By BRIANNA WHITE
An Eastern Professor earned sixth place in her category at an international fencing competition in Verna, Bulgaria.
Marcia Pierce, associate professor of biological sciences and faculty adviser for the University’s Fencing Club, traveled to Bulgaria with the 50-59 Veteran Women’s Epee Team for the 17th annual World Veteran Fencing Championships where she fenced against competitors from various countries such as Japan, Ireland, France, and Italy. The six-day event ran from Oct. 1 through Oct. 6.
Pierce said she began fencing when she came to Eastern in 1997, but didn’t have a coach until 2004. Her first coach was Amgad Khazbak. Pierce said she finds the opportunity to fence a great experience.
“This is the only sport where I can say, ‘Yes! I’m 50!” Pierce said.
Being in the veteran category and earning a top-four spot in the group, Pierce was able to travel with 72 men and women to Bulgaria to compete in the World Veteran Fencing Championships.
She described her experience in the individual events as having its ups and downs. She said being hit in the shins three times while facing a Japanese woman was one of her lows. Placing higher than the 19th ranked fencer from Ireland was one of the highlights of her experience.
Pierce was faced with the third-ranked fencer in the world, Corinn Aubilly, from France. Aubilly was a gold medalist in the same event last year and Pierce said she presented her with a memorable and challenging match.
As the score stayed close, the match went into overtime. A coin was flipped in overtime, giving Aubilly the priority. Pierce said this meant if neither opponent scored within the allotted time, then Aubilly would win the match. Pierce scored and said she was elated.
“It was the best touch of my life.”
Unfortunately, Pierce said she was on such a high from her win that she lost her next match against an Italian fencer. Pierce finished the competition with a 6th place international win. As for her future plans in fencing, she said she will continue “as long as my body holds up.”
Pierce encourages students to become involved with the fencing program on campus. Pierce said she teaches a fencing class on campus that she recommends to beginners to learn the basics of the sport.
Fencing Club meets in the Weaver Building on Sundays from 4:30 p.m. -6:30 p.m. She said anyone is welcome to watch the practice.
While in the club, participants will be able to attend tournaments in the area to build their skills. Anyone interested in joining is encouraged to take the class Pierce teaches. There is a $20 fee per semester and students must provide their own fencing glove. Materials such as the jackets, masks, and weapons are provided by the club.