Off the strip were hugs and respectful acknowledgment as fencers across Long Island met again for the annual Brentwood Holiday Tournament at Brentwood High School. But on the strip, the competition was fierce.
The all-day event featured over 350 boys and girls from schools in Suffolk and Nassau and one school from Westchester. The tournament presents the opportunity to showcase individual talent on Long Island, effectively serving as a who’s who in the local fencing circuit as well as a possible preview of the county and Long Island championships.
The girls’ championships did not disappoint, as each match was tightly contested.
In the girls saber final, Commack’s Stephanie Miller squared off against Half Hollow Hills’ Erica Chen. With Chen leading 13-5, Miller stormed back to even the score at 14 before Chen prevailed, 15-14.
“I guess I thought I didn’t have to work as hard when I was up,” said Chen, a sophomore. “I had to tell myself, ‘You need to calm down, focus, and get your mind back in the game.’ ”
In the girls foil final, Commack’s Amanda Hoo defeated Great Neck South’s Ariel Kang, 15-13. In the epee final, it was Ward Melville’s Julia Duffy over Jericho’s Margaret Cheng, 15-12.
In boys foil, Newfield’s Jake Hempe defeated Zach Ortiz of Garden City, 15-14. In the epee final, Jericho’s Bennett Cohen outlasted Ward Melville’s Ben Rogak, 15-13.
In a heated final saber bout, Mark Dammer of Whitman edged Cody Khim of Jericho, 15-13. The tournament victory for Dammer was just the start the senior was hoping for.
“Being on top is nice,” Dammer said. “But the fun part is defending it.”