By SARAH GALZERANO
Competing is not considered a club activity for the college’s fencing team, but some of the team members do represent the school individually at tournaments. On Saturday, February, 21, four of our fencing club members competed in the St. Augustine Prep Invitational tournament. This tournament consisted of student fencers from the Prep, students from CCC, and three different groups from Infinity Fencing Alliance (Swedesboro). One of our fencers, Michael McGill won first place- winning a gold medal. Another Cumberland fencer, Gabriela Caudra, took third place.
Before tournaments are held, Professor, and coach, William Olivero has his competitors stretch and warm up. Before a tournament starts, if his team members aren’t practicing they are observing the other fencers to get an idea of all of the opponents’ strengths and weaknesses.
Michael, 18, is a freshman at Cumberland, and is the President of the Fencing Club. Michael has only ever competed in two tournaments – both at the Prep. In his first tournament, which was three years ago, he took third place. He was very proud to have taken 1st place in this past tournament. He says he usually feels confident before competing, and afterwards is happy, but exhausted from such a long day.
Gabriela, 18, is a Liberal Arts major at Cumberland, and has only been fencing since September. She is the treasurer of the fencing club. She is also one of only two girls in the Fencing Club. This past tournament, where she took 3rd place, was her very first time competitively fencing. When asked how she felt before the competition, she said “I didn’t want to wake up to go, because I thought I wasn’t going to do that great.” Afterwards, she felt more aware of her full potential and “motivated to go ahead and compete and represent the school.”
Two other members from Cumberland’s fencing club also competed in the tournament. Brooke Ambert, 19, is a Social Science major at Cumberland, and she, like Gabriella, has only been fencing since this past September. Brooke is the Secretary of the Fencing Club. This past tournament was her first, and she placed into the top 8. Describing Olivero, she said “I think he is a great fencing coach- all of his advice applies and it really helped me have advantages over others in the competition.” Anthony Chesebro, 18, is an engineering major here, and he also began fencing in September, with this tournament being his first. He is the Vice President of the Club. He didn’t win any medals, but he stated that he learned a lot from the competition experience.
After this specific tournament, Olivero was very proud of his club members that competed. “They all learned something just by showing up. As they’re competing, they improve.”
Olivero has been fencing for 57 years, and has been teaching fencing at Cumberland County College since it opened in 1966. Currently, his fencing club has seven active members- 16 total. If you would like to join the Fencing Club, go to the Charles Cunningham Recreational Center/Gymnasium on campus at 2 pm on Wednesdays, and lessons are free for students.