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Ward Melville tops Commack, extends winning streak

Ward Melville's Mike Antipas fences against Brentwood. (Jan.

Ward Melville's Mike Antipas fences against Brentwood. (Jan. 6, 2013) (Credit: Richard T. Slattery)

With Ward Melville facing one the toughest opponents on its schedule, and missing one of its top fencers, would Tuesday’s match spell the end of the Patriots’ winning streak?

Nope.

Ward Melville boys fencing (8-0) won for the 102nd consecutive match, defeating Commack, 17-10, thanks to 3-0 performances from Mike Antipas and Manny Thomas.

Antipas led a foil team that went 8-1, despite the absence of Devin Reina, who missed the match with an illness.

Thomas, meanwhile, went undefeated against one of Long Island’s best sabre teams, recording victories over last season’s county champion Brian Huang and 2013 Brentwood Invitational gold medalist David Austin.

Ward Melville coach Jeff Salmon said he was “concerned” prior to the match, given the absence of Reina and the fact that Commack fenced well in the teams’ prior meeting, a 15-12 win for Ward Melville in December.

“They have talent in the same places we have talent,” Salmon said.

One of these areas of talent for Commack (7-2) is its sabre team, which had won over 80% of its bouts and features the talented duo of Huang and Austin.

Thomas, though, put in a strong performance, notching 5-3 victories over both Austin and Huang.

“They fenced well,” Salmon said of Commack’s star pairing, “but Manny was able to overcome them.”

Ward Melville usually boasts a dynamic duo of its own with Antipas and Reina in foil, but even without Reina, the Patriots foil team thrived.

Antipas, the defending county foil champion and an All-Long Island performer in 2013, had a typical strong outing, finishing 3-0.

Peyton Latourrette went 2-1, Stephen Jackson went 2-0, and Mike Skolnick went 1-0 to round out a good night for Ward Melville foil.

Holl ends Yang’s perfect start

As the Ward Melville girls team extended its winning streak to 182 matches, it brought another impressive streak to an end.

Commack’s Chantel Yang had started the season by posting a 21-0 record in epee, but was dealt her first loss Tuesday by Ward Melville’s Melanie Holl.

Holl beat Yang 5-2, and Angela Zhang and Lara Obedin both went 3-0 in foil to lead Ward Melville (8-0) to a 17-10 victory over Commack (7-2).

Despite losing for the first time this season, Yang, last season’s county champion, still won two bouts, including a 5-4 victory over Arianna Ferretti.

Commack’s Gabby Musto also had a good night, recording a pair of victories against Ward Melville’s highly-regarded sabre team.

Musto, a sophomore, recorded victories over senior Kacy Charpin and junior Ilana Ilana Solomon, both of whom are nationally ranked by the United States Fencing Association.