Cold Spring Harbor senior A.J. Szilagyi felt nervous going into his final match at the Nassau individual fencing championships Saturday at Jericho. He already has four foil championships to his name, but he was facing Oyster Bay's Nick LaRosa, the only fencer to defeat Szilagyi this season for his first loss in more than two years.
Szilagyi was able to overcome his anxiety and win his fifth straight championship, defeating LaRosa, 15-6.
"I was kind of going for a little revenge," Szilagyi said with a smile. "He was my only loss, and he was the one person I was afraid to fence today. Being able to come out with a good victory over him felt great."
Szilagyi breezed through pool play with a 5-0 record and then won his elimination round matches 15-8, 15-2 and 15-7.
"I just stuck to my usual game," he said. "I was pushing a lot and being aggressive and I found a good balance in my attack."
There were 144 boys and girls fencers in the gymnasium yesterday, but none stood out more than Jericho senior Eric Basile, who had a yellow and navy blue Jayhawk spray painted on his mask.
"I feel like it's definitely more distracting and more intimidating," Basile said. "When I put it on, my opponents start to not attack me as much and they make more mistakes. It definitely makes me more well-known."
Basile won the first epee championship of his career with a 15-3 win over Hewlett's Jacob Kleinberg.
"It's kind of bittersweet," he said. "The season is ending so I'm a little upset about that. But to win this championship and go out with a bang, I couldn't ask for anything else."
It was a big day for the Jayhawks, as senior Jason Landsman took home the sabre championship with a hard-fought 15-13 win over Great Neck South's Dominick Kaczor. Landsman was able to overcome a significant height disadvantage to earn the win.
"It was a little difficult to handle," Landsman said. "My coach kept telling me to go under his arm with my hits because that was his weakest spot. I also changed up my attacks to make him fall short and keep him tepid."
Said Jericho coach Seth Skolnick: "This is exactly what you want as a coach. They put on their best performances and represented the school really well. I can't stop smiling; I'm very proud of them."
Oyster Bay was also represented well as Grey Warwick-Clark won the girls epee championship and Laura Broffman won the sabre championship. Both in their junior year, Warwick-Clark defeated Great Neck South's Jackie Bai, 15-7, and Broffman defeated Valley Stream District's Carol Aguilar, 15-8.
"I really glad to represent Oyster Bay like this," Warwick-Clark said. "I honestly came into today just hoping to get through two rounds, but I came out with more. This is incredible."
Rounding out the day was Cold Spring Harbor senior Amanda Lalezarian, who won the foil championship with a 15-8 victory over Valley Stream's Sabrina Decopain.