The Salem News
---- — Heading into yesterday’s state championship, St. John’s Prep fencing head coach Jim Carter wasn’t sure what to expect from his team. Three days prior the Eagles lost a tough bout to Concord-Carlisle, one of several competitors they were expecting to see yesterday.
Fortunately, they had one of their best showings of the year. The Prep tied host Buckingham Browne & Nichols which resulted in a sudden death tie-breaker. Both teams sent its top fencer in epee, foil and saber. Carter chose Rory Burke, Paul Kleiner and Mike Walsh — all three were victorious and earned the Prep its 10th consecutive state title.
“To be honest I was little nervous coming in,” said Carter. “The issue we had this year was seeing which team showed up for us. We were either completely dominant or fighting hard for a win.
“Usually it’s between us and Concord-Carlisle, but this year it was a three-horse race with BB&M in the mix. We had the worst rotation starting with BB&M and ending with Concord-Carlisle, but the guys stepped up.”
Carter also noted Adam Poirier, who lost just one bout on the day. Burke finished fifth overall in epee individuals, while Walsh was second in the foil.
“I always stress to the guys be a team and do what’s best for the team,” explained Carter. “It the last round against Concord-Carlisle, Chris Collibee pulled me aside and noted that the sub they had dressed to go next. He told me that Jake Whitlock had more success against him then he did, and to take him out and putt in Jake. I did and Jake ended up winning.”