Fun and Action
Long Island Fencing Club offers you the opportunity to increase your skill level and knowledge of the sport. Don't worry if you don't have experience. All levels of ability are welcome!
Victor Ritchie was the Town of Brookhaven Fencing Club’s (Our original designation before changing to Long Island Fencing Club in 1980) first fencing coach. The club was founded in 1963 and was predominantly for adult instruction. Tournaments were originated in 1965 and future club members participated. Van Wolosin went undefeated with Barry Improte placing third and Bob Nelson placing fourth. Tournaments were held outdoors on Saturdays at the Centereach Pool.
Victor Ritchie passed away in 1967 and a memorial fund was started and a foil tournament held in his honor at the Bald Hill Ski bowl (now the Bald Hill outdoor theatre). It was a prestigious tournament with only 12 people invited to participate from all of Long Island and New York City. (Many tournaments were what are now designated “A” Tournaments). The winner kept the Victor Ritchie trophy for 6 months and it was then placed on display at the Town of Brookhaven for the remaining 6 months. Later the tournament was opened to everyone and the winner allowed to keep the trophy for one year. (The Tournaments are currently by invitation only), and due to past wear and tear, the trophies are no longer taken home by the winner and are kept by the Club.
Tom Cakouros, a history teacher at Newfield High School, started a fencing club at Newfield and transformed it into a team; fencing interscholastically in 1961. He also became the Fencing Instructor for the Town of Brookhaven Fencing Club when Victor Ritchie passed away. Mr. Cakouros coached many fine fencing teams at Newfield, winning the Suffolk County Championship five times. He was instrumental in developing fencing in Suffolk County and getting Epee implemented into the interscholastic contest. He currently lives in Keene, New Hampshire, and is still active developing a fencing program where he lives. Our club currently holds a Saber Tournament in his honor.
Mr. Cakouros ran a Junior Olympic Program in the summers for fencers. A frequent visitor and guest lecturer was the Assistant NYU Fencing Coach, James Castello. James Castello was also the co-owner of the now defunct Castello Fencing Equipment Company. James was unselfish in volunteering his time to help develop Long Island Fencers at the Junior Olympic program. James was also active in the now defunct Amateur Fencers League of America (AFLA) and a trophy is presented in his honor at the Suffolk County Fencing Championships by the United States Fencing Association of Long Island. Our Club instituted an Epee tournament in his honor shortly after his death.
Mr. Cakouros retired from instructing the Brookhaven Fencing Club in 1969 and Van Wolosin was hired as director of Fencing for the Town of Brookhaven and continued the Junior Olympic Program until the demise of the Amateur Fencers League of America. Van also coached at Selden Junior High School for two years and in 1971 took over the Newfield fencing team. Mr. Wolosin expanded the club to include more youth fencers and instituted a more extensive tournament schedule. Mr. Wolosin coached at the club until his retirement in 2001 and a Veteran’s Foil tournament is held now in his honor.
Long Island Fencing Club is currently Directed by Kevin O'Grady