Friendly Under Fire
Advancing to her own beat, Kendyl Bree, found a new passion after middle school. Lunging into unknown territory, she found new friends in the most unexpected way.
by Kendyl Bree, Class of 2012
Kinkaid ‘16 • Duke University ‘20
I got inspired to fence when I watched the 2012 Summer Olympics. It made me realize that sports provide a unique opportunity for people to come together in friendly, but also intense competition. My older brother fenced briefly when he was younger, so my mother knew of some fencing clubs that I could try. Luckily, one of the best clubs in the nation was just a few minutes from our house, and I started training there in October 2012. I liked the sport, but a fencing camp over winter break that year really ignited my passion and helped me build friendships with other fencers. I started to take on more practices, filling my schedule with fencing until I was in the gym nearly every night.
Presbyterian School gave me a solid academic background that allowed me to successfully take on a rigorous course load at Kinkaid in addition to many hours of training as a fencer. I have much less time now that I fence, but this has helped me to learn how to manage my time better. I’ve seen firsthand that hard work pays off. At the same time, fencing has changed my idea of teamwork because it is a unique sport where you may find yourself competing against the friends that you train with on a daily basis. That competition can be difficult at times, and some people let that ruin their relationships. However, it has allowed me to see teamwork and competition in a new light. Being able to fence your best friend on the strip, and then hug afterward, knowing that there are no hard feelings, is incredible.
In 2013, I fenced at the Summer National Championships. I also started participating in the Junior Olympics and have qualified and continued to participate in that for the past three years.
In June 2014, I was named the Division III Women’s Epee National champion. I also placed in the top 16 in the country in Junior Women’s Epee at a North American Cup tournament a few months later. In December 2014, I qualified for the Cadet Women’s Epee team and represented Team USA in Grenoble, France. This was a great achievement for me because only the top 20 in the nation in each division qualify to participate with Team USA.
This past season, I’ve traveled nearly every month for a tournament. I placed in the top 8 in the country in Division 1A Women’s Epee at Nationals. My team and I also placed 2nd in the Senior Women’s Epee event. Currently, I am ranked 2nd in our region for Junior Women’s Epee.
Outside of fencing, I participate in the National Charity League, a mother-daughter service league, and Girl Scouts. These organizations have shown me firsthand the importance of service and leadership, and I fully intend to continue to give back to my community throughout my life.
In the fall, I will be attending the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University with an athletic scholarship to fence on their Division 1 NCAA team. I plan to study biomedical engineering or something in the STEM field.
My advice for current PS students is not to undervalue your time at Presbyterian School. Chances are, your high school class will be much bigger, and people won’t know each other as well or be quite as supportive. Presbyterian School taught me the importance of a tight-knit community and how outside support can be hugely helpful in accomplishing a difficult goal.