If last season’s finish and early results this year are any indication, the 2015-16 girls fencing season could be one of the most competitive in years.
Ward Melville, winners of 13 straight Long Island championships, remains the team to beat, but will face stiff competition.
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Commack snapped the Patriots’ 195 dual-meet winning streak last January and also won the Suffolk tournament title last season; Half Hollow Hills became the second team since the 2000-01 season to beat Ward Melville with a win this past Monday.
Still, the Patriots remain loaded, particularly in foil and epee. Lara Obedin, a junior and third-year starter, leads the way in foil.
“We’re confident and pumped for the season,” said Obedin, who is joined in foil by Gabrielle Petrie and Sandra O’Brien.
Arianna Ferretti also will be tasked with being a leader for the Patriots, and is joined in epee by Julia Duffy and Catherine Cao.
Gabriella Musto of Commack leads one of Long Island’s top sabre units, as Musto, Stephanie Miller and Rachel Dehan all finished in the top five at this month’s Jeff Wolfe Holiday Tournament at Brentwood. Commack also features Jung Soo Ahn in epee and Monica Kramer in foil.
Half Hollow Hills is led by Brentwood tournament winners Crystal Chen (sabre) and Tiffany Kim (foil), in addition to foilist Grace Park and epeeists Connie He and Alex Luongo.
Brentwood, which features Holiday Tournament semifinalist Adda Lantigua (epee) could be in the mix as well.
In Nassau, Great Neck North returns much of the talent that helped the Blazers win their first county title since 2008 last year, including Yulia Yeung (foil) and Mimi Jiao and Michelle Metros (sabre).
After falling in the finals last season, perennial power Garden City will look to Charlotte Osborn (sabre) and Bridget Strykso and Katelyn Focella (epee) to return to the top of the county.
They will be challenged by Great Neck South, which is led by epeeists Vera Lin and Macy Meng, who finished first and second, respectively, at last season’s individual county tournament, and Ariel Kang in foil.
Manhasset and Jericho also look to be on the long list of teams in contention this season.