Paula Kim and Valentine De Landro
Karen Parsons exacted her revenge with a blade and a slash.
At the Ryerson Open Fencing tournament Parsons beat top-ranked Shana Blackburn in a rematch of last year’s final. The match was close in the early stages, but Parsons was able to establish control, thrusting towards a 15-10 win to claim the women’s foil championship.
“I know I am better than I was last year,” said Parsons, “In the finals, I really concentrated and took my time.”
Performing under pressure has been a problem for Parsons. She went into the Ontario University Athletics West final ranked first last year, but finished a disappointing seventh.
“There’s a lot more pressure on me now,” said the fourth-year nutrition student. “There’s going to be higher expectations from other people for the rest of the season.”
Parsons credits new assistant coach Ioseph Mirkin for her improvement, even though he doesn’t speak any English. Mirkin began fencing in Russia and coached a fencer to a gold medal in the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
“He is so good, the language difference isn’t really a problem. He has helped give me confidence in myself,” she said.
Parsons is not the only Ryerson fencer to post solid results at the exhibition tournament last Saturday. Simon Racioppa finished tenth out of 32 competitors in the men’s foil competition. Racioppa is expected to be one of the leaders on the team, and though he’s had stronger finishes in the past, Racioppa isn’t disappointed with his performance.
“I’m okay with how I did today. For the first tournament of the season it’s not that important,” said the third-year RTA student.
In the men’s epee, Christian Devega and Paul Campanelli both performed well and placed eighth and fourteenth respectively.
While the fencing team is off to a good start they are still having problems filling their team. There are three different forms of fencing — foil, epee and sabre. Ryerson is missing women’s epee and both Sabre teams.
Ryerson fencers have yet to meet their head coach, Eugene Mirkin, who’s in Ohio attending a trade show. Perhaps when he returns the team can concentrate on finding some more fencers to fill the squad.