After losing in the county final her freshman year, Ward Melville fencer Alexa Antipas vowed to never lose again.
Staying true to that, Antipas was undefeated over the past three years and ended her high school career by earning her third straight county sabre championship at the Suffolk Individual and Team Championships last Sunday at Whitman.
"She's a tremendous fighter on the mat. She has a great spirit that fills the room," Ward Melville coach Jennie Salmon said. "She's meant a lot to this program over her career."
Antipas was 5-0 in the final round of the individual tournament, in which six fencers all face each other and the fencer with the best record wins the championship.
"It felt great," Antipas said. "I've worked hard for so many years and it's good to go out on top with another title."
An accomplished fencer at the national level, Antipas ended her high school career with a 110-1 record and will attend Ohio State in the fall on a full scholarship.
"She's going to do some great things at Ohio State," Salmon said. "She has the ability to fence beyond college and maybe even go to the Olympics."
Ward Melville sophomore Angela Zhang won the girls foil championship after facing Commack senior Ally Murphy in a fence-off. Both went 4-1 in the final round and Zhang won the deciding match, 5-0.
"Winning as a sophomore is a huge accomplishment, especially since she was facing mostly juniors and seniors," Salmon said. "With the boost to her confidence coming off this county championship, I think she's gonna have a very strong next two years."
Commack sophomore Chantel Yang won the girls epee championship.
"It's incredibly gratifying as a coach to see somebody who works as hard as she does to reach this success," Commack coach Rob Raeihle said. "She inspired her teammates around her to be better. She carries herself very well. She controls her emotions and is very calm on the strip, and that's the proper way to fence."
On the boys side, Ward Melville sophomore Michael Antipas, Alexa's brother, won his first county foil championship and did not lose a match on the day. He ended the season with a perfect 34-0 record.
"He's upped his game significantly in the past six months," Ward Melville boys coach Jeff Salmon said. "When he gets on the strip, I'm always confident that he would be successful no matter who he's facing."
Huntington senior James Ferraiolo won the boys epee championship and Commack sophomore Brian Huang won the boys sabre championship.
The Ward Melville girls won yet another county championship with a team score of 55, the program's 12th straight. Commack finished second with 51 and Huntington took third with 32.