Ward Melville's fencing teams extended their winning streaks Saturday. They just did so in different fashion.
While the girls won comfortably, finishing 17 points ahead of second-place Commack, the boys needed a victory in their final match against Brentwood to edge the Indians, 45-44.
Ward Melville actually trailed by two points heading into the match against Brentwood, and needed all six of the points it received in the match.
"I'm just relieved," said Ward Melville coach Jeff Salmon, who has now won seven straight county titles, and 11 overall, as coach of the Patriots. The team came into Suffolk individual and team championships, which took place at Brentwood, on a 108-match winning streak.
In the tournament, all eight teams fence each other in nine-bout matches, with each victorious bout counting for a single point.
With Ward Melville needing a win in the final bout of the final match, the team's streak was in the hands of Tyler La Tourrette.
The senior epee fencer said after the match he was unfazed by the situation.
"Our coach teaches us to focus on the bout as a singular bout, and not adding up to the overall score."
Ward Melville also got strong performances from the foil pair of junior Mike Antipas and senior Devin Reina, who both capped off strong days with key wins in the Brentwood match. Reina won 5-0 vs. the Indians and Antipas won 5-1.
"There was pressure there, knowing the team needed everything they [could] get," said Antipas, who also won the individual gold medal in foil, capping a second straight undefeated season.
Reina said it is "amazing to be a part" of such a successful program.
Brentwood coach Mike Corona, whose team finished in second, said he was "absolutely" proud of his squad, which started all seniors this year. "I'm gonna miss these kids."
Commack finished in third on the boys end with 43 points.
Commack senior Emmett Woytovich won gold in boys epee and Commack junior Brian Huang won gold in boys sabre.
On the girls end, things were less dramatic. The Patriots girls clinched gold with a match to spare, finishing with 54 points and earning a county title for coach Aziza Hassan in her first year on the job.
"There's always pressure when you have to win," Hassan said, "but the girls are good, so that makes it easier."
The Ward Melville girls came into the day on a 188-match winning streak, and Saturday's win marked the team's 13th consecutive county title.
Sabre fencers Kacy Charpin, Carly Weber-Levine and Ilana Solomon led the way for the Patriots, combining to go 20-1.
"We work so hard to get where we are," said Charpin, a senior who also won individual gold in sabre.
Commack junior Chantel Yang won gold in epee and Brentwood junior Athena Grauer won gold in foil.
The Ward Melville boys will face Great Neck South and the girls will face Garden City on Tuesday in the Long Island championships at Wheatley.