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The Guilford fencing program stands proudly with its state titles after turning in a commanding performance at the Team State Championships. This marks the fourth year in a row that the Indians have won the state crown in both the boys’ and girls’ competitions. Check Zip06.com to see more photos from this meet. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
The Indians’ boys’ fencing team captured its fourth straight state title by finishing first for foil and saber to go with a second-place showing in épée at Fitch High School. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
The Guilford girls’ fencing squad claimed first place first for saber and foil and also finished fourth in épée en route to winning the state championship for the fourth consecutive season on March 16. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
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For the fourth straight season, Guilford’s boys’ and girls’ fencing squads walked into the Team State Championships as the heavy favorites to prevail. And for the fourth year in a row, the Indians performed like champions on the biggest stage to emerge with their respective state titles.
On March 16, Guilford competed in the Team State Championships at Fitch High School, where both Indians’ teams turned in dominant performances. Out of the six tournaments held on the day, Guilford earned first-place finishes in four of them on its way to taking the overall titles on both the boys’ and girls’ sides for the fourth consecutive campaign.
Guilford’s girls’ team claimed first place in the foil and saber tournaments to go with a fourth-place finish in the épée competition. For the boys, the Indians’ foil and saber squads followed suit by taking first place, while the épée team earned runner-up honors.
“It’s a big deal for our class to finish out our high school fencing careers with overall state titles, showing that not just the Class of 2019, but Guilford High School fencing as a whole, is the most dominant program in the state,” said senior captain Oscar Scott. “The real trick will be holding the title for the next four years as the competition around us continues to get better.”
In the girls’ foil tournament, the Indians earned the top seed and defeated No. 8 Greenwich by a 5-2 decision in their opening match. Guilford followed that win by earning a 5-1 victory versus No. 5 Hand in the semifinals. With the top prize on the line, the Indians posted a 5-0 shutout over No. 3 seed Waterford in the championship. Senior captain Isabelle Labelle, Olivia Labelle, Lindsey Smith, and Ella Stanley competed for Guilford in that draw.
The Indians were also the top seed for girls’ saber and earned a first-round bye. They blanked No. 4 seed North Haven by a 5-0 score in the semis, before claiming the crown with a 5-4 victory versus No. 2 Morgan. Senior captain Grace Beatty, Anna Angkatavanich, Shayla Flynn, and Adela Cho were Guilford’s fencers in that competition.
In épée, Gracie Banning, Julia Gangemi, Valerie Qiang, and Riley Hawkes led the Indians into action as the No. 4 seed. Guilford defeated No. 5 Waterford by a 5-2 score in the quarterfinals and dropped a 5-4 contest against top-seeded Norwich Free Academy in the semis. The Indians later took a loss versus No. 3 Morgan in the third-place consolation bout.
The Guilford boys’ foil squad defeated three higher seeds on its way to taking top honors. As the No. 7 seed, the Indians defeated No. 2 Hand (5-2) in the quarters, No. 3 Amity (5-2) in the semis, and No. 1 seed Norwich Free Academy (5-1) in the final. Senior captain Evan Schultes, Mark McNamara, Peter Keanna, and John LaFrance competed for foil team.
Guilford’s saber team of senior captain Leo Westgard, Eric LePeak, Will Dinauer, and Owen Angkatavanich was the top seed in its tournament. The Indians posted a 5-0 shutout over No. 8 Greenwich in the opening round and then defeated No. 4 Brunswick by a 5-2 final in the semis. Guilford cemented the crown with a 5-3 victory versus No. 2 seed Darien in the championship match.
For the épée bracket, Guilford had the No. 3 seed and earned a 5-2 win against the 6th-seeded Change co-op squad in its first match. The Indians defeated No. 7 Ledyard 5-1 in the semis, after which they took a 5-1 defeat versus top-seeded Woodland the final. Senior captain Scott, Caden Kozub, Bailey Meyers, and Michael Pimenta were Guilford’s competitors in the tournament.
Prior to team states, the Indians competed at the Individual State Championships at Guilford High School on March 9-10. The Indians boasted plenty of proud performances to set up their seedings for the Team Championships.
In girls’ foil, Stanley finished third for the Indians, while Smith took sixth and Isabelle Labelle placed seventh. For sabre, Anna Angkatavanich finished sixth, Flynn came in seventh, and Beatty placed eighth. Banning took ninth place in the épée competition, while Qiang was 11th and Hawkes finished 53rd. Stanley garnered All-State First Team distinction for Guilford. Angkatavanich, Flynn, Beatty, Smith, and LaBelle each earned All-State Second Team recognition.
For the boys’ tournament, Scott claimed first place in épée. Kozub finished 26th and Meyers came in 33rd. In sabre, LePeak took second place, while Westgard finished seventh and Dinauer placed ninth. For foil, Schultes finished in second place, McNamara placed 28th, and LaFrance came in 75th place for the Indians. Scott, LePeak, and Schultes made the All-State First Team, while Westgard was a Second Team honoree.
• Guilford’s boys’ and girls’ fencing teams both finished with records of 21-0 during their respective regular seasons.
• This was Kyle Mezzi’s ninth year as head coach of the Guilford fencing program.
Chris Balestracci and Charles Schnieder were the Indians’ assistant coaches this winter.
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