The Student News Site of Kinnelon High School

Colt Chronicle

The Student News Site of Kinnelon High School

Colt Chronicle

The Student News Site of Kinnelon High School

Colt Chronicle

En Garde: Matthew Waibel’s Adventure to 100 Fencing Wins

How Junior Matthew Waibel achieved 100 fencing wins
Anthony Dowd
Waibel finishing his fencing match at Ramapo High School on Friday, the 9th of February 2024

Matthew Waibel, 17-year-old junior and fencer at Kinnelon High School, right on the cusp of his 100th career win, puts on a valiant fight against Ramapo High School’s fencing team. 

In the niche world of fencing, achieving 100 wins in your career is described as the “magnum-opus of the fencing world,” by senior fencing team captain, Cole Pryor. “He’s a junior; that’s pretty impressive,” says Kinnelon’s coach Mark Hecht. While also nearing 100 wins, Waibel made it to the Fencing State Finals tournament and won the 2023 Morris Knolls Frosh/Soph invitational fencing tournament, further showing how much skill he holds in the sport. 

“He could easily be number one [fencer at Kinnelon High School]. He’s definitely the best on the team at foil [a specific set of rules for fencing],” says junior fencer Jason Osterman for Kinnelon High School. .

“I’m coming up on 100 wins for dual meets [school vs school games] and it’s a pretty big accomplishment to get this, possibly my junior year or my senior year; most people don’t ever get there. I’ve been very successful, and very blessed,” says Waibel.

Waibel is able to easily compete at a high level due to his unpredictable playstyle, bladework, and exemplary footwork. “He’s a very athletic kid, he has excellent timing … I can tell that he’s one of the kids that genuinely enjoys the sport and wants to improve,” says Hecht. Utilizing his left-handed-ness, footwork, and bladework, makes him a very unpredictable and difficult opponent to spar against according to coaches, and other players.

 “He’s got good fundamentals; he’s a lefty, and he knows how to use that to his advantage. He uses his bladework and footwork cohesively,” says Joseph Park, a junior fencer for Ramapo High School.

Much thought is not often put into what happens prior to the match, but that’s not the case for Waibel. “I do footwork on the strip, stretch, then I do some bladework, then I do a quick five touch bout”. Besides warming up, Waibel drinks pickle juice and tunes in to some music, “Pickle juice because it helps me not cramp”.

Outside of fencing, Waibel upholds strong core values and tries to better others around him. “He likes to teach other people how to get better, he’s just an overall very good captain,” says Osterman. 

Even other fencers’ parents appreciate Waibel’s sportsmanship. “Coach, you’ve got a great kid right here because one of my kids was out and upset, so I went out to go check on him, and found him [Waibel] consoling him,” says a parent. This displays his passion for not only the sport of fencing, but also his teammates, and friends, to uplift them.

Who is Waibels favorite opponent to fence?

“If I could fence anyone, it would have to be either Joseph Park, or Nick D, because it’s always fun to fence somebody that you know”.


What would Waibel’s fencing mask say about him, if it could talk? 

“You should have a lot of concussions; you get hit in the head too much”


If Waibel had a theme song what would it be?

“If I could have a theme song it would be the Darth Vader theme from Star Wars”


If Waibel had to describe his playstyle in three words, one of which being an animal, what would it be?

“Lefty, Monkey, Precise”.

Waibel pointing his saber at his opponent during a fencing match at Ramapo High School on Friday, the 9th of February 2024

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