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Athletes of the Issue: Caroline Asnes: Fantastic Fencer

Kallie Schmeisser ’22 Sports Editor
Caroline Asnes ’21 has been a skilled and passionate power behind Girls Varsity Fencing for four years.
Although she had no prior experience before joining the team, Asnes quickly picked up the sport. Her introduction to fencing may have been spontaneous, but she grew to love it: “Honestly, I needed a sport to fill my athletic requirement for the season. A few people had told me that fencing would be fun, so I gave it a shot.”

Asnes started fencing at Hopkins the winter of her freshman year and soon found the sport and experience worthwhile: “Fencing is such a specialized sport, the majority of our team (including me) started with no idea what we were doing. While our Varsity fencers (those who fence in competitions) are extremely competitive, this newbie attitude allows the team to have a lot of fun with the sport. We work hard and push ourselves, but we’re al- ways having fun. There’s no pressure to be the best, and so everybody feels really comfortable being a part of the team.”

What, at first, seemed like a surprising happenstance grew to be a fundamental part of Asnes’ high-school experience. The team, the sport, and the competition developed not only her determination but also her responsibility. She said, “Fencing has definitely taught me perseverance. Whether it’s the middle of 50-10s (a ladder-type workout) or I’ve just lost a bout I should have won, I know now that exhaustion and failure are just a part of the process and not something to whine about...it’s a sport where you work in- dividually, but everything you do affects your team’s score. I am driven by my desire to bring home wins for the team and in turn better myself as a fencer.”

Fencing recognizes and capitalizes on the importance of that team mentality. Asnes said that, as an epée fencer, “[the team] taught me how to fence almost any type of person and counter every attack. Most of our practices after the first couple weeks of the season consist of staging bouts against our teammates, so I learned pretty much everything I know about how to win from them.”

With Covid-19 changing the season, Asnes, as a captain, strives to keep the sense of community strong. Aiden Boyle ’23 commented, “Caroline has done a wonderful job as captain in welcoming everyone and making sure the team has some sense of normality.” Andrew Cotaj ’22 continued, “She [Caroline] has made us [the epée team] feel like a family.” Head Coach Emilie Harris added, “It is a shame that Caroline and our other seniors are not having a ‘normal’ winter season... but Caroline is handling this with grace. I still see all the qualities that make her a good captain and better teammate during this challenging Covid season.”

Asnes leads by example. Harris said, “Caroline...is willing to jump in and help out without being asked. During drills, she works hard to teach the new fencers as well as making time to work on her own technique. When electric fencing, Caroline works to get as much strip time as possible and is happy to fence any of her teammates. While we did not get to compete this year, Caroline has shown leadership during competitions by remaining focused on her goals and coaching her teammates during breaks.” Alistair Selby ’22 added, “Caroline is a good person and good fencer and this carries over to her as a captain and a teammate.”

Asnes’ dedication to the sport and team has led to many just rewards. She placed eighth in Connecticut last year at individual states and became a much more skilled fencer. Harris stated, “Caroline’s dedication to fencing has increased in the past few seasons. Early on, it was clear that she enjoyed the sport, but wasn’t sure how much she wanted to put into it. In the past few seasons, Caroline has committed herself fully to fencing during the winter season. As a result, she improved greatly as a fencer and be- came more competitive.”

Although she does not plan on fencing after Hopkins, Asnes has enjoyed her time on the team and with the sport and will be saddened to see her last season come to a close. Harris said, “I am proud of Caroline’s growth during her time on the Hopkins fencing team and it has always been a pleasure coaching her. The team will miss her leadership, care, and spirit when she graduates!”
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