En garde! — Fencers impale this week’s Pipe

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Cris Mora and Victor Sander

Joyce Wang

THEY MIGHT NOT KNOW DANIEL BRIERE, BUT THEY’RE FAMILIAR WITH SABRES. Cris Mora (left) and Victor Sander jab their way to the Purple Pipe this week with deft footwork and keen eyes.

Every week, The Gazette awards the Purple Pipe to a Mustang athlete or team with an outstanding performance. This week, two fencers nab top honours. At the Carleton Invitational on Jan. 14, the men’s sabre team of Eduardo Silva, Cris Mora and Victor Sander led the Mustangs, placing second overall. The team won silver after going undefeated in the Direct Elimination Tableau until the gold medal match.

Next for the fencing team is the Ontario University Athletics qualifiers on Jan. 27 and 28. The Gazette caught up with Mora and Sander to chat about fencing, film and fruity drinks.

How long have you been fencing? How did you start?
SANDER: I’m from Germany and I started in Grade 5. I came to Canada in Grade 11 and then I stopped. When I came [to Western], I started again.
MORA: I started fencing in my first year at university. I just joined the club and had a knack for it. After that, I made the team and I’ve been competing since then.

What drew you to the sport?
SANDER: Where I’m from in Germany is pretty close to one of the national training centres, so it was pretty huge around my high school.
MORA: In high school, I used to box a lot and I heard fencing was really good for your footwork. I joined mainly for that, to improve my skills in other sports, but I found it really exciting so I stuck with it.

Are there any misconceptions about fencing you’d like to clear up?
SANDER: It’s not as easy as it looks, maybe.
MORA: People think that it’s not really an athletic sport " that it’s very technical and kind of low-key " but it’s very physically demanding and people don’t really realize that.

Are you multi-sport athletes, or do you concentrate on fencing?
SANDER: I do a whole bunch of stuff. I ski, I go scuba diving, I sail. I also play squash and tennis. All kinds of stuff.
MORA: In high school, I used to box and I used to be on the soccer team and the basketball team. Mostly in university, I’ve focused on fencing, but I’m starting to get into tennis lately.

Favorite swordfighting scene in a movie?
SANDER: I’m a big fan of Zorro, just because he has the same weapon. Whatever he does is pretty cool.
MORA: The Princess Bride for sure.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar?
SANDER: Double vodka-cranberry.
MORA: Corona.

Have your fencing skills ever come in handy in everyday life?
SANDER: Uh...not at all. No.
MORA: I can’t say it’s ever helped me pick up a girl.

What do you guys do for team bonding?
SANDER: We have to share beds at tournaments.
MORA: We have to share beds at tournaments.

What would you tell people who are interested in joining the fencing team?
SANDER: The university also has a club, so if you just want to test it out...the sport is pretty expensive, so if you just want to see what it’s like, start there and see if you like it.
MORA: The club is a great way to get started. I got started at the club and I learned a lot under the tutelage of the team and it has led me to success on the varsity scene.

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