Drew Kim stood on the fencing strip Friday at James H. Vernon school in Oyster Bay with an opportunity.
Kim and his Great Neck South teammates didn’t get off to the best start in the boys fencing championship against Syosset, but Kim’s emphatic 5-0 victory in epee helped complete a comeback and clinch a 14-12 victory.
"Obviously I was really nervous but I was just thinking about how close we were to winning a county championship last season," Kim said. "I felt the pressure to get the win but at the same time I knew even if I lost my teammates after me would get the win to secure it."
All season long it was the depth of talent that was the defining strength of the Great Neck boys fencing team. And at the most crucial moment of the season they needed everyone to rally back from an 11-8 deficit.
Freshman Jun Ahn won a key bout between two of the top fencers in Nassau when he defeated Tyler Chan, 5-2, at foil to tie it at 11. David Wang won a back-and-forth match at foil, 5-4, to cap a four-bout win streak that put Great Neck South ahead.
"When it’s that late in a bout and 4-4 there are a lot of nerves and pressure," Wang said. "I was against a really great fencer and despite the fact that the season has been rough and we haven’t been able to practice the way we wanted to in the end it worked out."
Syosset’s Sean Guo won the final bout at foil to even the score at 12 before Sam Lurvey and Kim finished off the match.
"I told the boys yesterday during our semifinal against Jericho that we might go down but we’ll always come back up, step by step by step," Great Neck South coach Josh Baravarian said. "And tonight we won six of seven matches to catapult us back."
Wilmund Wu went 3-0 at sabre and Lurvey went 3-0 at epee to help pace Great Neck South.
"We have so many talented fencers on our team and that definitely helps take away some of the stress knowing they’ll be there for you," Kim said. "When we came together as a team and supported each other we knew we could pull it off."