Owen Prevey-Sullivan has taken his fencing talents from Redding, Conn., to Penn State University, traveling across the country to leave his mark in other places away from his home base.
Prevey-Sullivan began fencing at 10 years old and hasn’t stopped since.
“I used to go to a bunch of craft fairs and was really into medieval weaponry as a lot of little boys [are],” said Prevey-Sullivan. “I would make wooden swords and sell them there with the help of my dad. One time a woman asked if I had ever tried fencing, and I gave it a shot.”
He started fencing at Candlewood Fencing in Danbury and eventually moved to a bigger studio in New York City as his skills advanced.
As a homeschooled student, he enjoyed a flexibility that many other kids did not have. He was able to go into the city to train sometimes five times per week.
As a freshman at Penn State, Prevey-Sullivan is adjusting to the college lifestyle and is learning how to incorporate his practice into that. He has practice at 7 a.m. each morning, something that will definitely take getting used to, he said.
He dedicates much of his practice time focusing on his initial reaction time during matches — something he said could always use improvement. He also hones in on his counter-attack, a signature move of his, he said.
Penn State is a top fencing school, ranked as the ninth top school by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. That was a main factor in Prevey-Sullivan’s college decision making process, with the engineering program being another.
The people and places that Prevey-Sullivan encounters through fencing turns the sport into a lifestyle for him, he said.
“You meet a lot of really interesting people in fencing,” he said. “One of my referees was a retired heart surgeon from Egypt.”
Most competitive fencers share the long-term goal of making it to the Olympics, but Prevey-Sullivan said he’s not sure that he wants that for himself. He said he’s enjoying the competitiveness of the sport for where he is right now, and looks forward to potentially playing recreationally after college.