Student Athlete Profile: Mary Hardig '18

Mary Hardig ’18 is in her first year in the McKendree fencing program. Hailing from Schereville, Ind., she is the lone female fencer on the squad and competes in epee, foil and saber.

Photo of Mary HardigQ: How did you get started in fencing?

Hardig: My high school had a fencing team and I thought it would be interesting to try.

Q: For our readers who are new to fencing, can you briefly explain the main difference between epee, foil and sabre?

Hardig: An epee is a stabbing weapon in which the whole body is target. According to Andrew Tolbert ’18 it is the best weapon. A foil is also a stabbing weapon, but only the torso and the neck is target. Finally the sabre is a cutting weapon, where everything above the waist is target. Currently we have three foil fencers Luke Davis ’17, Kenny O’Dell ’15, and Alex Smith ’16; two epee fencers Ivan Lich ’16 and Andrew; and three sabre fencers Cameron Davis ’18, Tristan Quinton ’18, and myself.

Q: What is your favorite fencing weapon?

Hardig: I currently fence all three weapons and I love them all, but sabre was my first weapon and the one I fence most often.

Q: Describe for us a typical practice for a Bearcat fencer.

Hardig: Every day at practice we start out by stretching and warming up, just to get the blood moving. Then we do some drills with Pearce Wilson (coach), and lastly we fence each other for the next couple of hours so that we are ready for our next competition.

Photo of Mary HardigQ: Do you have any pre-bout rituals or superstitions?

Hardig: Although there are many rituals such as saluting the sky, and kissing your blade, my ritual is to clench my weaponless fist, which happens to be my left hand.

Q: Why did you choose McKendree?

Hardig: My choice came with fencing. I not only wanted an education, I wanted to fence and have fun doing it. So I checked out McKendree, and it seemed like a place that would feel like home to me. I am very happy with my decision. I have made many friends.

Q: What are your future goals?

Hardig: To be an occupational therapist. I’ve decided that sports medicine is the ideal field for me to be in. In fencing, some fencers plan on making the Olympic team, but I just do it for fun! I realized I don’t need to be the best to be happy. I need an education with something fun to do on the side. I love fencing, I even love losing, because it tells me that there is so much more I can learn and each day my skills will increase and I will become the best me I can be.