Sports Person of the Week
Keanna’s Always on Point for Guilford
Foil fencer Peter Keanna will get his opportunity to lead the Guilford boys’ fencing squad as a senior captain during the 2021 winter season. (Photo courtesy of Peter Keanna )
When Peter Keanna enrolled at Guilford High School as a freshman, he didn’t have a winter sport to play, but he knew that he wanted to try something new. Peter signed up for the boys’ fencing team, and it’s a decision that he looks back on fondly on four years later. As he enters his senior season, Peter is excited to lead the Guilford boys’ foil team as a captain in 2021.
“My favorite aspect of fencing is being able to compete as both an individual and as a team,” says Peter. “Throughout the year, I compete in regional and national tournaments as an individual, but the high school season gives me the valuable opportunity to compete as part of a team. I enjoy being pushed by my teammates on a daily basis during the season, and we are all pushed to be the best athletes we can be.”
Last year, Peter helped the Guilford boys’ foil team finish in fourth place at the Team State Championship. As a squad, the Guilford boys narrowly finished in second place behind Hand for the overall state crown. While Peter enjoyed last season, his favorite moment of his high school fencing career came when Guilford won the state title in his sophomore campaign.
“During my sophomore season, I was on the varsity foil squad when we won a squad state championship,” Peter says. “I vividly remember the winning touch by my teammate, and this is one of the most significant moments in my high school fencing career.”
This year, Guilford welcomes a new head coach, Tara Bowers; Peter is looking forward to working with and learning from her. Guilford is also bringing in program alum Joran Nelson as an assistant coach. Nelson was a senior captain for boys’ foil during Peter’s freshman year.
“This season, we have a new head coach and assistant coach for the fencing program at Guilford High School,” Peter says. “The new head coach had coached at Guilford in the past and decided to take the position when it opened up this fall. The assistant coach, Joran Nelson, was a senior foil captain my freshman year, and I learned a lot from him that season. I am very excited to work with them, and I am certain we will be able to overcome the numerous obstacles that we will face this season.”
Bowers hasn’t coached in more than a decade and will be relying on people like Peter to lead the team. Bowers feels confident that Peter and his fellow captains are going to do a solid job of guiding Guilford this year.
“These captains have been amazing so far. I’m so impressed by their maturity and passion for fencing,” says Bowers. “I am going to be relying on them heavily this season. The captains are going to be extremely helpful in running practices, helping teach the new fencers and, of course, being the starting fencers for the team. They are going to be the glue that holds the team together during this very difficult season.”
Peter’s dedication to fencing is currently at an all-time high. Peter practices year-round and also competes in national tournaments outside of the high school season in order to sharpen his skills on the strip.
“I practice at Silver City Fencing Club in Wallingford weekly and Fencers School of Connecticut in Guilford to work on my skills, in addition to Guilford team practice,” Peter says. “On top of this, I work out six to seven days a week to keep myself in shape and build my physical strength.”
Aside from fencing, Peter also competes for the Guilford boys’ golf team and likes to go fishing in his spare time. Peter is a two-time scholar athlete at Guilford High School and has earned high honor marks in his academic studies. He’s also a peer minister at St. George Church.
“Golf, fencing, and working out take up most of my time, but outside of that, I enjoy fishing and hanging out with friends,” says Peter. “I enjoy being outside, so I am always up for a game of pickup basketball. During the summer, my friends will have bonfires at night.”
Peter is undecided about where he will be going to college. However, he is hoping to continue both his fencing and golf careers at the next level.
“At this time, I am still undecided as to where I will attend college, but most of the schools I am applying to are in the mid- Atlantic or Southeast,” Peter says. “I plan to study finance, and I am hoping to be a part of a collegiate golf team. Not all of the schools I have applied to have fencing programs, but I would still like to continue fencing beyond high school.”