During a meeting held at South Orange Village Hall earlier this month, the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders honored the Columbia High School Girls Fencing Team for winning the 2012 State Championship, as well as the senior team captain, Haley Hart, for winning the 2012 Individual Epee State Championship.
The Girls Fencing Team captured its state championship on February 28 by defeating Montgomery High School, 14-13, thereby completing its 2011-12 season with a record of 16-1.
This year’s state championship also marked the tenth won by the Columbia High School Girls Fencing Program since 1998, tying the record for the most state championships won by an individual school all-time. The program’s legacy of success is also exemplified by the gaudy overall dual meet record of 181-12 it has compiled since 2001, and by the fact that every 4-year member of the team since 1998 has graduated having won at least one state championship.
The Columbia High School Girls Fencing Team is comprised of the following members: Seniors Holly Barszcz, Haley hart, Sarah Hilton, Nicole Mee and Rachel Viqueira; Juniors Alexis Auer, Marie Guarino, Titlayo Osho and Liz Zona; Sophomores Sarah Backstrand, Najiyyah Clark, Samantha Ewing, Chloe Fogelson, Joelle Santos, Helen Soleck, Dasia Vaughn, Alex Viqueira and Lane Williams; and Freshmen Celia Accardi, Charlotte Cramer, Katie Hilton and Blessing Olaode. The team is coached by Ibtihaj Muhammad, who was named the “2012 Girls Fencing Coach of the Year” by The Star-Ledger, Daryl White, and Assistant Coaches James Lambert and Jason Kohn.
Haley Hart, a senior at Columbia High School, won her second straight Individual Epee State Championship on March 4 at Montgomery High School, thereby becoming the state’s first-ever two-time epee champion.
During the 2011-12 campaign, she compiled an impressive overall record of 72-14, and a record of 30-3 in dual meets, thereby helping to propel her team to its 16-1 record and state championship. Haley was named the “2012 Girls Fencer of the Year” by The Star-Ledger and was also named to the First Team All-State by the NJ Interscholastic Fencing Association and The Star-Ledger.
A four-year varsity letter winner, Haley Hart will graduate from the most successful fencing program in New Jersey as one of the most decorated fencers in school history. In the fall, Haley will continue her studies and her fencing career at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.