SFCC students take fencing skills abroad
Published: Thursday, June 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 11:35 p.m.
Santa Fe Community College's oldest athletic team is heading to London today to take part in its first international fencing competition.
The 10th London International Universities Fencathlon competition takes place Saturday and Sunday.
The competition is hosted by the University College London Union Fencing Club. Eight SFCC students will compete in events including women's foil, men's saber and women's saber.
Competing in about 12 tournaments annually, the fencing team has won about one-third of the competitions it has entered.
"It's nice to compete on a national level," team and club president Nikolas Ptschelinzew said. "It's an honor for our school to go and show our presence worldwide."
The SFCC fencing team has been invited to more than five other international tournaments, including the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Fencing tournament and the University of Cologne competition.
This is the first time the team has had the money to attend an overseas tournament, SFCC public relations intern Alexis Lloyd said.
"It is the team's first time going overseas, period," Lloyd said. "It's really expensive to send that many students overseas, but student government had enough money to approve the team's overflow request."
The fencing team raised about $4,000, and student government put up an additional $12,000 to pay for the London event.
Although the team raised money having car washes and bake sales, it also received donations from two doctors who gave $1,000 each, he said.
"We got donations from people," said Bob Lightner, team coach and adviser. "We made personal contacts and a lot of people came through."
Lightner said the team has been a strong domestic fencing team for the past 34 years.
The fencing team first began practicing in December 1972.
"We are ready to show off our skills in the art and sport of fencing," he said. "I'm excited for the students. They're going to have a great time and make a lot of friends."
The team is practicing several times a week in addition to conducting other nontraditional mental and visualization practices, Lightner said.
"If you can visualize yourself doing a particular thing in a real setting, that makes you real confident," he said. "It's an interesting correlation of mind and body and sometimes one has to pick up the slack for the other."
Ptschelinzew said he's excited about competing in his first international tournament.
"We had to do a lot of hoop-jumping and deal-making to be able to go to this," he said.
"Our saber team is very strong so we're hoping to at least place a few of our people in the top 10," he said.
Ptschelinzew said his biggest concern is getting through airport security with a bag full of swords.
The fencing team includes Ptschelinzew, Kevin Mears, Winston Tsai, Josh Lancaster, Daniel Blumberg, Sasha David Zuckerman, Tomiko Kutyna and Cathy Jean.
SFCC plans to keep a daily journal of events.
In addition, the team's statistics are available on the fencing team's Web site at http://student.sfcc.edu/~stuorg/fencing.
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