This year, his last as a Ryerson Ram, Sebastien Dubois-Didcock retired standing atop the podium.
Dubois-Didcock failed to win a medal in his three previous attempts at the OUA fencing championships despite being considered one of the best fencers in Ontario – not this year.
The fourth-year photography student became the first male fencer in Ryerson history to capture the Desjarlais trophy, winning a gold medal in the individual épée discipline.
It’s also the first time a Ryerson male fencer won a gold medal at the OUA championships since Mark Peros did in the sabre discipline in 1998/99.
“(Winning) wasn’t the first thing on my mind, but when things started to look up I thought if this is the last year, you might as well finish with a bang,” Dubois-Didcock said.
The newly-crowned épée champion said he always finished in the top eight, but this year his mental preparation made the difference.
“Fencing is one of those sports that you wake up the day of and if you’re mentally capable, you’ll have a great day. I went in with a positive attitude, taking it step-by-step, focusing on each bout and not thinking ahead.”
Dubois-Didcock’s heroics helped Ryerson earn a silver medal in the team épée event. The Rams also finished fourth in the banner standings and sealed their best result in team history.
But while Dubois-Didcock hung a gold medal around his neck for the first time, the medal around Ryerson’s top female fencer Joanna Kolbe’s neck was of a different colour.
Kolbe snapped a three-year streak of winning gold in the épée discipline at the OUA women’s championships after earning bronze at this year’s tournament.
Dubois-Didcock has fenced with Kolbe for years and was surprised to see her lose out on gold.
“It was a bit of a shock to see her come in third but she’s been so good over the years. Looking at the standings and the strength of the fencers in the top three, any of them could have won.”
Kolbe finished behind Carleton University’s Isabelle Gauthier and Queen’s University’s Janelle Yu, who Dubois-Didcock said are both elite fencers in Ontario.
Despite the unexpected finish, Kolbe still helped Ryerson earn a silver medal in the team épée event and finish sixth in the banner standings to culminate an impressive showing for both the men’s and women’s teams.
“We’re putting Ryerson on the map for fencing. I’m more happy to get the word out that we’re on the circuit and we mean business.”