This weekend’s individual state championships in fencing were an exciting affair, with several talented competitors going undefeated to capture the top honors.  Wayne Valley freshman Francesca Russo and West Windsor-Plainsboro South senior Sharon Gao took sabre and foil, respectively, in the women’s competition.  Russo also had the honor of being the first freshman to capture a state title, which bodes well for her years ahead.  Columbia’s Haley Hart defeated rival Jessica Hall of Parsippany to take the epee title.

On the men’s side, Brendan Cusack of North Hunterdon captured the foil title by defeating rival Andrew Ark of Ridge.  The final showdown was a surprise to Cusack, who was certain former two-time foil winner Brian Kaneshige was his top competition.  Kaneshige ultimately lost two bouts in the final act, crushing his dreams of taking a third consecutive title.  The Harvard-bound senior has only lost 11 bouts in his four-year career.  Pompton Lakes sophomore Cooper Schumacher and junior Charles Copti of Ramapo captured the epee and sabre titles.