MORRIS HILLS, NJ - The Governor Livingston Highlanders girls’ fencing team fell to Columbia in the NJSIAA Team Championship on Wednesday night, with a final match score of 12-15. Governor Livingston’s Saber squad record was 1-9, its Foil 6-9, and its Epee 5-9.
Governor Livingston’s Saberists had a rough start, with losses in all bouts against Columbia, though Elena Uhouse and epee Lauren Wagner got close with scores of 4-5 in each of their bouts.
It was not until Foil Aileen Trella won 5-3 against Najiyyah Clark of Columbia that Governor Livingston gained some momentum.
Fellow Foil Taia Harrison and Epee fencers Colleen Reilly and Naomi Warde triumphed in their bouts and tied the match score at 4-4. The next six bouts were evenly split between the two teams, with each side winning three bouts. Uhouse, Trella, and Harrison boasted victories, and a tie of 7-7 was reached.
The next eight bouts determined Columbia’s victory, with Epee fencer Warde boasting the sole win of 5-2 over Columbia’s Alexis Auer. At 22 total bouts played, Columbia celebrated an early victory with a score of 8-14. Grace Boyle, Trella, Warde, and Reilly powered through four of the last five bouts against Columbia’s second string of fencers and the match ended with a score of 12-15.
The stands were filled with spirited Governor Livingston fans, including three boys who had painted their faces blue and red, to match the school’s colors. With each stroke landed, parents and fans belted out deafening cheers and stomped on the bleachers.
After the game, Governor Livingston Coach Vince Paragano commented, “We did our best. It’s a rivalry that goes on, and this just adds another chapter. We’ll see them again next year for a different year and a different result. 5-4 losses were the killer tonight. I told the team: if you get enough 5-4 losses, they eventually become 5-4 wins. Hats off to Columbia.”
Foil fencer Trella, who won all three of her bouts in the tournament, said “Columbia’s spirit was up, and their Saber squad was on their game. We gave it our all, and it’s been a good season.”
The Highlanders took the loss and left the Morris Hills High School gym smiling, in promising spirits for next year.