Captains Profile: Karina Leung '19, Lisa Miller '19, Diana Bianco '19, and Divya Sammeta '20

This winter, Karina Leung ’19, Lisa Miller ’19, Diana Bianco ’19, and Divya Sammeta ’20 are captains for the Girls Varsity Fencing team, which currently holds an undefeated 3-0 record.

This winter, Karina Leung ’19, Lisa Miller ’19, Diana Bianco ’19, and Divya Sammeta ’20 are captains for the Girls Varsity Fencing team, which currently holds an undefeated 3-0 record.

Leung, co-captain of Lawrenceville’s Epee squad, won the gold ranking for Epee in the 2018 Asian Junior Fencing Championships with her Hong Kong-based club team. Although she began the sport in middle school, she started fencing competitively only a year after, eventually becoming one of the best fencers in the world.

What Leung loves the most about fencing are the lessons that it has taught her over the years.

“I really like the physical and mental aspects of fencing. It does help me improve my fitness and physical strength, but [...] I’ve been in a lot of stressful situations, and through that, I’ve grown as a fencer but also as a person,” Leung said.

Leung’s Co-captain of the Epee squad Miller began fencing in sixth grade after being introduced to the sport at a friend’s practice. After a few years of fencing recreationally, she started to compete when she joined Lawrenceville’s team during her II Form year.

Though Miller has tried multiple other sports in the past, fencing stood out to her because “it is an individual sport, but it’s also a team sport. Your points matter, but in the moment, it’s just you calculating your own moves. […] It’s hard to find places [where] you can do that.”

Miller’s favorite part of fencing at Lawrenceville is the close connection she has built with the wide range of students on the team. On these relationships, she said, “We have two tournaments during the term. They’re very grueling, but even though we’re working really hard, we know that we get to hang out between our bouts, see how each other did, and support each other the whole day.”

Bianco, captain of the Sabre squad, had a similar start to her fencing career. After trying many other sports, she began taking classes at a club in the fifth grade. While Bianco did not enjoy most of the other sports that she tried as a child, she immediately loved fencing.

“People call it physical chess, because it’s really strategic. You have to know how to react in a way that will work because it’s always different. You might try to fence the same way at the beginning of a match, but depending on your opponent, you have to change your ideas,” Bianco said.

On her goals as captain for the rest of the season, Bianco said, “My squad is not the strongest [on the team], so [the team] gets down on [itself]. Being captain is about making sure that even though we may not be the best, we’re still trying our best.”

After seeing her cousin fence over the summer after her fifth grade, Sammeta, captain of the Foil squad, became very interested in the sport.

Because she began taking lessons at age 13, which is later than most, Sammeta said, “Coming to Lawrenceville and fencing here [...] helped me get more confident. Even if I didn’t improve during the season, I was competing, and it was fun learning how diverse of a sport it is and how many people actually do it.”

Reflecting on how becoming captain has changed her experience on Lawrenceville’s fencing team, Sammeta said, “it made me realize how much faith coaches put in captains to make sure practices run smoothly. The amount of control is a little bit scary, but I think I’ve been handling it well and working towards making my team improve.”

All four captains have helped lead the team to an undefeated start to the season, and look to maintain the team’s momentum.