By Antonia Comaniciu ‘25 and Charles Potter ‘25
Lawrenceville Big Red Sports Network Reporters Antonia Comaniciu ‘25 and Charles Potter ‘25 met up with Ashley Wang ‘23 to learn more about fencing and her role as one of the girls’ varsity fencing captains this year.
Antonia Comaniciu: When and why did you start fencing?
Ashley Wang: When I was eight or nine because my family is involved in the fencing business and I have relatives who have done it before.
Charles Potter: Do you play any other sports for Lawrenceville?
AW: I run cross country.
AC: In what fencing events do you compete?
AW: I fence foil, which is one of the three weapons and a balance between the other two. It is a mixture between strategy and speed.
CP: Do you plan to continue fencing in college?
AW: Depends on where I go, but I want to continue fencing in some capacity. Even if it is just a club team, I’ll join it.
AC: What do you enjoy most about your sport?
AW: I like the mental and competitive aspect because [fencing] is fundamentally a combat sport so there is always a winner and a loser, and it is fun to [win]. Also, you have to use a lot of strategy to accomplish that, [which is why] people call it physical chess. You have to fool your opponent and I think that’s fun.
CP: How does it feel to be competing again after the pandemic?
AW: This was definitely a bigger question last year, when a lot of upperclassmen didn’t come back. Everyone who came on to the team was new, so it was a rebuilding year where we had to teach a lot of novices and freshmen how to actually fence. This year, we’ve actually gotten some more people who are more experienced, and with the people who were here last year, we have a better, more experienced team.
AC: Do you have any fencing role models?
AW: I’m from Hong Kong, and one big fencing hero is a foil fencer [named] Cheung Ka-long, who won the Olympics last year in foil. That was a really big moment for Hong Kong because [they] didn’t win the gold medal for [around] 40 years. To see someone who came from the same place as me succeed at that level was really cool.
CP: What does it mean to you to be a team captain?
AW: I think it means playing two roles. First, being part of the team, getting to know people, and building connections because you want to have a [positive] team dynamic during competitions and practices. But [it also means] having a coaching role where you have to lead practices. Because we’re such a dispersed group of people, all of the captains have to lead all of their practices and drills.
AC: How do you work with your coach (es) to help lead the team?
AW: We discuss what we want to do at the beginning of each practice. We usually do warm ups, footwork and drills, and then we go into actual scored electric fencing. But if there’s a specific skill or technique that we want people to get better at, we discuss ways we can help them improve and try to implement them.
CP: Are there any matches/meets/games that you are especially looking forward to?
AW: The Santelli Tournament, which is the biggest high school fencing tournament in the country. A lot of big schools go, and we haven’t been able to compete in two years because of COVID, so I’m really excited to go.
AC: Any personal or team goals for the season?
AW: We won Prep-States last year, so doing that again [is a team goal]. Ideally, I would also win, but I don’t really care about that at the moment. We have new people on the team, so I want the team to meld and see how we work together.
For additional information, contact Lisa M. Gillard H'17, director of public relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org.