ANNANDALE, NJ - The Chatham boys varsity sabre fencing team placed fifth in the NJSIAA State Squad Championships held Saturday at North Hunterdon High.

The Cougars won 39 wins out of a possible total of 57, helping Chatham improve over last year's 12th-place finish when it won 25 bouts.

Chatham junior Darren Yen, the team captain, won 12 of 19 bouts for a fifth-place finish among A strip fencers. Marshall Hong won 11 of 16 bouts for ninth place among B strip fencers. Hong was sidelined after a thumb injury during bout 16 that kept him from being able to hold his saber.

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Preston Yen won 15 of 19 bouts for the Cougars and tied for first place among C strip fencers. Kyle Reyes won 1 of 2 bouts, while Vincent Liu was edged out of his bout, both filling in for the injured Hong on B strip. All five fencers have trained at Integrity Fencing in Chatham this year and will be returning to the high school team next season.

Both Yen brothers will be competing next weekend in the NJSIAA State Individual Tournament.

The top schools were Ridge with 46 wins, Northern Highlands and St. Peter's Prep with 41 each, and Pingry with 40. 

The State Squad event require fencers to compete against all of the top four squads from each of the five NJSIAA districts, with 19 rounds of fencing over the course of the competition which lasted eight hours.

Chatham qualified for the event when they won the District 1 Championship on Jan. 20 for the third consecutive time.

The Chatham men's sabre also earned the gold at the Morris County Tournament this season. Hong and Yen finished 1st and 3rd at the Montclair Frosh Soph earlier this month. Both Darren Yen and Marshall Hong both finished the NJAC conference undefeated, with Preston Yen at a record of 13-6, Reyes at 13-3, and Liu at 5-3.