Preston Yun spends a lot of time on guard.
Even before Lambert High School started a fencing team, the 10th-grader was an avid fencer.
“It’s something I’ve always been doing,” said Yun, team captain. “I thought it would make a good addition for the school. It’s just something I’m passionate about, so I thought I could share it with other classmates.”
Yun was taking lessons with a handful of other students at Lambert. The group approached the school’s principal and athletic director about bringing the sport to campus.
It was their dedication, along with parental support, that inspired math teacher Andra Cruse and science teacher John Brock to sponsor Lambert’s first fencing team this year.
“We’re the first school in Forsyth County to have it,” Cruse said. “In our area, there’s much more of a broad interest. Some kids play football, we’ve got soccer, we’ve got lacrosse, we’ve got the equestrian team. So this is just one more opportunity for students to explore other avenues.”
Cruse said she was first approached with the idea by students on her math team, several of whom are fencers.
Though she’s not a fencer, Cruse said she’s become a big fan. And while not the trainer, she still attends the students’ tournaments.
“It’s one thing to watch something on TV. It’s another thing to go and actually work with the students and see it first hand,” she said.
The team has more than a dozen players, including six — Yun, Kinsey Knight, Justin Liu, Blake Objartel, Madhankumar Saiprasad and Mattia Vicari — who have lettered in the sport.
“We’re still growing,” Preston Yun said. “It’s just our first year, so we didn’t expect that many, so it’s a pretty good number for now.”
The team is part of the On Guard High School Fencing League, which competes against area schools, including Brookwood, Chattahoochee, Flowery Branch, Lanier, Mill Creek and North Gwinnett.
Preston Yun said the team has about one tournament a month during the fall fencing season and several on Lambert’s team have already earned medals and trophies.
Like her son, Yun’s mother Lesley has played a key role in establishing and maintaining the fencers.
She’s proud of her son’s accomplishments, including qualifying to compete in a national championship tournament in California next month. But she’s also proud of the other team members.
“Several of our fencers are members of USFA and compete in tournaments nationally,” said Lesley Yun, who also serves as the team mom. “Fencing is a sport that requires flexibility, patience, quick reflexes, speed, balance, strategy, skill and a sharp mind. But it is also a sport that emphasizes fair play and sportsmanship.
“It is sometimes called physical chess because you have to think a few steps ahead.”
The players are also thinking ahead in terms of college. Lesley Yun noted that the sport’s uniqueness can help on college applications.
“Many colleges have fencing teams and some have NCAA-sanctioned [ones],” she said. “Students can also earn fencing scholarships.
“We would love to grow the sport and hope that other schools in the county will start clubs as well.”