Sam Hardwicke led the Ryerson men’s fencing team to two OUA medals on Feb. 15-16 at the University of Ottawa.
Hardwicke, a first year student in the MA Fashion program, took gold in the individual event, a result which was strong enough for the Rams to take bronze in the team foil event.
Hardwicke spent four years on full scholarship on the Ohio State fencing team, and has been fencing at the national level for over 15 years.
“We had very high expectations for the men’s team.” said team manager Kyle Foster.
Arseni Tikhomirov, who won the OUA gold medal in the individual epee event last year, placed fifth in the same event in his final year of OUA eligibility.
The Ryerson men’s team placed fifth overall in the OUA standings with 172 points.
Ryerson also competed at the women’s fencing championship Feb. 22-23 at Western University where they placed ninth overall, scoring 58 points.
Leading the women’s side was Sukie Ma who placed seventh in the individual foil event. Ma is in her third year of eligibility, and did not start fencing before she went to Ryerson, a fact that describes many others on this year’s women’s team.
“We knew it was a rebuilding year for the women,” said Foster, “And we had very tempered expectations as this was more to gain experience.”
Since joining the team three years ago, Foster has seen Ryerson experience a large amount of growth in the fencing world. This was due to his decision to recruit and introduce athletes to the sport of fencing, rather than just relying on experienced fencers being a part of the general population or recruiting them directly.
“We build them up so that hopefully, by their fourth year, they will be competitive at the OUA level.”
With Hardwicke back for another year next season, and the experience gained by the first year students, Foster hopes for an even brighter future for the team.
“I think that with our continued growth of homegrown talent, we will be able to get better results next year.”