Joe Zanko enters his fourth season as the head coach of the fencing program at Gill St. Bernard’s. His passion and enthusiasm for the sport have led to an increase in roster size and competitiveness within the program.
Last season, under his leadership, varsity fencing had two athletes claim medals at the Prep B Championships. In 2016 the girls’ team took third place at these championships while the boys finished fifth. During his time at the helm, numerous student-athletes have also been named to all-conference teams.
"Gill has been an amazing place to build up this program," explains Zanko. "The relationships among all the staff are great. We all pull for one another and try to see everyone succeed. We actually hosted a regional tournament at the school this past March and over 700 fencers came and competed. It was great exposure for our program and it was only possible because of the openness of the school."
Zanko is also one of the co-owners of Hub City Fencing, a local year-round competitive fencing club, where he serves as director of Youth Sabre.
"I started fencing in college so I did not take the traditional route of learning the sport at a young age. I had to immerse myself in the sport and learn every aspect. It was never something I was forced to do, it is truly a passion of mine and I want to instill that in my players as well."
Zanko still competes regularly and holds ratings in all three weapons; a C15 in Sabre, D15 in Epee, and E15 in Foil.