The earliest accounts of the Dartmouth Fencing Club mention the Cetrulo family. Gerald I. Cetrulo fenced for Dartmouth in the 1920s, and was renowned as a worldwide fencing master. He was taught by none other than Giorgio Santelli, creator of “the most successful personal salle in American fencing history” in New York. Cetrulo went on to coach his son Dean at Seton Hall. Dean Cetrulo has perhaps the greatest collegiate fencing career of all time, winning 96 consecutive career bouts in the late 1930s. Dean became a legendary fencer, winning the US National Foil Championship in 1941 and 1947, his dominance of the sport only interrupted by a storied tour of duty as a Captain in the US Army Air Force over Italian soil during WWII. He was the last man to fence two weapons in the Olympics, winning Sabre bronze in the 1948 games in London.
Dean Cetrulo, 1941
After Cetrulo, the team persisted for a period, until lack of attention and lack of fencers led to lack of a team. Then, in the late '60s, there was a sudden influx of interested and driven students who were able to call forth the team's competitive spirit, binding it once again to a body of students dedicated to carrying on the old traditions. There was no coach, no money, and little to no support from the Dartmouth College Athletic Council. Together, the small team scraped together the gumption and funding to teach PE classes, buy (and often repair) an electronic scoring machine, and organize meets with many schools such as MIT, UNH, Brown, Brandeis, and Norwich. The team fenced well, allowing new fencers to wet their feet by competing in the sport. Although it was not the most formal or organized New England team, DCFC championed a hardiness and rough-and-tumble strength that served it well in competition.
The team once again disappeared after the 1970s, only to be reborn once again in 1992 after a group of new students went searching for the team on campus. Again, these new early days were tough – finding fencers and a space in which to teach them was difficult. But, compelled by the same hardy spirit that had already survived death once, these new fencers persevered. Their efforts to cement an early foundation have provided ample ground to expand in the years since.
NFC #3, 2015; Hosted at Dartmouth
Today, the Dartmouth Fencing Club has over 40 active members, enjoying tremendous success as a community and at competitions. In 2014, DCFC took home 1st place at the National Club Championships, claiming the title of top club team in the United States. Our team remains entirely student run, promoting a culture of excellence in our members both on and off the strip. Dartmouth fencers are more than just members of the same team; we are members of the same family, supporting one another socially, academically, and competitively
Our team is excited for the upcoming season, and we look forward to once again proving ourselves as the top club team in the United States. We will continue our tradition of promoting unity, inclusivity, and success in everything we do so that we may surpass everyone we fence.