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Beacom Uses the Force to Succeed in Sabre

Published 03/19/2014 12:00 AM
Updated 03/18/2014 04:39 PM

By Chris Piccirillo
North Haven Courier

Will Beacom started as a foil fencer for North Haven, but when the Indians introduced the sabre sword last winter, Will decided to try his hand at the new weapon and it's been in his clutches ever since.

Will spent his junior year learning sabre's basics and, after developing his craft through the offseason, the senior captain entered this winter aiming for both he and his team to make their mark. Will made his with a top-20 showing at the Individual State Championship, plus a few key wins in the team state meet, at which the boys' sabre squad placed fifth in its first season competing.

"I definitely found the weapon that was for me. It just feels right that we started sabre while I was on the team and I can't imagine doing anything else," Will says. "Sabre just clicked with me better than foil. I picked up sabre easier and its quickness and aggressiveness better suited me on the strip."

Sabre is a sword that's tailored for fast and forceful fencers and so it appealed to Will, who admits he was a tad impatient as a foilist. In foil, just one combatant may attack at a time and can only strike on the torso. In sabre duels, both can attack simultaneously and are allowed to land hits on the torso, arms, and head. It's safe to say Will has the knack for all-out attacks.

"One of my problems with foil was that I wasn't that patient and you don't need to be as patient in sabre. You don't have to wait for the right of way to attack. You can just attack," says Will. "And because sabre is such a quick weapon, you don't need to wait as long for something to happen and can just go full-speed at your opponent."

Will and his sabre mates did just that during the recent campaign that was highlighted by an early 6-3 win versus rival Guilford. Later on, Will notched a victory against a Hopkins foe whom no one on the Indians had ever defeated. That win gave Will some reassurance heading into the individual states competition that saw him win three bouts to finish 19th and help North Haven qualify for the Team State Championship. At that meet, Will won both his matches in his squad's finale against Norwich Free Academy, a 5-1 triumph that gave the Indians a top-five finish.

"We were disappointed even with fifth because we felt we were better than some of the teams ahead of us, but being our first full sabre season, we did well and showed that we're not a squad who anyone is going to run over," Will says. "I'm also really satisfied with my individual season. Last year, they handed me a sabre and I just kind of went at it. This year, I knew what was doing a lot better and I performed better."

Will adds that it's an honor to be part of a program with such storied success across the board and feels proud to have ushered in a sabre squad that will look to carve its own niche in Indians' history. According to Coach Pete Solomon, what Will achieved the past few years will definitely benefit North Haven sabre for years to come.

"We wouldn't even have a sabre team if not for Will. We asked Will to switch to sabre, he made the commitment and sacrifice without a hesitation, and set the groundwork for the program," Solomon says. "Will is a pioneer for us who will always be at the forefront of North Haven sabre."

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