The team, which competes with 13 other teams in the Georgia High School Fencing League, is comprised of 48 students and coached by Dave Eichler. Other schools in the league are: Alpharetta, Cambridge, Centennial, Chattahoochee, Duluth, Dunwoody, Johns Creek, Lassiter, Milton, North Springs, Northview, Pinecrest and Roswell.
Half of the teams will compete at Pope on Saturday. The other half will participate in a similar event hosted by Centennial. The GHSFL hosts tournaments about once a month.
The event at Pope, which begins with pool competition at 9 a.m., will run throughout the day with the championship bouts expected to start around 4 p.m.
Shawn DeMario, who is helping promote the event, said she became fascinated by the sport when her daughter, Anna, took up the sport in 2011.
“It’s really some thing different,” said DeMario, who encourages people to go and check out the growing sport. “It’s really exciting and it’s great to see this kids out there competing and encouraging each other.”
The fencing season began in September and will conclude with the individual championships on Feb. 23 and the team championships on March 2, which Pope will host.
Pope’s Jake Wachtel currently leads in the boys competition with 272 points through five events. Alpharetta’s Brian Cai and Northview’s Harold Liu share second place with 208 points. Also in the top 10 for Pope are Luben Jelezarov (eighth) and Ian Lenthart (ninth). The highest-ranked male fencer for Lassiter is Hunter Bireley (32nd), who has only competed in two events.
Northview sits atop the boys team standings with 858 points. Pope (757) is second, followed by Johns Creek (470). Lassiter (172) is 11th.
In the girls individual epee standings, Pope’s Katie Van Riper is in second behind Centennial’s Dorothy Cannella. Lassiter’s Phoenix Williams is in fifth.
In the team standings, Pope leads for the girls with 634 points, followed by Johns Creek (616) and Northview (601). Lassiter (265) is seventh.
DeMario said one thing that makes the sport so great is that anyone can compete.
“It doesn’t matter how big or small you are,” she said. “It’s something that anybody can learn to do. It’s a great group of kids and they are friends within the different high schools. When they are fencing each other they are competing, but when they aren’t, they are cheering each other on.”