83.2 F
Cruz Bay
Friday, September 30, 2022


Members of the Blades Fencing Club who reside on St. John recently established their own organization, although they remain active in the St.
Thomas-based Blades as well. On Saturday (April 10), both groups will meet for the first time with fencers traveling from St. Croix to participate in the first V.I. Friendship Fencing Tournament.
The competition will take place on St. Thomas at Jimmy's Studio on
Government Hill, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fencers will compete in three age groupings — juniors 12 and under, cadets 13 through 17, and seniors 18 and above.
The Blades will be represented by eight fencers, with Erik Pattison as coach. The St. John Fencing Club will be represented by four competitors led by club president Mark Hansen. And the St. Croix Knights club will be
represented by nine fencers with Rudy O'Reilly as coach, Blades president
Joyce Bolanos said.
Serving as referee will be Anthony "Tony" Gillham, a fencing master with
45 years of fencing experience who has participated in three World Cup
Fencing championships. Gillham, a winter St. John resident, is a former
University of Wisconsin fencing coach, a member of the International
Academy of Arms and a certified referee of the International Fencing
All fencers in Saturday's meet will compete in the foil, which is lighter in weight and more flexible than the other two fencing weapons, the epee and sabre. To score points in competition, a fencer's foil tip must touch the torso area of the opponent. Fencers use electrically wired weapons and metallic vests so that touches are electronically recorded and displayed.
According to Bolanos, who started The Blades as a student group at the former Lutheran Parish School five years ago, "This will be the first opportunity we have had to fence with anyone from St. Croix. We are excited about getting young people involved in fencing territory-wide and are looking forward to developing ongoing interaction among the three islands."
The public is welcome to come out and watch the competition anytime during the day. There will be a break at around 12:30 p.m. for lunch, after which fencing will resume.
Information about getting involved in fencing will be available at the competition Saturday and may also be obtained by calling Bolanos at 777-8708.

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