Columbia High School Fencing Completes Championship Sweep

Both the boys and girls fencing teams earned the top seed in the state tournament at the NJSIAA Distric 3 tournament on Sunday.  Credits: T.J. Brennan
Najiyyah Clark works on her technique with a coach at practice.   Credits: T.J. Brennan

ROCKAWAY, NJ—Both the Columbia High School boys’ and girls’ fencing team won a state championship at the NJSIAA State Championship meet at Morris Hills in Rockaway. 

For the boys, this was their seventh state championship overall, and marks the fourth Cougars title in the last five years. 

The girls took home their eleventh team title and now have two wins in the last three years.  The win gives Columbia girls’ fencing the most team titles of anyone in the state.

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The team was thinking about a sweep at the state championships for the entirety of the season, which was something at least one foilist wanted.

“Both squads want that state championship,” foilist Najiyyah Clark said in an interview in January.   “We want to win together.”

This is the third time Columbia has swept the team state titles, after 2003 and 2004 featured Columbia fencing sweeps.

Throughout the season, both teams were ranked No. 1 in the state by, and got through with the target on their backs. 

Coach Daryl White said that the support each team gives the other is a big reason for the team’s recent success.

“One group pushes the other group,” White said in a previous interview. “We support each other 110 percent.  The girls are happy for the guys and the guys want to be happy for the girls.  It’s not like a competitive thing; it’s a thing where they drive each other to do the best that they possibly can do.”

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