Ward Melville fencers begin quests for county titles

Ward Melville fencers begin quests for county titles

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Ward Melville junior Michael Jaklitsch battles a Huntington opponent in a match last season. File photo by Bill Landon

In February of this year, the Ward Melville girls’ and boys’ fencing team swept the Suffolk County championships for the ninth straight season. The boys extended their match streak to 124 with the win, and although the girls had their 195-game streak snapped last year, will look to start a new one as the girls begin the road to what could be their 14th straight Suffolk County crown.

Five senior fencers were sent off to college last year, with Carly Weber-Levine competing at Stanford University, Ilana Solomon playing for Columbia University, Michael Antipas competing at University of Notre Dame, and Angela Zhang and Michael Skolnick fencing for Cornell University and Vassar College, respectively.

Ward Melville junior Lara Obedin fences against a Huntington opponent in a match last season. File photo by Bill Landon
Ward Melville junior Lara Obedin fences against a Huntington opponent in a match last season. File photo by Bill Landon

While the girls lost Solomon, the boys team returns her younger brother, Danny, who is a sophomore this year.

The loss of Antipas will be felt heavily, along with Marc Dalrymple and two other seniors, but the Patriots return a slew of underclassmen looking to fill the shoes of those lost.

Antipas was the last of three family members to fence at the school, and his presence will be missed. He, along with his sisters, Demi and Alexa, combined for a 346-2 varsity record.

The girls lost three other seniors along with Weber-Levine to graduation, but this Patriots team also returns a ton of sophomores and a handful of juniors to the lineup.

The season will test what those underclassmen have learned from some of the greats before them, and the teams will be tested when they travel to Newfield on Wednesday, for the first meet of the season, at 5 p.m.

The teams will host Commack the following day, Dec. 10, at 5 p.m., before competing in a tournament at Brentwood on Dec. 12. The tournament is set to begin at 9 a.m.