All-Long Island Boys Fencing
Newsday Fencer of the Year: Jun Ahn, Freshman, Foil, Great Neck South
Jun Ahn may have only had one loss all season but the resolve he showed in rebounding from that setback showed just what made Ahn Newsday’s Long Island boys fencer of the year.
After dropping his second match at foil during Great Neck South’s match against Syosset in the Nassau team championship, Ahn returned to the strip for one final time in the 2021 season and picked up a victory over fellow all-Long Island fencer Tyler Chan that helped propel his team to a comeback victory.
"Without that win we wouldn’t have pulled it off," Great Neck South coach Josh Baravarian said.
It was just another moment that showcased abilities not often seen in a first-year freshman.
"He has the maturity of a well seasoned senior," Baravarian said. "He has great composure and great control over his emotion and he’s very tactical."
Ahn finished the season with a 28-1 record in foil bouts.
"This is a sport where respect is given based on performance, not seniority," Baravarian said. "He’s unselfish and he’s always out to help the team. I’ve had kids that only cared about their own records and he’s not that. He’s a real team player."
Tyler Chan, Jr., Syosset
Chan had another strong season, finishing with a 15-3 regular season record at foil. He helped lead Syosset’s strong core to an undefeated regular season and a berth in the Nassau team final.
Leif Dahlberg, Sr., Miller Place/Newfield
The Miller Place senior went 19-1 at foil and led Miller Place/Newfield to the Suffolk team championship. He was also an all-Long Island selection last season.
Kaden Ho, So., Jericho
The top Sabre fencer in Nassau this season, Ho went 26-0 and led Jericho to the third seed in the Nassau team playoffs.
Sean Maas, Sr., Garden City
Maas finished with Nassau’s high win percentage at foil after going 22-4. He helped lead Garden City to a semifinal playoff appearance after the Trojans won the Nassau title in 2020.
Aidan Montalbine, Sr., Sayville/Bayport-Blue Point/Connetquot
Montalbine went 27-1 at foil. The Sayville senior also led his team to an undefeated regular season and its first regular season title in program history.
Coach of the Year: Josh Baravarian, Great Neck South
After graduating two of the top fencers in Nassau last year, Baravarian led a young but talented Great Neck South team to the Nassau championship. They completed a rousing comeback over Syosset, winning eight of the last 10 bouts, to capture the title, 14-12.
All LI Girls Fencing
LI Fencer of the year
Mandy Li, Jr., Great Neck South
With three straight Nassau championships there is no doubt that the Great Neck South girls fencing team has put together something special. But even on a talented team with great senior leadership there still is one fencer who stands out.
Each and every time Mandy Li has stepped onto the fencing strip the last three seasons she has left victorious. Being consistent is always a good thing, but being consistently great like Li is something special.
“The girls look to her for stability,” Great Neck South coach Catie Sagevick said. “Mandy is our rock. We always want to build off what Mandy does.”
Li, who was also Newsday’s girls fencer of the year in 2019 and an all-Long Island selection last season, finished the season 24-0 at foil.
“She had her own challenges to kind of preserve over like many students did,” Sagevick said. “I think her performance this year and for a lot of the girls has been extra special.”
Claire Becchina, Jr., Ward Melville, 22-2
No stranger to the all-Long Island team, Becchina went 22-2 at foil and won the final bout in the Suffolk championship that clinched Ward Melville’s 18th Suffolk title in the last 19 years.
Olivia Becchina, Jr., Ward Melville, 22-2
Last season’s Suffolk champion in epee went 22-2 this year for the Suffolk champs. She helped rally her team to a 7-match winning streak to end the season.
Olivia Jin, Jr., Half Hollow Hills
Jin was once again one of the top sabre fencers on Long Island, compiling a 23-1 record. She led Half Hollow Hills to the Suffolk regular season title and a spot in the team final.
Ella Nguyen, So., Great Neck South
Nguyen put together an impressive 27-1 regular season win in sabre and helped her team capture the Nassau championship.
Tina Zhang, So., Syosset
Zhang had a stellar 26-1 record in epee for the third-year program.
Coach of the Year: Ginny Siskidis, Ward Melville
In her first year at the helm of the Ward Melville dynasty, Siskidis helped the Patriots overcome a rocky 2-3 start before having the team in top form down the stretch as they won their final seven matches and the Suffolk title.