Experience counts for a lot in sports. So while the Huntington High School boys’ fencing team’s roster included ten seniors, it also featured 20 underclassmen who need more time to develop into a group that wins more consistently.
Now winning isn’t the only goal for a high school sports team. There are plenty of lessons to learn, relationships to establish and friendships to form with teammates, skills to sharpen and fun to be had. There was all of that this year for the Blue Devil fencers. So while the team struggled to score enough points to win matches, compiling an overall mark of 4-10, everyone still enjoyed a good time.
Coached by Vincent O’Garra, Huntington was captained by Dylan Bluemer, Josh Yanuck and Ethan Garcia. To be fair, the Blue Devils dropped some close matches, which makes their final record a little deceptive.
There were 14-13 losses to Commack and Walt Whitman and a pair of 15-12 setbacks at the hands of Half Hollow Hills and Commack. So a few more points here and there and Huntington could have just as easily been 8-6. (For the record, Commack finished in first place with a league mark of 7-1 and an overall record of 10-3. Half Hollow Hills compiled marks of 6-2/9-4.)
The Blue Devils lineup featured a gritty group. Finneas Tucker was first team All-League and honorable mention All-County in epee. Josh Yanuck was first team All-League and honorable mention All-County in foil. Lars Drace grabbed second team All-County honors in sabre. Zach McGinnis (sabre) and Casey DiGiacomo (foil) both captured second team All-League recognition in their respective weapon.
“Josh has been on the team for six years and he showed incredible dedication to the team and at all meets,” O’Garra said. “He took the sport very seriously and kept the team cheering and motivated.” Yanuck led the foil squad with a 24-9 record.
“Dylan also showed incredible dedication to the team and to the training of new fencers,” O’Garra said. “He took his leadership role very seriously.”
Some of the season’s highlights included Connor Dougal placing ninth in the county finals, Ethan Garcia finishing ninth in the Brentwood Holiday Tournament, the boys’ foil team consisting of Yanuck, DiGiacomo and Ben Conner grabbing fourth place in the Huntington Relay Carnival and DiGiacomo’s seventh place foil finish at Brentwood. Drace fenced to a team best sabre mark of 19-11. Tucker was tops in epee with a 14-7 mark.
Looking ahead to next winter, O’Garra sees reason to be optimistic. “The majority of the team will be returning, especially a lot of JV and second stringers who showed exceptional adaptability when put on the strip,” the coach said.
O’Garra is aiming for higher finishes at the county championships and in the Brentwood Holiday Tournament next season. “Many fencers are going to summer camp and getting private lessons,” he said.
Bluemer, Ben Conner, DiGiacomo, Drace, Xavier Edgar-McNerney, Thomas Edgar-McNerney, Garcia, McGinniss, Tucker and Yanuck will all graduate in June. The rest of the roster will be returning.