Freshman, Undefeated, Wins Fencing Tourney

By Chang Woo Seo ’14 | November 14, 2014

Bio major Ryan Kwok ’18 emerged victorious from the 17th annual Douglas Williams Fencing Tournament last Saturday after winning all of his six bouts. Ryan was awarded a gold pendant, shaped like a fencing foil, amidst applause from his fellow sword-fighters.

The tournament took place in the sports center, where professors, students, and parents visiting for Parent & Family Weekend gathered to cheer as the deft exchanges between the combatants resounded in steely echoes across the auditorium. The contestants displayed excellent sportsmanship by exchanging hearty handshakes and high-fives between each bout.

The tournament was initiated in 1998 by the late Douglas Williams ’63. Douglas, who later became a professional airplane pilot, believed fencing to be the perfect counterpoint for Reed's rigorous academic curriculum. Since his passing, the tournament has been officiated by his widow, Carol Simpson. Carol said that the tournament has taken on a life of its own now, and that Doug’s spirit is still alive and well.

The round-robin competition consisted of a total of 21 bouts with 7 participants. English major Matthew Dickinson ’18 won second place, and biochem-molecular bio major Alex Kane ’18 took third. History major Miguel Torrijos ’18 won honorable mention and a scholarship of $8,000 to support his financial aid. (Impressive showing for class of ’18 -- Ed.)

Fencing is just one of scores of sports and adventures that Reed supports through its Athletics, Fitness, and Outdoor Programs.

Ryan, the undefeated champion, said his favorite part of the sport was getting to know his opponents through the course of a bout. And lest anyone think that fencing is an impractical, outdated pastime, last year’s tournament winner, Alexi Horowitz ’14, can prove them wrong. He now routinely crosses swords with polluters and government officials as a contributor for Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Tags: Sports & Adventures, Awards & Achievements, Students