In the very first fencing tournament of his life, P.J. Lariviere '13 took first place in the foil division at the Vacationland Open at Monmouth Academy last weekend. After going 4-1 in the opening pool, Lariviere went 4-0 in the direct elimination bracket to clinch the victory.

The tournament began with the opening pool, in which the participants were split into three groups of six. Each of the fencers in the pool competed against the other five, and the results determined the rankings for the direct elimination bracket.

Lariviere's day started poorly, as he lost his first opening pool match to an older woman.

"It was a tough match," Lariviere said. "I was hoping that wasn't going to foreshadow the rest of the day, but then I started winning."

He proceeded to defeat his next four opponents to achieve a 4-1 record in the opening pool and secure a No. 3 ranking in the direct elimination tournament.

After beating his first two opponents by large margins, Lariviere once again faced the woman he had initially lost to in his first match of the day.

"Every time she would flèche me and just run at me," Lariviere said. "She didn't have any other moves. I would just step out of the way and try to get her."

The strategy paid off. Lariviere got his revenge and came away with the victory in a very close match.

In an evenly matched championship contest, Lariviere went point-for-point with his opponent as his teammates yelled encouragement and advice, and he took the lead with time running low.

"I didn't know whether or not to sit back on my one- or two-point lead and try to stall or stay on the offensive," Lariviere said.

In the end, it didn't matter. He scored one final touch to seal the match and secure first place. With the victory, Lariviere achieved an E10 national ranking, and is the only member of the fencing team who is currently ranked.

Six other members of the fencing team also competed in the tournament and of those six, four returned to Bowdoin with a medal. First year Jason Kwong placed second in the saber division, while senior Lawrence Wang took second place in épée. Just behind him, first year Alex Edison and local resident Chris Wilkins tied for third place.

Kwong's second-place finish in saber was especially impressive. He had only switched to the weapon one practice before the tournament, and saber, unlike the other brackets, was open so that both ranked and unranked fencers could compete.

Bowdoin will host its own tournament, the Bowdoin 3-Weapon Invitational, on Sunday, April 25 in Sargent Gymnasium.