In the wake of the Blue Devils' second place overall season finish in girls fencing at the Long Island championships Tuesday Feb. 9, Huntington Patch spoke with Alan Kuver, who heads up the coaching staff of the Huntington High School boys and girls fencing teams. Kuver has been coaching Blue Devils fencing since 1990.
P: What are your thought's on junior fencer, Olivia Weller?
AK: She works a little more than everybody else. She was able to make the County final, again, and she was the individual epee champion for the second year in a row.
P: After the Long Island championships, would you have gone on to New York State championship?
AK: No, because there are not enough teams across the state, our final event is the Long Island Championships. The two best Suffolk County teams fence the two best Nassau County teams.
P: Overall, what are your feeling about your boys team's accomplishments this season?
AK: Replacing two guys [from last year's team] was going to be tough. It's basically the same team, but I knew that a change in a few people was going to make a pretty big difference. We were less experienced, younger. On the boys' side, I would have liked more success. We lost a lot of matches by one or two points, so we were competitive in some regard. [Next year] we get a lot of our team back, but there will be a lot of room for players to come in and claim a spot on the varsity. Were hoping for a bigger turnout next year, [as we'll] be doing some intramural programs.
P: Is it easier to attract girls to the team?
AK: It comes and goes. I've had big girls team with small boys teams, and this year, I had a bigger girls team, because we had a ton of new people come out [to try out]. Off of last year's team, we had 24 girls and only one graduated, so we had a fair number of people coming back. This year, we had 40-something girls try out, and we actually had to make some cuts, which we ordinarily don't like to do. So, I think the girls team [this year] was 37 people.
P: Do you think having so many girls on the squad generates a level of enthusiasm and success?
AK: It helps, but last year's team was pretty good – we were 7 - 7 – and were in the mix to be the one of the top three teams in the county, but not really able to challenge Ward Melville, who is [a perennial] the top team. But being one of the top two or three teams in the county puts a good stamp on your program. We've been dancing around with that the last two seasons. We came very close in '07-'08, and '08-'09. That was our goal this year, and the extra people certainly helped. One of our freshman was a starter by the end of the season, and was an All-County selection. And we also had some good subs, who may be in consideration to be starters next year.