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History Major Wins Fencing Tourney

By Lauren Cooper ’16 on November 12, 2013 01:19 PM

STEELY DETERMINATION. Alexi Horowitz ’14 nabs first place in the Williams Tournament. Tim Labarge

History major Alexi Horowitz ’14 won the 16th annual Douglas Williams Fencing Tournament last weekend, earning monster timê and a handcrafted gold pendant shaped like a foil to commemorate his victory.

The tournament took place in the sports center, with the fencers masked and garbed from head to foot in white, an odd sight amongst the milling spectators and fruit platters.

During the bouts, the students thrusted and parried with steely determination. Fencing coach Miwa Nishi ’92, who has been involved in the tournament since its inception, said that one of her favorite parts of the event is watching the fencers in a competitive mood, as opposed to just practicing. After each bout, however, once their protective face masks were lifted, the fencers gathered around to congratulate and encourage each other.

The tournament was started by the late Douglas Williams ’63, who learned to fence during his days at Reed and later said that it taught him to value a balance of mental and physical excellence. He began the tournament as a way to promote interest in the sport and to give back to Reed. It includes a purse of $10,000 that supports financial aid. (Any Reed student can enter the tournament, but only students who receive financial aid are eligible for the prize money.)

Carol Simpson and Reed fencers

Carol Simpson, widow of Douglas Williams ’63, flanked by Reed fencers at the 16th annual Douglas Williams Fencing Tournament.

Carol Simpson, Williams’ widow, officiated the tournament as she has done for 15 years since Williams’ death. She opened the tournament by saying that Williams once told her that for centuries youths went out into the world with nothing but a sword to win their fortune and this was his way for keeping that tradition alive.

After a total of 10 bouts, Horowitz was declared the first-place winner. Economics major Ian Morrison ’17 won second place, earning a silver sword on a black ribbon. Chemistry major Larissa Seybert ’17 won third, earning a bronze sword on a red ribbon, anthro major Adam Casey ’15 won honorable mention. At the end of the tournament, Simpson presented each of the fencers with a certificate and a hug.