Sports Person of the Week
Ginsburg Enjoys Excellent Career with Hand Fencing
Senior captain Daniel Ginsburg played a big part in helping the Hand boys’ fencing team climb up the state ranks with his performance on the saber strip. (Photo courtesy of Daniel Ginsburg )
Daniel Ginsburg had a unique opportunity entering his freshman year of high school. Daniel’s father Michael Ginsburg took over as head coach of the Hand fencing program, and Daniel was eager to give a new sport a chance. It turned out to be a great decision for Daniel, who recently completed his senior season as a captain for the Tigers.
“My dad has been easily my biggest supporter in the entire process. My freshman year was his first year as head coach, so we both got to know the team very well at the same time, and he was always supportive by bringing me to lessons and tournaments outside of school,” Daniel says. “He always tells me and the team, ‘It doesn’t matter if we win or lose as long as we learn something about ourselves each time we fence.’”
The Hand boys’ fencing team underwent a tremendous progression during Daniel’s tenure with the program. The Tigers didn’t make states in Daniel’s freshman season, but he helped them claim their first state title in team history as a junior last year. In the recent season, Daniel and his saber squad posted a record of 8-1 and went on to win a conference championship.
The Hand saber team has been only been in existence for five years. Coach Ginsburg is proud of Daniel for playing such an integral role in the Tigers’ rise up the ranks.
“In that short time frame, Daniel has led his team from not making team states in his freshman year to winning the conference title in his senior year,” says Ginsburg. “Daniel is a four-year varsity starter, a Sportsmanship Award winner, and a senior captain of the men’s saber team. After finishing ninth in the individual states last season and finishing fourth in team states, he had high hopes for both himself and the team before the pandemic hit.”
Although the COVID-19 pandemic altered the 2021 season, Daniel and his teammates still made the most of it. Daniel went 6-0 against Guilford and Morgan at the conference meet, marking the second year in a row that he enjoyed an undefeated postseason.
“It was definitely tough with only one coach and a very large team. We had to run [practices in cohorts] by weapon, so it wasn’t often that the whole team was in one place,” Daniel says. “We were fortunate that we never had to quarantine as a team, but we would lose a player once in a while due to contact tracing at school. I was disappointed for them as I know being at practice and with the team was as important to them as it was for me.”
Daniel has seen a great deal of success during his four years with the Hand fencing squad. However, above all, Daniel enjoys spending time with his fellow members of the fencing community, while getting to know both his teammates and athletes from opposing teams.
“The community is my favorite. You can fence one person in a high school tournament and then fence them again a week later at an individual tournament not run by the schools,” says Daniel. “It just brings a lot of people together, so you end up with a lot of friends from all over the state. We all support each other through the highs and the lows of the season. I feel like there are not as many teams that are as close with one another as the teammates on our fencing team.”
Coach Ginsburg was happy to see Daniel make significant strides as a fencer throughout the past four seasons. Ginsburg also credits Daniel with helping his colleagues on both the boys’ and girls’ teams become better competitors.
“Daniel made a declaration. The best thing he could do this season is to raise the level of his teammates’ skill, so that they could succeed in the future,” Ginsburg says. “Even though we compete separately as men’s and women’s teams, we practice together. “Daniel took it upon himself to work with each member of the saber team, helping them correct some basic footwork, teaching new bladework skills, and demonstrating more complicated moves. His hard work paid off for both the men’s and women’s teams.”
Aside from fencing, Daniel is also a member of the Hand boys’ outdoor track team, competing in the pole vault. Daniel has qualified for states in past seasons and is hoping to bring home a medal this spring, after which he wants to participate in both of his sports at the collegiate level.
“Right now for pole vaulting, I hope to qualify for states again this year and maybe even place and earn a medal,” says Daniel. “As for future plans, I am still undecided on which college, but wherever I go, I plan to study engineering and hope to continue fencing and pole vaulting.”