The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School




The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School



Interview: Shaina Morris, Fencer


Senior, avid athlete, and devoted San Luis Obispo High School student, Shaina Morris has been competing in fencing since the age of ten. The sport is one unlike any other, originating back in the 14th century, and requiring the strategic use of weapons. In simple terms, two opponents fight using swords and win points by coming in contact with their competitor. The sport is only played by few people in San Luis Obispo and with Morris being one of them, Expressions had the chance to interview her on her love for the game.

Expressions: Describe fencing as if you were talking to someone who knew nothing about it.

Senior Shaina Morris: It’s basically a modern adaption of dueling so there are certain rules that you have to follow, like what areas of the body you can hit. When two people are fencing there’s a referee who called actions, awards points, and cards for misbehavior. The rules also make it very sportsmanlike which is kind of cool, and besides requiring speed and agility it’s also very mental sport because you have to figure out how to hit your opponent without getting hit.

Expressions: How did you become involved in fencing?

Morris: I saw it on the television when I was watching the Olympics and I got really excited about it, so I decided to try it.

Expressions: Why did you choose fencing?

Morris: Mainly because I really enjoy the mental aspect of it.

Expressions: Where do you practice? And how often?

Morris: I practice twice a week at the Highlanders Fencing Club in downtown SLO.

Expressions: Where do you compete?

Morris: I usually have to go down to Los Angeles or up to the Bay Area because that’s where all the tournaments are held, but sometimes I fly out of state.

Expressions: Who do you compete against?

Morris: Sometimes I compete against other girls in my age group and sometimes they have open tournaments where I compete against both men and women of a certain skill or level.  

Expressions: How do you balance fencing with school and your other extracurriculars?

Morris: Its not too difficult to balance things but sometimes I have to make compromises, like I’ll skip practice but spend half an hour doing drills at home.

Expressions: How has fencing influenced you?

Morris: It made me a lot more driven and motivated. When I’m down four points in a match I will say to myself, ‘okay this isn’t the end I have to keep pushing’ and that has definitely helped me through school, track, and everything else.

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