The Huntington girls’ fencing team featured a roster dominated by underclassmen this winter. There were only six seniors on the team, which endured some growing pains along the way.
Coached by Valinda O’Garra, the Blue Devils were captained by Lydia Witt, Cordelia Blair, Sabrina Floro, Hannah Olesen and Tea Khokhar.
The highlight of the season came when the girls’ epee squad consisting of Khokhar, Meagan-Elise Malone and Lianna DeChiaro finished fourth in the Huntington fencing relay.
Witt (23-22) and Khokhar (24-18) captured honorable mention All-County honors. DeChiaro (26-13) was named second team All-County. Huntington compiled a 4-12 record, finishing seventh in Suffolk.
“Tea has been on the team for six years and has been incredibly dedicated to improving herself in the sport and making the team experience memorable,” said O’Garra about Khokhar, who will graduate in June.
“Lydia has also been on the team for six years and she has excelled during every season she’s been with us,” added O’Garra about Witt, another of Huntington’s seniors.
Junior Adina Kirkland won 23 bouts and led the team in touches with 177. DeChiaro (167) and Khokhar (161) were second and third, respectively, in touches. Floro was another standout senior. The teenager won 15 bouts during his final season with the Blue Devils.
“The team was able to come together and make this season very fun and enjoyable for me and all the newer and younger kids who are going to be stepping up to fill in for the graduating seniors,” O’Garra said. “They made me feel comfortable and respected as their coach and it made it easy for us to get along and for me to give direction during practices and meets. It helped me to better help them. They were very open about what skills they wanted to work on and were very receptive to coaching techniques. They greatly improved.”
O’Garra and her fellow Blue Devil coaches are looking at holding longer practices and more structured lessons next winter. “With these changes, I am hoping that we can have a better winning average and more confident fencers and also have more fencers stand out.”
With 14 current underclassmen eligible to return next winter, Huntington is looking to field a very competitive team.