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Antipas, Huang, Yang repeat as Suffolk individual champions
The Suffolk individual fencing championships took place Saturday at Brentwood, with three fencers repeating as gold medalists and three more winning an individual title for the first time.
Ward Melville’s Mike Antipas won the boys foil title for the second-straight year, capping a day that also saw his team win a seventh-straight county championship.
“I fenced like I was…at a national tournament,” the junior said. “I fenced my hardest and no one could basically touch me." Antipas has not lost a high school match since his freshman year.
Commack junior Brian Huang also repeated as champion, winning another county crown in sabre.
“It feels great,” Huang said of his repeat, attributing his success to scouting opponents and picking up tendencies.
“I just figured everyone out. I watched their previous bouts and was able to strategize against them.”
Huang’s senior teammate Emmett Woytovich won his first county gold in boys epee.
“All the work I've done is paying off,” Woytovich said. Like Antipas, who fenced teammate Devin Reina in the foil pool, and Huang, who faced Commack’s David Austin in sabre, Woytovich had to face a teammate in the epee finals.
“It's a lot different fencing with someone you've always been practicing with,” Woytovich said of his bout against Commack’s Joe Nestola. “You know how they fence and they know how you fence. But you need to get in the zone, forget who they are and just go for it.”
On the girls end, Ward Melville senior Kacy Charpin won gold in sabre.
“I'm just excited, Charpin said, adding the individual tournament gave her a chance to “show everything that you've worked for.”
Charpin had to face off against two teammates in the sabre pool.
“It's always rough fencing my team members…I train with them every day,” Charpin said of juniors Carly Weber-Levine and Ilana Solomon.
“They are both incredible fencers and next year they're gonna dominate.”
Commack’s Chantel Yang came in first in girls epee, and was the final repeat winner of the day.
“I had a lot of experience because I was here last year,” Yang said, but also said that there was “pressure on me…to win it again."
On that pressure though, the junior fencer said "I kind of just pushed it to the side. It wasn't gonna help me anyway. I was just thinking of the present.”
At the end of the epee bouts, Yang and the other five finalists embraced for a group hug, which was emblematic of the sports palpable sense of togetherness.
"We were kind of a community,” Yang said of her fellow epee fencers. “I feel like there's a lot of unity in our county."
Brentwood junior Athena Grauer also won her first gold medal, finishing on top in girls foil.
Grauer was filled with emotions after winning, calling the experience “liberating” and “unreal.”
"I came off the strip and I was just shell-shocked.”
The fact that Grauer was this excited makes the fact that she did not display any outward emotion after her bouts (out of respect for her opponents) even more impressive.
“I didn't want to react in from of them,” Grauer said of her competitors, “because they lost and I felt bad. The first person I told was my coach.”
Grauer said "it feels great” to finish on top of a talented pool of foil fencers.
“There’s no other way to describe it. It's just amazing."