Sharp intellect propels sophomore to victory

Olivia Summons, Staff writer

Sophomore Karina Wang walks into the Baltimore Fencing Center in Columbia and puts on a black screened mask and her white fencing jacket, decorated in badges. Sword in hand, Wang is prepared to dominate her opponent.

Just how does she size up against competitors?

“She’s a lot better,” freshman Victor Shi said.

Shi, who has fenced with Wang for five years, admires her skill set.

“During the attack, she’s already thinking how her opponent will counter so that she can get the desired reaction,” he said, adding that this is something he still strives to master.

“She thinks a lot more quickly and her actions are more complex,” Shi said. “It will confuse her opponent so she can outsmart them.”

He added that Wang knows when to parry and when to feint.

“Fencing has made me bolder because I’m fighting other people, getting really competitive,” Wang said.

“That helped me step outside my comfort zone.”

Wang became interested in fencing years ago.

“When I was 7, my parents were researching fencing, and my brother really wanted to do it. At that time my brother and I were pretty close, so I decided to go along with him and try it out, because stabbing people felt like a fun idea,” Wang said.

She was quick to list fencing’s benefits.

“It strengthens your decision-making because you have to have very fast reflexes and make decisions on the spot,” she said.

Sophomore Cindy Shou, a longtime friend, praises Wang’s dedication and personality outside of fencing.

“Above all, it’s her attitude,” Shou said. “She’s a great friend not because she’s smart or athletic or motivated. She’s a great friend because she’s a fun person, who still—despite being decked out in medals—is incredibly down to earth.”

In addition to participating in Programming Club and Future Business Leaders of America, Wang was recently named Key Club’s Editor for next year.

For Wang, Key Club is about gaining real life community experience.

Helping her community through Key Club isn’t the only way Wang represents something larger. She competed at the Junior Olympics in February in Kansas City, Mo. as a part of the USA fencing team, placing 10th out of 197 participants.

Wang’s constant work toward self-improvement contributes to her stellar performance as an athlete.

Despite her high rankings, Wang is still setting goals for herself. She practices four days a week in order to hone her skills.

“I really want to increase my endurance because at tournaments, you have to fence fifteen bouts. Each of them lasts 10 minutes so it’s really energy consuming,” Wang said.

Wang already has her eye on the future. She aims to fence at an Ivy League school in college.

“I 100 percent plan on fencing in college,” she said. “I have done a lot of research into NCAA colleges and I want to go to a D1 school, because it’s a lot more competitive and more fun.”

Wang is prepping for the U.S. Fencing National Championship and July Challenge in Salt Lake City.

“Without fencing I’d be bored with my life,” she said. “I honestly couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”