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Chapel Hill High Fencing Teams Win State Awards

Jared Elton, a senior at Chapel Hill High School (CHHS), joined the fencing club his freshman year, knowing only a “very rough outline of what went into the sport.” He said, “Now four years later, I have learned so much about the sport, to the point where I've become responsible for maintaining the club's equipment, along with keeping my place at the top of the ladder!” These four years have paid off for him, and this year became a banner year for both women and men’s teams in club fencing at CHHS. The women finished first in the state, and the men came in third.

This was the second year in a row the women have won the state championship. Erin Timmins captains the women’s team, and serves as co-captain of CHHS fencing with Elton. “As a club fencer, the community is relatively small and tight-knit, and so it’s always a wonderful atmosphere to learn and compete in,” Timmins said. Her teammates are Jasmine Ji, Alessandra Gutierrez-Arnold, Kate Berreth and Isabel Sharp.

The high school fencing scene in North Carolina has developed significantly in recent years, supported by the North Carolina High School Fencing League. According to its website, “Over the last 15 years, fencing has grown by leaps and bounds in our state.” The recently completed season is the League’s eighth, with nearly 200 high school fencers competing. CHHS and East Chapel Hill High’s teams belong to the Coastal Conference, with schools drawn from the Triangle and Wilmington areas. The Mountain Conference includes schools from Greensboro to Elkin. Elton said, “I have made friends in schools all the way out to Winston-Salem, which would not have happened without joining the club.”

Elton’s teammates are Ethan San Pedro, Nick Carosso, Max Miller, Aaron Jirles and Kevin Ji. Both teams are coached by Doug Guild.

Timmins said, “It felt incredible to see months of dedication and hard work pay off— it was a moment we’d been building up towards since the beginning of the season. There was a moment when we as a team, collectively realized how much we’d done together, and that coupled with winning the state tournament is something I’ll never forget.”

Congratulations CHHS fencers!