Hill fencing team hopes to build their program this season


Ruthanne Sander ’22 lines up in fencing match.

This season, Hill fencing has a new coach, Stuart Connelly, as well as two passionate co-captains, Ruthanne Sandner and Johnny Dai. The program will be experiencing exciting changes and has some new goals this season as well. 

Connelly is a parent of two current 6th formers, Callie and Wesley Connelly. The fencing team needed a coach, so Hill Director of Athletics Seth Eilberg, hearing that Mr. Connelly had some experience in the sport, reached out.  

“I was honored to be able to step in for the school and the team,” Mr. Connelly said. 

Mr. Connelly’s main goal for the season is to improve each team member’s general fencing and athletic ability. “Regardless of each kid’s abilities on the strip, I want them all to finish the semester as better fencers than they started,” he said. 

Footwork will also be a prime focus. “The key to fencing seems like it’s in the blade; but, in fact, footwork is the key factor in how well a fencer meets their opponent.” 

In addition to Mr. Connelly, another crucial member of the fencing program this year is co-captain Ruthanne Sandner ‘22. She began her fencing career during her 3rd form year at Hill and has continued here since. 

She describes fencing at Hill as an amazing experience. “Collectively as a team we have an amazing team dynamic, and there is always the opportunity to learn something new.” 

Sandner would like to continue making fencing at Hill a very tight-knit team and keep the positive dynamic. “I am hoping to create another team that supports its individuals both in competitions, school, and personal life.” 

Both Sandner and Mr. Connelly are excited to train beginner fencers and welcome new recruits to the team. 

“We are always looking forward to new recruits and competitions,” Sandner said. 

Mr. Connelly is just as welcoming, hoping to change the view on fencing as a sport that’s more intense or dangerous than others. “’I’d love to get the word out that fencing is a sport for everyone.”