Ridge Athlete Interview with Nastassja Kuznetsova

Daphne Tang ‘19

Nastassja Kuznetsova is the co-squad captain of girls saber on the Ridge High School fencing team. On January 27, 2018, she led the girl sabers to third place at the District 2 Championships in New Jersey. Nastassja also competes regularly outside of school.


Daphne Tang (Devil’s Advocate Reporter): Hi Nastassja. As a three-year member of the Ridge High School fencing team, you must invest a lot of time into practicing. How much do you practice a week?


Nastassja Kuznetsova: I practice approximately 8 hours at the Bergen Fencing Club on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. I even designed a website for my fencing club! I also attend one and a half hour practices at school.


DT: How is your coach?


NK: My coach is the only reason that I have been doing so well. What’s interesting is that we share the last name: Kuznetsova. In his day, he was champion of Ukraine and trained a professional team in India. I am extraordinarily lucky to have him.


DT: What made you start fencing?


NK: I am an avid runner, but cross country practices were too extreme. I first heard about fencing through a family friend who competed nationally, which piqued my interest in the sport.


DT: What weapon do you fence?


NK: Saber.


DT: Why do you like saber?


NK: I initially started with epee, but there were too many epeeists on the Ridge High School team. When I tried foil, I realized that I cannot hit the target accurately. However, saber fit my personality because I am quick and aggressive.


DT: What are the differences between the three weapons?


NK: The target areas are different. Foil fencers target the torso but avoids the arms and legs. Saber fencers hit the body above the waist except for the hands. Epee fencers attack the entire body. Only saber can register hits made with the side of the blade and saber bouts are usually much faster than foil and epee rounds.


DT: How long have you fenced?


NK: I fenced in 8th grade on the middle school team, but I only started practicing seriously in the summer of sophomore year.


DT: How often do you go to tournaments inside and outside of school?


NK: During the high school fencing season from November to March, I attend two to three meets a week. I also compete individually once a month outside of school.


DT: What is your United States Fencing Association (USFA) rating?


NK: I earned my C rating within a year, which means that I can get recruited for college. The rating starts from U (unrated) to A (rated). I hope to obtain my B rating for summer nationals in July.


DT: How do you obtain these ratings?


NK: You earn these ratings by attending various competitions. The amount of points you from a competition depends on the number of people there and their respective rankings.


DT: Thank you for your time. Good luck in your future tournaments!


NK: It was nice talking with you.