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First WSSU fencing club may debut in fall

By Sheridan Watkins
On April 9, 2014
When discussing collegiate sports, fencing isn't the first thing to come to mind; however this fall, Winston-Salem State may welcome its first-ever fencing club.
The interest meeting for the fencing club was on April 2.
While fencing, the activity of fighting with swords, is a popular and Olympic sport, it is not in high-demand on
Tashon Little, junior sport management major from Newark, N.J., is aspiring to change that.
Little has incorporated fencing into his life for many years. He was introduced to the sport as a freshman in high school, and remained on the fencing team until he graduated.
Little said that he has been working with student activities in order to establish the fencing club at the University.
However, before the club can become official, Little said he has to gather enough willing participants and organize a budget and constitution.
"I have been talking to my high school coach and others about it and I am pulling everything together," he said.
According to Little, approximately 10 students are committed to being a part of the club. Little found these students through social networks and hopes to continue spreading the word.
"After I put it on Instagram, I got some responses and began emailing and texting those interested," Little said.
The club is expected to arrive on campus in fall 2014. It will cost approximately $3,000 to fund
the club. This will include the equipment, jackets and weapons.
Lona Cobb, a professor in the mass communications department, is the advisor of the club and said this is the first time she has served as an advisor of a sports club and this is one sport she has not had much experience with.
"I only know what I have seen but I have an interest in it because it is different," Cobb said.
Cobb said Little asked her to be the advisor because he favors her teaching methods and felt she would be a good fit. However, Cobb said she does not plan to physically participate in the fencing club but will do more research to become familiar with the sport.
"I'm looking forward to working and learning with the members of the club," she said.
One issue Little is facing is that WSSU will have the only fencing club in the CIAA.
WSSU will also be the only HBCU in the state to have a fencing club. Regional colleges that have a fencing team or club include: Virginia Tech, UNC Charlotte, UNC Greensboro, East Carolina University, Duke University, Appalachian State University and neighboring college Wake Forest University.
"Our club has been around for quite a long time. Past the four years I have been here," said Sinthu Ramalingam, President of WFU fencing club.
Ramalingam is a senior politics and international affairs major from Columbus, Ohio.
The WFU fencing club competes regionally and participates in annual tournaments, such as the Southern Atlantic Conference.
"It is difficult sometimes for clubs to travel far to compete so anyone nearby we would love to compete with them," she said.
Little said he will teach the sport and have exhibition matches within the team. He said when he thinks the team is polished, he will proceed to schedule fencing matches with other schools.
Josh Maynor, junior clinical laboratory science major from Wallace N.C., is one student that said he is committed to being a part of the club.
"I have always had interest in it [fencing] but I've never had the resources to participate so I think it would be good for the school to provide that resource to the students," Maynor said.
Little said it will not be easy, but as long as he has support and people that stay committed, the fencing club will arrive at WSSU and stay for years to come.
"This could be monumental and once people realize that I think they will be on board."

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