membership fee, around $20, after the third practice. These dues help purchase and maintain the team’s gear.
The fencing team meets on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Wednesday 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. in Colburn Hall. Contact Max Wellington at email@example.com for more details.