The Ward Melville girls fencing team reached a milestone Monday, winning the program's 150th straight match with a 22-5 win over Huntington. The Patriots' winning streak is one of the longest in Long Island sports history.
"It's very exciting," coach Jennie Salmon said. "It's an exciting moment for the program but we just want to keep competing and see where we go from here."
Now 6-0 on the season, Ward Melville's dominance of Long Island has now spanned the past 11 years as no team has been able to get a win against the Patriots. They have won 10 straight Suffolk and L.I. championships.
Salmon was a two-time All-American for Temple University and she won an NCAA fencing championship in 1992. When she became Ward Melville's fencing coach 12 years ago, she never envisioned putting together a win streak like this.
"It wasn't something that was on my mind," Salmon said. "I just wanted to build a strong program and provide kids with a high level of fencing that can help them get recruited to colleges."
Salmon admitted that the win streak does put a lot of pressure on her and her team, and because of that pressure, she didn't tell the girls they would be going for the program's 150th straight win. She said she didn't want the team to lose focus on the match at hand.
Senior epee Danielle Brando won the meet-clinching match. After the meet ended, Salmon told her girls what they had achieved for the program and they screamed and hugged each other. Some of the program's alumni who were in attendance also joined in on the celebration.
Salmon said that despite reaching the milestone, she still feels pressure to keep the streak going. But she said her team is focused on its main goal to compete for another L.I. championship.
"We're hoping to continue to be a strong program," she said. "We just want to continue to compete and take it one meet at a time."
Leading the way for the Patriots on Monday were senior Demi Antipas, who went 3-0 in foil, and juniors Alexa Antipas and Alexa Rohan, who both went 3-0 in sabre. All three of them will be competing at the Olympic trials in Portland, Ore., this weekend.