Jaraya Johnson

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — The Winthrop University fencing club is gaining attention after humble beginnings a few years ago, as the club has become a popular athletic activity among students.

The group, which met every Tuesday and Thursday night this semester, held its final meeting and practice April 16 in the West Center.

Typically, a fencing club practice introduces members to new skills, which they must repeat to master. However, the final practice allowed students to use the skills they learned throughout the semester to play games.

“We play what is similar to chess with fencing. So, we create a board on the floor and the teams start on either side,” said Katherine Harper, a veteran member of the group. “The goal is to kill the monarch and each player has both a passive and active special ability.”

However, club president Ashley Cooper said the practices are always a lot of fun.

“You’re not really feeling like you’re obligated to go to practice. It’s more of like ‘oh hey, this is a fun thing, I get to go to see all my friends and hang out,’” said Cooper.

Cooper, who is nearing the end of her presidency, said she is going to miss the group.

“Probably my favorite thing about the club is how close knit it is. Everybody’s friends here, we all get along really great,” she said.

Other members said they’re thankful that all skill levels are welcome, including beginners.

“All these people were very helpful. Our coach was super helpful teaching me the basics and helping me actually know fencing terms and fencing techniques that upper levels and even some Olympic fencers do,” said Bradley Taylor. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Even though the moves may look difficult, Harper said the club provides everything a person needs to be successful and have fun.

“We do throw a lot of things in there to make it a lot of fun, but we teach you the basics from the beginners, just the steps, all the way up to as far as you want to go with it,” said Harper.