Fencers were on guard at the Red Deer Fencing Club’s provincial tournament last weekend.
Two members of the Red Deer club finished first and five others finished top three in their competitions at the Red Deer Open.
Nathaniel Johnson, RDFC coach, said it was a great weekend for the club.
“We did great especially considering we’re one of the smaller clubs in Alberta. We took more than our fair share at the event,” Johnson said.
Johnson has been with the club for more than 10 years. He said the RDFC, which has about 30 members, has shrunk a bit the past few years.
“Some of that can be attributed to the economy and having less money to spend on sports and recreation,” he said.
In September, the club acquired a new facility – at 33 Mckenzie Cres. in Red Deer County – and has been training there since.
“We can access this place full time. We’re looking at running some summer camps. We can actually call it our home and design it to our sport-specific requirements to improve our training,” said Johnson.
The club trained at Grandview Elementary School for a few years prior to the move.
The weekend’s tournament was hosted at the new facility.
“It was a little tight, but everyone was more than happy with it. It’s quickly becoming one of the favourite venues across the province,” said Johnson.
Johnson said he hopes the club will grow with the new facility.
Braden Weiss, 16, finished first in the cadet mixed epee and second in the junior mixed epee at the Red Deer Open on the weekend.
“There were lots of good contenders at the tournament – one of them I even trained with. To be able to win [the cadet mixed epee] felt good,” he said.
The École Secondaire Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School student has fenced for about three years.
Having the new facility for training has been great, he said.
“We can leave equipment out and it starts to look and feel like an actual fencing club,” he said.
Karren Lyver, 46, finished first in the veteran women’s epee.
“I was up like 5-0 in the first period, but then I started slacking off a bit and my opponent started to catch up. But then I just focused on what I was doing, didn’t let it get to me and I ended up beating her,” Lyver said.
Lyver fenced when she was younger, but stepped away from the sport for a few years. About 14 years ago, a friend who was in the hospital told Lyver she should do the things she loved. She then got back into fencing.
“Fencing motivates me to eat right and get fit,” said Lyver, who lives near Trochu. “It’s a different kind of sport – it’s really unique. I saw it for the first time when I was eight and I loved it.”
Louise Zanussi finished 3rd place in the veteran women’s epee, Cory Wilson finished third in the senior men’s epee, Megan Ostrikoff won third in the senior women’s epee and Nicholas Hunter finished third place in the junior mixed epee.
For more information on the RDFC, visit red-deer-fencing-club.com.