You don’t have to be a grown-up to play with swords. Galveston’s youngest fencers got a chance to cross blades in a competitive format at the Galveston Fencing Club’s recent Buccaneer Open, April 13. This year competitions for “Youth Age 8 and Under” and “Youth Age 10 and Under” in foil fencing were held along with the usual adult competitions.
In the last two years the age diversity within GFC has greatly increased, with fencers ranging from some as young as six to some in their sixties. It was decided to use the Buccaneer Open to allow some of the youngest Galveston fencers to experience actual competition. In the Y-10 foil competition Dylan Gray won first place and Hans Weant took second. In the Y-8 foil, Elyssa Rivera came in first. Henry Roquemore placed second. Stephen Brown placed third. The youth competitions were refereed by April Alford of Houston, formerly the top ranked female senior-level foil fencer in Texas.
In the adult events, Samuel Sypien of the Clear Lake Fencing Club won both the mixed foil and mixed sabre events. Craig King of Friendswood, also a CLFC fencer, won the gold in mixed epee. Rebecca Rea of Kingwood won the women’s epee event. Amanda Grein of Houston won women’s foil. Jessica Bullard of Galveston won the women’s sabre event. In keeping with the piratical theme of the Buccaneer Open, the winner of each adult event also won a cutlass.
The club holds three USA Fencing-sanctioned tournaments each year: the Jean Laffite Classic in the fall for unclassified fencers; the Naomia Abbott Memorial in the spring for female fencers; and the Buccaneer Open, also in the spring, for fencers of all classifications. Additionally the club holds informal tournaments ranging from one-touch epee fencing to singlestick fencing (a Victorian era event).
GFC’s sister club, the Clear Lake Fencing Club, based in Dickinson, will hold its annual Clear Lake Open on May 4. That tournament will be held in the gym at the Gilruth Center at the Johnson Space Center.
The Galveston Fencing Club meets Monday and Wednesday evenings in the gym at the O’Connell School. Classes for fencers 12 and under are held from 6:15-7:15 p.m. Classes for older youths and adults are held from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Those curious about the sport are welcome to stop by and visit.
Students from the O’Connell School and Holy Family School may take classes free of charge. For information on tournaments, classes, fees and requirements you may email the club at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit their website at http://www.galvestonfencing.2itb.com/ or look for them on Facebook.