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Athlete of the Month: Powell seeks to leave a mark in his final year

By Madeline Stix
On March 5, 2012

Épéeist Alex Powell '12 is about to see his illustrious collegiate fencing career come to a close. He can hardly believe it, but even so, he said that he will treasure his experience.

"I value the team memories more than the individual accomplishments," said Powell.

Powell, a Biology major and captain of the team, began fencing in his hometown of Montclair, N.J. during his freshman year of high school. Although he showed a aptitude for the sport, it was not until his first year of college that he understood the importance of team dynamics in fencing.

"The high school experience is more individual," he said. "It was not until coming to Brandeis that I understood that fencing needs a team-first mentality."

As captain, Powell understands the importance of instilling this mentality in the newcomers on the team.

"It takes some people, more than others, a little longer to get used to this idea, but truthfully, the more the team succeeds, the better you will succeed individually," he said.

Powell strives to lead by example. One such instance was in his junior year, in a match where the team was trailing 13-12 against Boston College. Powell and Julian Cardillo '14 had the opportunity to notch the victory for the Judges, fencing on two different strips. In just a few seconds, the two players built on each other's momentum to their bouts and carry the Brandeis squad to victory.

Powell's experience at Brandeis, however, has not only revolved around fencing. As a three-time all-academic honoree, he has balanced a demanding schedule with his sport.

"The heavy work-load I have had at Brandeis, combined with my fencing involvement, forced me to learn how to work and have fun," he said. "I am confident that after learning in such a [academically] rigorous environment, I'll have a leg up in whatever I decide to do after Brandeis."

The effort certainly paid off. Powell was recently selected for a fellowship to conduct research on breast and colon cancer at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md. after graduation.

Until then, Powell is focusing on the NCAA Tournament later this month. He qualified for the first time last year and is looking to round off his fencing career on a high note by qualifying again.

Editor's Note: Julian Cardillo '14 is a Justice Sports staff writer.


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