LITTLE FALLS, NJ - Passaic Valley High School senior Christie Ack became the school's first ever Fencing County Champion at the Passaic County Tournament in February.
Placing first in epee, her achievement was the perfect capstone to Christie’s final season. Since placing 3rd in last year’s county tournament, Christie feels as though she has been subconsciously training for this year’s tournament since the season began.
“The fact that I had goals and personally wanted to get better all season always made me care about the best decisions I could make and take any chance for improvement.” Going into each match, Christie put herself in a focused mindset to make sure she performed at her fullest potential.
Christie has been a member of PV's Fencing Team for all four years of her high school career. Girls' Fencing Coach Daniel Swerzenski is always pleased with the leadership skills of senior athletes like Christie every season. He has enjoyed watching the seniors prosper as team leaders and believes “the underclassmen will rise to the challenge” of following in their footsteps as they move on to the next level.
Fencing is broken up into three blade groups- sabre, foil, and epee. Each blade group has a different set of rules. “For epee, which is what I do, the blade has a button at the tip which needs to hit the opponent anywhere on their body with a pound of pressure to obtain a point,” Christie explained.
Coach Swerzenski finds it easier to describe the sport as “physical chess.” Swerzenski further described it as “a competition predicated not only on one's physical fitness but also on one's competitive mentality and on-the-spot decision-making skills to achieve victory.”