In the Locker Room with Caleb Anderson and Jonah Glasgold


Bryan Rubin, Photo editor

Caleb Anderson (left) and Jonah Glasgold

Sarena Malsin, Sports Editor

This week, the Review sat down with Caleb Anderson, sophomore co-captain of Ober­lin’s fencing team, the Flaming Blades, and senior Jonah Glas­gold to discuss team develop­ment, funny memories and what got them into fencing in the first place.

What has been your favorite moment of the season so far?

Caleb Anderson: Our second tournament at Case Western was probably our favorite one, actually. I think my favorite mo­ment was the very last round.

Jonah Glasgold: Yeah, we haven’t beaten Case Western in a very, very long time, and this tournament was at Case West­ern. In the last round, we went up against Case Western. When it came down to the last bout, which was the deciding bout to decide whether or not we would win, our best female freshman saber fencer was up, and just kicked the [heck] out of the girl she was up against. It was awesome.

Since fencing is a sport where you compete individu­ally, how do you maintain that team feeling during the season?

CA: We try to do things to­gether as a team outside of prac­tice. We’ll get dinner together after practices, we’ll hang out together afterwards, have our own parties — things like that. And the way we do it with colle­giate tournaments is [that] we’ll fence individually, but we win as a team, and that definitely helps create a team atmosphere.

JG: At collegiate tourna­ments, it’s kind of a weird setup because you fence everyone else on their team and they fence ev­eryone on your team. You’re def­initely winning on your own, but you’re also winning as a team.

CA: The school that wins the most bouts will win the round, basically.

Do you have a lot of newcom­ers this year?

CA: Last year, we had four freshmen join the team, and this year we had, I think, more than 10.

JG: Yeah, we had a ridiculous amount of freshmen join the team this year, and they all had good prior experience, which is something we’re not used to. It’s pretty exciting because we’re fi­nally getting to the point where we can actually compete with the other club teams around the country. It’s really nice.

So do you feel more legitimate as a team this year as com­pared to past years?

JG: Definitely. We came in third at Case Western, and the two schools that beat us there were Michigan and Michigan State, which are both huge schools and both draw a lot of athletic talent. We’re a tiny school, and now we can com­pete with those teams.

Did you fence before you got to Oberlin?

CA: I’ve been fencing for about eight years, pretty much constantly since sixth grade, so joining the fencing team was a pretty clear step when I got here. That prior experience def­initely helped push me to run­ning for the captain position as well.

JG: I fenced through middle school, stopped for high school and joined the [Oberlin] team last year. I did have a six-year gap between starting and stop­ping again, but it’s like riding a bike.

What drew you to fencing in the first place?

CA: I don’t think there’s a single fencer who can honestly tell you that sci-fi, fantasy, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, wasn’t part of it.

JG: Sci-fi and fantasy play a big role in getting into it. Fenc­ing is a very nerdy sport.

What was the most difficult thing to pick up while learn­ing to fence?

CA: For me, the most diffi­cult thing to get into my mind was the fact that you’re going to lose. You’re going to lose a lot, especially at first, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Every bout you lose is an opportunity to learn something and grow.

JG: On a similar topic, you have to get used to being in a practice situation where you know the fencers you’re fencing and you know what they’re going to do and how to fence against them, and then you jump into a tournament where you have no idea what’s going on in the other person’s head, no idea how they fence, what their style is. You have to adapt. To me, that was the hardest part about compet­ing: adapting to people you don’t know.

CA: And sometimes you’re go­ing to lose to people you should have won against, who you are more skilled than, and sometimes you’re going to beat people based entirely on luck. That’s something that takes getting used to as well.

Any memorable funny mo­ments on the team?

JG: Last year at Case Western, I was horsing around with one of the other guys on the team, and I jumped on his back. I was being an idiot, and I tried to do a back-hand spring off of his back and fell flat on my head. And somebody got a picture of the exact moment my head hit the ground.

Is there anything you guys are especially looking forward to for the end of the season?

JG: Being competitive at Club Championships this year.

CA: I want to see every one of our teams place in the top half [of rankings] this year. As a personal goal, I like to see all the fencers on the team improving, and in this past tournament most of our fencers did improve in terms of results. So I’m looking forward to trying to increase our percentage of wins more.