UNCG’s Fencing Club sharp and ready for competition

Photo Courtesy of Ben Wansley

Photo Courtesy of Ben Wansley

By Daniel Johnson, Staff Writer

Not many individual would know what the acronym, AFA, stands for. A cipher for an organization that has been formed since 1962, and with members in 18 different countries, most students would not know that the, AFA, the American Fence Association holds a club here on campus.

For students across campus, not since, perhaps The London Olympic Games in 2012, have seen a fencing match. Still, many others here at UNC-Greensboro have never a fencing match. The sport is known, but not as popular as other sports such as football, soccer or baseball. Still, on the campus of UNCG, the Fencing Club has still gone strong for close to a decade. Ben Wansley, president of the club, has made sure of that.

Ben Wansley got into fencing like how many people would like to be introduced to something new, as target practice.

“I started fencing about four years ago when I came to the school after spending a few days as target practice for my brother, who was president for the fencing club at East Carolina.”

As president of the club, Wansley explained the many responsibilities he has to do as leader of the organization.

“A lot of networking and making appearances with SGA (Student Government Association) and other clubs, as well as getting other clubs to schedule competition dates” Wansley said.

Speaking to the club’s top official, I believed one duty I thought he would mention is getting the word out on campus for the club. Posters, fliers, notes, etc. When Wansley did not make reference to exposing the club on campus, I inquired about the subject of the club’s methods for visibility.

“After Fall Kick-Off, and other events where all the clubs get together, we have mostly just put up a few fliers” he replied.

“We have not had the chance or put in much effort to get out so much as having our club continue as it goes. It would be nice though to get more people out there so people would not fence the same person.”

Ben then talked about how fencing has helped him learn about accountability in and outside the sport.

“Fencing is an individual sport. It is you against the other person” Wansley said.

“Every action matters. If sometime went wrong, it’s my fault. So you have to push yourself.”

Despite his calm demeanor during the interview, when questioned about this season so far, he had little nice words to give.

“This season has been rot with miscommunication, in which we have recently joined a Conference and have been attempting to set up competitions” he replied, with clear frustration coming from his quiet voice.

“Our overhead governing organization has retrained the amount of tournaments we had by raising the amount of referees. We will lose money if we host a tournament, so we have been doing mostly a lot a practice.”

Though the season is not going as he wished, the team is expected to compete at the end of next month against the University of Tennessee. Ben had a statement to close out the interview for those individuals who are on the fence for joining.

“Just come out and try it, what do you have to lose” he replied.

“We are one of the safest sports, and if you are driven, and an intelligent individual who can take responsibility for his/her actions, come out.”

The fencing team practices every Tuesday and Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m in the student rec center. More information can be found under the campus’ rec clubs website, which also has emails to the coaches and other high ranking officials.

Categories: daniel johnson, Sports

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