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    Friday, June 21, 2024

    The Day’s All-Area Girls’ Fencer of the Year: Waterford’s Maple Siu

    Waterford High School senior Maple Siu was named The Day’s 2024 All-Area Girls’ Fencer of the Year. Siu won the Eastern Connecticut Conference championship this season in epee, leading the Lancers to the team title, as well, and finished second in the state. (Photo courtesy of Wendy Morris/Waterford High School)
    Waterford’s Maple Siu was the ECC’s women’s epee champion this season, part of a dominant season in which the Lancers won league championships in epee and foil. Fencing isn’t the only area in which Siu excels, however, as she has many accomplishments on her resume. She will attend Dartmouth College and major in environmental studies. (Photo courtesy of Wendy Morris/Waterford High School)

    Waterford senior Maple Siu was selected as The Day’s 2024 All-Area Girls’ Fencer of the Year. Siu, a multi-faceted young woman who has committed to attend Dartmouth, takes pride in accomplishing all her endeavors at a high level.

    “Not only is she the epitome of what a women’s fencer should be — she’s probably top-5 in her class — she’s also very accomplished in a bunch of other things, as well,” Waterford High School coach Hugh Teel said. “She’s an impressive young lady.”

    This year for Waterford, Siu took home the Eastern Connecticut Conference women’s epee championship, placed second in state competition (for the second year in a row), and was named Waterford’s ECC scholar-athlete.

    She led the Lancers’ women’s epee team to an 8-0 record during the regular season and to an ECC tournament championship.

    Siu said: “(Winning) was great, it was definitely surreal, especially states because there are so many great fencers.”

    On top of that, Siu qualified to compete in the individual Division II and III National Fencing Tournament for the third time in her career. Alongside her qualifying epee teammates Lauren Gerboth and Isabela Haque, she will be heading to Columbus, Ohio, to face national competition this July.

    “One of (the people going) is my sister, so it’s going to be a lot of hanging around and having fun. It will be a good experience for me before heading to college,” Siu said.

    Her sister Hazel has been by Siu’s side all throughout their lives. With Hazel also being an ultra-competitive young woman, the Sius have created a family bond of high achievement. Throughout her high school career, Hazel has been a premier fencer, formerly ranked eighth in the country (Division III) as a sophomore and placing third in the ECC and state tournament this year as a junior, also in epee.

    “We compete against each other all the time in practice and in matches too, so we don’t ever take it to heart,” Siu said of her sometimes competitive relationship with Hazel. “The best part about it is that we’re always giving each other advice and rooting for each other. It’s always nice to have a familiar face that you can also trust, because she knows a lot (about fencing), too.”

    Teel said: “It’s difficult to try and coach while they fence each other. You just have to stand there in silence, just watch unbiased. They’re both great people, great to coach.”

    Siu added: “Our parents have always pushed us to get involved because it’s a better way to stay occupied than sitting there scrolling on my phone for a couple of hours. I think we’ve always been curious people too; it’s fun to be involved.”

    Apart from her outstanding fencing career up to this point, Siu has carved out an exemplary resume for herself outside the strip. Some notable activities/accomplishments from her high school career include lead violin for the Thames Valley Youth Symphony and WHS Orchestra, all-state in tennis, president of the Spanish National Honor Society, a member of the Science National Honor Society, Leo’s Club, Secretary of Model United Nations and the WHS Gardening Club. She’s earned several academic awards and even worked as a fourth-grade math instructor at the Southeastern Connecticut Chinese School in Waterford.

    “I struggled with managing my time a lot my freshman year, but then I realized you have to make the time and set priorities,” Siu said. “I wouldn’t say I felt too overwhelmed at any point, but it definitely seems like a lot.”

    Teel said: “It’s very rare to find someone like Maple, someone who can balance all these different things at once. She’s able to manage her time to where she not only shows up for everything but does a great job too — in everything.”

    The dedication to academics and extracurricular activities has definitely paid off for Siu, as she recently committed to Dartmouth College in New Hampshire on early-acceptance for the Fall 2025 semester.

    Although they do not have a collegiate level fencing program, Siu can compete in club tournaments against other schools as a part of the Dartmouth Fencing Club. Siu plans to pursue an environmental studies major modified with the public policy major, giving her a well-rounded college academic experience.

    “I know people like the big-city environment, but I like the classic New England college feel better. Everyone was really nice on my visit, and I liked the campus a lot too,” Siu said. “They also pride themselves on having a lot of interdisciplinary studies, so I get to explore different options instead of being forced into a box and studying one thing. As you could see by my activities list, I’m into trying a little bit of everything, so it feels like the best fit for me.”

    “Make sure to let them know that it was early acceptance because that’s a lot harder to get into,” Teel added. “She’s really an amazing young woman and I’m excited to see what the future holds for her, I’m sure she’ll do great things.”

    z.cunningham@theday.com

    The Day’s 2024 All-Area Girls’ Fencing Team

    Player of the Year - Maple Siu (Waterford)

    Elaina Brookhart (Fitch)

    Zhuning Gao (St. Bernard)

    Tenzin Kyijong (Waterford)

    Hazel Siu (Waterford)

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