From Touch to Touche

As a prospective primer student 14 years ago, now-senior Channing Tucker spotted a photo of a pair of girls, long sleek swords clashing together, in a brochure. That’s when she decided she wanted to fence.

However, she did not start fencing until Upper School when she joined the Hockaday Fencing Team.

“I found my niche,” said Tucker, who is now the team’s co-captain. She joined an out-of-school fencing club the winter of her sophomore year to further her skills and allow her to fence during the winter and spring.

This summer, she competed in the Summer North American Cup in Columbus, Ohio.

“It’s like a final exam. You train and train and then when it’s finally there, you’re just have to be ready.” Tucker said. She said it is the biggest tournament for all fencers from a variety of styles and ages.

Tucker fenced three events – Division IA, II, and III – going in as the 63rd seed and coming out 62nd in IA, which was extremely difficult.

Tucker described the sport as physical chess; it is as much of a mental sport as a physical one.

“It’s all about control. Self-control and controlling your opponent,” she said. “The only way to win is to either force your opponent to make a mistake or to manipulate them into a carefully-laid circumstance.”

Her coach, Brenda Waddoups, who has been working with her for two years at the Fencing Institute, commented on her dedication.

“In order to prepare for Nationals and hone her skills, Tucker started training two months before and participated in a rigorous 6 a.m to 9 p.m. camp.” said Waddoups.

Tucker plans to pursue fencing in college and compete in the Junior Olympic Championships in 2014.

-Kate Clement